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Misreading Thucydides

We may have to reopen the Stupidest Man Alive contest:

Matthew Yglesias, Belle Waring, and Thus Blogged Anderson watch with dropped jaws:

The Golden Hanson | TPMCafe: Belle Waring writes:

Belle Waring: You should really read the Vodkapundit post and accompanying thread. He says you'll need a drink, and the man is not kidding at all. The story he links to [by Dan Simmons] takes grave misreadings of Thucydides to a whole new level, a category in which the competition is stiff. Simmons is sure to win this year's coveted "Golden Hanson". The trophy features a stern VDH uprooting an olive tree with one hand and hitting himself repeatedly on the head with an axe handle with the other...

The Vodkapundit post is here. You can find the collective works of Victor Davis Hanson here. Hanson is an under-analyzed figure on the political media scene. Ever since 9/11 he's been generating words as a fantastical rate the overwhelming plurality of which are based on pretty clear-cut misreadings of Thucydides--such that a book about how a once-great country ruined its foreign policy and its own moral virtue in an unnecessary foreign adventure somehow becomes a book about how wars that look really stupid are, in fact, good because they provide a lot of opportunities to show resolve. Why National Review would be interested in publishing this is hard for me to say. Indefensible as the Bush foreign policy has been, it would be child's play to devise less-silly-than-this accounts of why it's a good idea.

Here's Anderson:

Thus Blogged Anderson.: So much for the great books: Somebody claims to have read Thucydides & come away with the message that it's bad not to be ruthless enough. Wow. Next we'll be hearing about how the Sermon on the Mount really means "kill them all, God knows his own."