Which is nonsense.
While Kennedy was in the Senate in 1967, Fineman writes of the
present Iraq debate as though the 40 years since never happened.
This would be like reading a Nixon speech in 1967 and calling the
previous year’s election a vindication of Hooverism, or equating the Spain of 1898 with the Southern Confederacy.
In fact, it’s worse. We are
now 4 years further removed in time from 1967 than a writer at that time would have been removed from 1931, 3 years further removed than 1898 was from 1861.
In 1967 he was a very junior
Senator, a hard-partying youngest son, still two years removed from Chappaquiddick (left), the event that ultimately defines his life and failed legacy. He was, in the context of 1967, irrelevant.
The fact that he’s still around, at 75, still apparently healthy
and now powerful, is a product of medical technology, nothing more.
Previous eras would have seen most men with a long history of alcohol
abuse and weight gain buried years ago, certainly restricted to a
nursing facility by this age. Yet Kennedy has persevered.
Here’s a fact for Fineman. Today Edward M. Kennedy is nearly the same age Sam Ervin was
when that man chaired the Watergate Committee, and no one at that time
considered Ervin anything but a
political, and almost literal, dinosaur.
Yet the fact of modern medicine does go a long way toward explaining
the present crisis.The idea that 2007 is 1967 is a common delusion, because so many of us live so much longer.
The fact that the editors of Newsweek haven’t taken
a man who lives 40 years in the past and sent him to a booby hatch says
they share his delusion. Jon Meacham (the editor of Newsweek) shares the delusion. Donald Graham (chairman of the Washington Post Co., which owns Newsweek) shares Fineman’s delusion. So do most people, both Democratic and Republican, setting our public policy.
My point is we need to recognize this is, in fact, a delusion. It is
a delusion that is killing people. It is killing Americans,
it is killing Iraqis. The real reason for the Iraq disaster is the
delusion, the assumption that the Global War on Terror is a new Cold War, that some
religious zealots in caves are the literal equivalent of a Soviet Union
which had, at its height, the ability to destroy the globe at the press
of a button. They don’t have any other way to think about it, so they go to the delusion, and adopt its assumptions.
This is not 1967. Iraq is not Vietnam. This is not the Cold War. Al
Qaeda is not the Soviet Union. Until those in public life recognize
this — until those who don’t are driven from the public square —
people will continue to die for nothing.
And our government not only won’t be answering the key question of our time, they won’t even be asking it.