It has taken Republicans decades to acquire a reputation as the party voters trust to defend the country. Now they seem intent on frittering it away within days. ~Max Boot

Boot never noticed, but the Republicans frittered that reputation away between 2003 and 2006 in Iraq, and they have yet to give the majority of the public any reason to trust Republicans on matters of national security and foreign policy. There is some hope for them in the emergence of a significant, albeit limited, opposition to the Libyan war among Republicans in Congress. These would be the members of Congress who recognize that support for national defense does not extend to providing for the defense of Cyrenaica against its own government. It has actually been quite valuable for the revival of some minimum of foreign policy sanity that Republican Libyan war supporters have insisted on making support for their blunder into a litmus test, because large numbers of Republicans would sooner reject the Libyan war than embrace such a foolish party line. Opposing the Libyan war is one small way that Republicans in Washington might begin to undo the damage they inflicted on the country and their party’s reputation through the blunder in Iraq.

Boot isn’t finished:

I would reply we can’t afford not to spend adequately on defense. Whenever we have made that mistake in the past—after the Mexican War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam and the Gulf War—we have paid a heavy cost in squandered lives and lost treasure.

Yes, who can forget all the invasions after 1848 that reckless budget-cutting unleashed on America? What heavy cost was paid in “squandered lives and lost treasure” after the Gulf War? Or after Vietnam, for that matter? Is Boot blaming post-WWII demobilization for the outbreak of the Korean War? What on earth is he talking about? It’s as if Boot thinks Pawlenty’s foreign policy speech invoking the “lessons of history” is a real history lesson. No wonder he’s confused.