In 1882 the British occupied Egypt. Although they claimed they would withdraw their troops, the British remained, they said, at the request of the khedive, the ruler they had installed. The U.S. Army Area Handbook aptly describes the British decision to stay:
As conservative Republicans tell the tale, the 2006 election was merely a referendum on the Bush administration's incompetence in Iraq and New Orleans and on the Republican congressional scandals. The contest, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote, "was an event-driven election that produced the shift of power one would expect when a finely balanced electorate swings mildly one way or the other." Others insist that demographic trends continue to favor the Republicans. Seeing 2006 as an anomaly, political analyst Michael Barone argued that population growth patterns favor Republican-leaning areas in the interior of the country rather than Democratic-leaning areas on the coasts.
There were certainly reasons to despair after the 2004 election -- chiefly, the awful thought that George W. Bush and a Republican Congress could find the means to exceed the egregious irresponsibility, the xenophobia, the sheer partisan pettiness, and the callous disregard for life and law of Bush's first term. But the election itself, and Bush's margin of victory over Democrat John Kerry, were not reasons to despair. Bush won re-election by a smaller margin than Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, or Dwight Eisenhower -- and against a deeply flawed Democratic opponent.
Last February I had lunch with a friend who was teaching at one of the military war colleges. He told me that the officers he knew were uniformly skeptical about a war with Iraq. "I don't think they are worried about fighting Iraq but about garrisoning it afterward," he said. I heard similar doubts about the wisdom of the war from foreign-policy experts, oil-industry consultants and Middle East historians, but the Bush White House was not interested in these opinions. It was listening to the echo chamber set up by the Pentagon, The Weekly Standard and the American Enterprise Institute. A few months after George W. Bush declared victory, however, it is clear that the skeptics were right on every important count.
In February 2002, The New York Times revealed that the Pentagon was launching a new Office of Strategic Influence to "provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations." The story caused an outcry, and the Pentagon announced it was abandoning the new office. But Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, who would have been in charge of the new office, indicated that the Pentagon would not rule out some kind of disinformation project. In a press conference Nov. 18, Rumsfeld, when asked about the office, said, "You can have the name, but I'm gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done -- and I have."