Ed Driscoll

Doolittle Versus Do Little

One of Mark Steyn’s readers (no, not this fellow) makes a point in a letter to Steyn that occurred to me recently as well:

Remember when everyone was so shocked at Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam and the crocodile shame that rippled throughout?

Here we are now, with the prospects of doing the very same thing–and more–with Syria and Iran, both nations who have religiously avowed to kill us. And they are unrepentant about it–even smug at this point as we parade into diplomatic chambers again, a big smile on our face to match the time of day.

Nothing changes. When faced with new problems that demand new solutions, we dumbly fall back on decades of what didn’t work before.

It’s also worth noting the contrast symbolized by today’s anniversary

The Doolittle Raid occured in April of 1942. That meant that five months after Pearl Harbor, we had dusted ourselves off sufficiently not just from the attack, but from decades of isolationist slumber caused by a deadly combination of Wilsonian elitism and American First isolationism, to begin to assemble the most powerful arsenal of freedom ever assembled, so that an event like Pearl Harbor wouldn’t occur again.

On this week’s Pajamas Blog Week In Review podcast (which I’m mixing down even as I type this), Tammy Bruce mentioned the timing of the ISG report. 65 years after Pearl Harbor, large portions of the American government (apparently not President Bush himself though, at least based on what he has said recently), want to resume America’s isolationism–at least until another 9/11 occurs, and even then, they’ll get back to us on whether or not we should take action–not just by neutering the American military, but more subtly, via its economy as well.

Like the Maginot Line, the notion of Fortress America was exposed as a fallacy on December 7th (and even more so five years ago), but as Steyn’s reader writes, “When faced with new problems that demand new solutions, we dumbly fall back on decades of what didn’t work before”.

Update: Speaking of Steyn, he was on O’Reilly tonight, discussing the ISG along with AP and Bilal Hussein.