Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Iraq and the Lessons of the Peloponnesian War: Conversation with Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, March 14, 2006, by Harry Kreisler; with Thomas G. Barnes, Professor of Law and History, Emeritus

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our distinguished guest today is Victor Davis Hanson, who is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His most recent book is A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War. His column appears regularly in the National Review and he writes opinion pieces regularly in the Washington Post. He is on the Berkeley campus this spring as the twenty-second Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz lecturer.

Joining us in the studio is Thomas G. Barnes who is Professor of History and Law Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley.

  1. Story of an Ancient War ... soldiers' perspective ... evolving strategies ... upending the conventional wisdoms of the time ... thematic approach to the story ... traditional wartime ethics dissolve ... relevance of history to contemporary events
  2. The Iraq War ... massive training exercise ... "Iraqi-ization" ... reducing the American role ... moral argument for the war ... hopes for democracy ... offering the Muslim world a choice ... lessons in the norms of civil society ... police functions ... daily and hourly decisions
  3. War's Asymmetry ... higher value put on American lives ... culpability ... halfway measures ... timeframe for civil society to take hold ... constraints on American patience
  4. The Military in a Democracy ... ancient Greece ... wars of existential survival ... post-9/11 war should have been declared ... communicating that values that we're fighting for ... national resolve ... need for a strong commander ... bold leaders ... commonality of the enemy
  5. The War against Modernism ... within Mideast populations ... forces of reactionism ... escalation ... modernist forces within the Arab and Islamic worlds
  6. Dissent at Home ... conservatives withdraw support ... 3-year occupation ... military becomes more sensitive to casualties ... fickle public ... do we have what it takes?


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