During and after World War I, critics insisted that President Woodrow Wilson had deceived the American people, winning re-election on a peace platform in 1916, only to push America into the war a few months later. Today's conspiracy theorists on the left -- who claim our troops are dying in Iraq because of some sinister plot between Zionists and Halliburton -- are mostly reiterating and elaborating the old "merchants of death" thesis that portrayed World War I as the secret scheme of a cabal of international bankers and armament manufacturers.
Critics claim that the war in Iraq is pointless, that U.S. military involvement there can neither discourage terrorism nor promote democracy. Yet was America ever involved in any conflict more pointless than World War I? Though the Allies won the war, they botched the peace, and the "war to end all wars" proved merely a prelude to (indeed, some would say, the essential cause of) the horrors of World War II.
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Whatever false representations preceded the war in Iraq, and whether or not the U.S. presence there can bring lasting peace to that volatile region, our troops now fighting terrorist insurgents still possess the same "bold vigor" that so impressed Vera Brittain. For such incomparable warriors, the suggestion of American withdrawal still deserves the same response it got in 1918: "Retreat, hell!"
I won't even bother to argue against him. I have long believed that George W. Bush is the heir, not of Bush 41 or Ronald Reagan, but of Woodrow Wilson. McCain agrees.