But we have used these parallels before and they have drifted away in the Tigris breeze. Iraq is swamped in blood. Yet what is the state of our remorse? Why, we will have a public inquiry - but not yet! If only inadequacy was our only sin.
Today, we are engaged in a fruitless debate. What went wrong? How did the people - the senatus populusque Romanus of our modern world - not rise up in rebellion when told the lies about weapons of mass destruction, about Saddam’s links with Osama bin Laden and 11 September? How did we let it happen? And how come we didn’t plan for the aftermath of war?
Oh, the British tried to get the Americans to listen, Downing Street now tells us. We really, honestly did try, before we absolutely and completely knew it was right to embark on this illegal war. There is now a vast literature on the Iraq debacle and there are precedents for post-war planning - of which more later - but this is not the point. Our predicament in Iraq is on an infinitely more terrible scale.
Why didn’t Bush or Blair tell us this when the Iraqi insurgents began to assault the Western occupation forces? Well, they were too busy telling us that things were getting better, that the rebels were mere “dead-enders”.