Booknotes is at the Chicago Tribune book festival; Richard Engel’s lengthy time in Iraq is recorded in My Five Years in Iraq. (Rerun tonight after midnight.) Five years matured his sense of the war; he gives a broader and longer perspective than we see from many seasoned reporters. (His analysis of the last year supports Shannon’s argument below.) Federick Kagan’s “Voting for Commander in Chief” takes the movement over the time Engel describes and weighs it against speeches by the candidates.

He pierces the ploy of childhood games, where a “redo” might freeze us at an earlier moment in time: when, say, the Ottoman Empire included Spain or when, say, Iraq was falling apart in sectarian violence and Obama’s position seemed (somewhat) sound. If we were living in an alternate universe, this might work. For many reasons, most of us are thankful we haven’t dropped into that dimension.

4 thoughts on ““Redo””

  1. Of course an anti-Obama piece. Of course: he did not go enough times to Iraq so he doesn’t know.McCain when. Heavily guarded by large number of troops in a safe zone, he declared all was normal! You don’t have to be in a place to know what is going on overall–[that is why there is intel and briefings etc etc.How many times has bush been in Iraq?But that said, how many people have we lost since this past month, now that the surge is a huge success? Why is the Iraq govt down on the US proposals for a settlement that keeps us in their country?When will the 2 million Iraqis who fled return to their country? Why is the infra-structure worse now, 5 years after the war began, than it was under evil Saddam? In sum: huge success so why not bring all back home?

  2. To the best of my knowledge, the Ottoman Empire never included any territories in Spain. They didn’t capture Byzantium, Constantinople until 1453 and the last Moorish territory, Granada, was taken by the Christians in 1492.

  3. Ed,
    As usual, I should have not trusted my vague memory and weak sense of history and checked. The BBC sections on Religion and Ethics were some of the early googles for both Ottoman and Muslims/Spain. A Pajamas column deals with a more contemporary history. (For anyone else that needs what I clearly needed.)

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