Friday, July 13, 2007

February 2003

I am finishing this letter on the morning when, according to the press, the United Nations Security Council (weeping over the absence of the French) is supposed to take some action giving sanction to an early attack, almost exclusively by ourselves, on the present regime of Iraq. There is now not the slightest reason to doubt that this action will be undertaken at the earliest day, probably some three weeks off, when all the military preparations are complete. What this is doing has already acted like a burning match to dynamite for the American media, particularly television, which immerses itself delightedly in what it already perceives as a new war. I take an extremely dark view of this — see it, in fact, the beginning of the end of anything like a normal life for all the rest of us. Too pessimistic? No doubt, no doubt. I know that I am inclined that way, but that is the way I see things, and I cannot contrive to see them any differently. What is being done to our country today is surely something from which we will never be able to restore the sort of a country you and I have known.
— George F. Kennan, quoted in John Lukacs, George Kennan: A Study in Character, Yale, 2007, 187fn.