When it's said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, the idea is not that you can just memorize a few choice facts, store them in your mind, and never have problems again. You still have to learn the right lessons, and later act upon that knowledge when similar situations arise.
In that sense, those whose takeaway from the Iraq War was "Bush and Cheney are liars", or "the war was a mistake / a blunder", or "the media got it wrong", or "it was bad for the economy", or "it was bungled and mismanaged" have in actuality learned nothing. They'll later support a war conceived by leaders who are thought to be of higher moral standing, and who might indeed be telling the truth (or simply lying in a more subtle manner) - a war which may seem to be just, more accurately reported on, filling the nation's coffers with gold, and/or executed with incredible precision.
That war will nonetheless claim lives and permanently maim others, benefit the few in place of the many, and serve as but a prelude to the next one - and the next, and the next. But, speaking in place of the dead, those who failed to learn the correct lessons will believe it was all "worth it".
Meanwhile, the liars and deceivers, now offering empty mea culpas for the previous slaughter, will soon attempt to justify the next. "Trust us," they'll say. "This time it will be different."
History, for those paying attention, teaches otherwise.
Previous Thoughtcrime Next Thoughtcrime