Monday, November 28, 2005

Winston off the hook

Seemingly tiring of comparisons of George W. Bush with Winston Churchill, the American Right spent Sunday exulting in a new comparison: Bush and Napoleon. We already knew that they had killed irony but now they're dancing on its grave. They're sourcing the analogy to a James Hoagland column in the Washington Post, which in turn relies on a quote from an Egyptian -- but hey, that's better sourcing than they ever had for their WMD hype. So --

National Review's The Corner: Must-read Hoagland column on changes in the Middle East >>
" is a Middle East in which those who believe in democracy and civil society are finally actors, even though we still face big obstacles," says Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Egypt's battle-scarred democratic activist.

Ibrahim originally opposed the invasion of Iraq. But it "has unfrozen the Middle East, just as Napoleon's 1798 expedition did. Elections in Iraq force the theocrats and autocrats to put democracy on the agenda, even if only to fight against us. Look, neither Napoleon nor President Bush could impregnate the region with political change. But they were able to be the midwives," Ibrahim told me in Washington.<<

Powerline: What Bush and Napoleon have in common

Read a little, via Wikipedia, about how successful the Corsican's Middle Eastern expedition was:

In a largely unsuccessful effort to gain the support of the Egyptian populace, Bonaparte also issued proclamations casting himself as a liberator of the people from Ottoman oppression, and praising the precepts of Islam.

... Although Bonaparte had massive success against the native Mamluk army in the Battle of the Pyramids (his 25,000 man strong invading force defeated a 100,000 man army), his fleet was largely destroyed by Nelson at The Battle of the Nile, so that Bonaparte became land-bound. His goal of strengthening the French position in the Mediterranean Sea was thus frustrated, but his army nonetheless succeeded in consolidating power in Egypt, although it faced repeated nationalist uprisings

In early 1799 he led the army into the Ottoman province of Syria, now modern Israel, and defeated numerically superior Ottoman forces in several battles, but his army was weakened by disease and poor supplies ... Eventually Bonaparte was forced to withdraw from Egypt in 1799, under constant British and Ottoman attacks..

Apart from the failure, it's a neocon fantasy trip. What took this analogy so long?

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