Oh please. Rick Brookhiser thinks it wrong for John Derbyshire to adapt John Betjeman's most famous line - Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough/To make it ready for the plough - and, even more remarkably, that it was wrong for Betjeman to even write his poem, complaining about:
"...the sheer bad taste of calling on bombs a few years before the Battle of Britain, and during the Terror War when cities have already been bombed. (Betjeman didn't know exactly what was coming, but aerial bombardment was widely feared in the late thirties)."
You gotta love that "exactly", don't you? Still, presumably we can now add the poet to the ever-lengthening list of appeasers who invited the Luftwaffe to do their worst/best. Also: clearly Mr Brookhiser has never been to Slough.
What is it with this tedious literalism at National Review these days? Jonah Goldberg was at it only yesterday, still pretending - or perhaps, if one is to be charitable, believing - that anyone who suggests that many conservatives will indulge in the "stab in the back" theory once the United States withdraws from Iraq is explicitly comparing conservatives to Nazis. That's piffle of course, not least because the "Stab in the Back" explanation for Germany's failure to prevail in the First World War actually predates the foundation and rise of the NSDAP.
Putting that to one side, Mr Goldberg complains that there's no "there" there; that the "Stab in the Back" explanation for defeat is unpersuasive. Which does make it rather odd that he should then go ahead and, well, produce a version of that complaint:
This is not to say that I think blaming the liberal media is a particularly persuasive explanation on the merits for failure in Iraq (if we fail), but it's far from clear that an American defeat in Iraq helps those Democrats who seemed, fair or not, determined to make failure a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Can I make it clear that I don't think Jonah Goldberg is a Nazi? Good. But in as much as the "Stab in the Back" theory that proved appealing in Weimar Germany can be compared to the looming conservative fury and resentment over failure in Iraq, it's in the sense that failure can be attributed to a lack of will and the corrosive impact of internal dissent that weakened the state's ability to see the mission through and prevail rather than to any sense that the war was a mistake from the start or that, post-1916, the chances of German victory reduced considerably.
Mr Goldberg complains that Ross Douthat embraces the "Stab in the Back" theory "uncritically" and wonders why he does so. Perhaps because it's not very difficult to find evidence of conservatives' willingness to blame defeat upon domestic fifth columnists? Presumably those conservatives do not consider themselves Nazis, and it seems equally unlikely that Ross could be so described, so perhaps Mr Goldberg should rethink his oddly literal interpretation of the comparison with German reaction to the armistice in 1918?