Sunday, November 06, 2005

Evans goes out with hope

Back in July, Harold Evans was touted by the BBC as “follow[ing] in the footsteps of Alistair Cooke, the man behind Radio 4’s Letter From America for 58 years.” Apparently Evans found the footsteps too hard to follow. After little more than 58 days, Evans has penned his last column. Although TAE has been much critical of Evans in the past, his last piece is worth a read.

He writes about a new book by Sean Wilentz called “The Rise of Democracy in America” which, Evans says, ought to bring some hope to those fretting over the prospects of making a success out of Iraq. The book apparently details the many hurdles that had to be overcome as America was founded and developed, and points out that the prospects of success for democracy in America had at times looked very poor indeed. Evans says:
… The Rise of American Democracy, is not at all about Iraq, but it has hit a nerve here because of the weakening of resolve over Iraq. It confronts Americans with the thought that - compared to generations before them fighting for liberty and equality - they are wimps.
Naturally, a BBC opinion piece involving Iraq would not be complete without the odd attack on the Bush administration here and there, and Evans doesn’t disappoint. Rather than note the mistakes and missteps in the handling of post-invasion Iraq, Evans simply asserts as fact the “reckless failure” of Bush to have any plan at all.

Noting the irony of Republican Bush following in the footsteps of “idealist” Democrat Woodrow Wilson in his attempts to export freedom and democracy, Evans strangely fails to mention the word “neo-con”, despite the fact that this “idealist” agenda is precisely what puts the “neo” in neo-conservative. I suppose the notion of identifying neo-conservatism with “idealism” rather than militaristic Zionism and oil-grabbing is a bit too much for the BBC.

Still, the piece is worth a look, or a listen, even if only for its novelty value as a view of hope on Iraq in a see of doom, gloom and blame that is the standard fare at the BBC.


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