I saw Sen. Mitch McConnell tonight marvelling that so much will be accomplished in "a thousand days" in Iraq. He went on to compare this with the twelve years it took the Americans to get their affairs in order after the American Revolution, noting how much turmoil and chaos there was in the thirteen states in those days and thus, by comparison, how little historical sensibility Americans have today in their overly critical judgment of the progress in Iraq.
This is truly becoming almost a slur against our own history. After the conclusion of peace with the British there was almost a complete lack of political violence in the colonies. Disequilibrium, yes. A threat of rebellion in one state? Yes. But one that never really came off. Compared to what we are seeing today in Iraq, the creation of the federal constitution came about in a period of extreme quiescence.
No analogies are perfect, certainly. But if there is anything from the late eighteenth century comparable to the current situation in Iraq it is not the American Revolution but the French Revolution, with legitimacy and the sinews of society in a losing battle with a widening gyre of violence.