Double Von Hoffman Award


Andrew Sullivan bequeaths the "Von Hoffman Award" for crappy prognostication to Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer for this 2004 sloppy kiss to George W. Bush:

"What has happened in Afghanistan is nothing short of a miracle. Who is responsible for it? The New York Times gives the major credit to ``the Afghan people'' with their ``courage and commitment.'' Courage and commitment there was, but that courage and commitment was curiously imperceptible until this administration conceived a radical war plan, executed it brilliantly, liberated the country and created from scratch the structures of democracy … Against all expectations, Afghanistan is the first graduate of the Bush Doctrine of spreading democracy in rather hostile places. We should take a moment to celebrate a remarkable success that had long seemed so improbable," - Charles Krauthammer, December 10, 2004.

On that very same day in 2004, Sullivan made a similar, albeit less breathless, declaration about the war in Afghanistan:

Here's some great news from the real success story of the war on terror: Afghanistan.

I don't fault Sullivan for making such a prediction—Afghanistan, in comparison to what was then happening on the ground in Iraq, did indeed look like a moderate success in 2004, and the conventional wisdom suggested that America wasn't fighting a war, but maintaining the peace. And for the record, Sullivan too gave all "credit" to George W. Bush for the war's progress, having written in 2004 that success in Afghanistan was "Bush and Blair's legacy. And they deserve every credit for it." So yes, Krauthammer's enthusiasm for the nascent democracy in Afghanistan seems pretty far off base in hindsight, but Sullivan should admit that he too, back in 2004, had a similarly optimistic view of the war.