The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal trolls President Obama, and anyone else who's ever been a skeptic of the Bush wars, by telling us that "Dick Cheney Is Still Right" about foreign policy. The headline suggests that Cheney has been right without interruption since 9/11 -- but that contradicts a key point in the right's preferred narrative of Iraq, so we get this convoluted paragraph:
Mr. Obama can blame this rising tide of disorder on George W. Bush, but the polls show the American public doesn't believe it. They know from experience that it takes time for bad policy to reveal itself in new global turmoil. They saw how the early mistakes in Iraq led to chaos until the 2007 surge saved the day and left Mr. Obama with an opportunity he squandered. And they can see now that Mr. Obama's strategy has produced terrorist victories and more danger for America.So wait -- Dick Cheney is right about Iraq now, and has been right all along ... except for that huge gap of four and a half years between the 2003 invasion and the surge that was announced late in 2007? He and his administration were right throughout those four years of "chaos" and also right in their efforts to correct the chaos that resulted from their own mistakes?
The Journal ed board's attempt to fudge this is, I guess, the assertion that "it takes time for bad policy to reveal itself" -- the problems in 2007 were the result of "early mistakes," which (we're led to believe) were corrected rapidly. C'mon, give Cheney and Bush a mulligan on those! (Even though they led to years of "chaos.")
But the quoted paragraph confuses me. We're told that Obama had better not try to blame Bush and Cheney for what's happening now -- even though "it takes time for bad policy to reveal itself." How much time? The editorial suggests that the time between 2003 and 2007 was the time it took for the mistakes of non-mistake-making Cheney and his president to manifest themselves -- but six years, i.e., the time since the end of the Bush/Cheney presidency, is way too long for backward-looking blame assessment. Or maybe the rule for errors and blame is "No matter how much time has elapsed, everything is always some Democrat's fault." Yeah, that must be it.