Empire for empire’s sake

Niall Ferguson, author of Colossus: The Price of America’s Empire, argues in the Washington Post that success in Iraq “requires patience.” And Ferguson means patience in the strong sense. For example, if Ferguson intended to shock his readers when he stated that our substantial military presence in Vietnam lasted “a mere seven years,” he succeeded with this reader. I was also taken aback when Ferguson cited President Bush’s statement that “we will remain in Iraq as long as necessary and not one day more,” as evidence of his “tight” timetable. Any argument that we should persevere in Iraq to the same extent that we did in Vietnam strikes me as based on an “empire for empire’s sake” sentiment, as opposed to an analysis of what is required to ensure the security of this country.


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