The White House Iraq Group and the Whig Interpretation of History

I doubt that anybody noticed, but I had to remove myself from the blogosphere temporarily in order to finish my new book, which is now entitled, The Confiscation of American Prosperity: From Right-Wing Extremism and Economic Ideology to the Next Great Depression. I almost like the title, except it would not have included ” and Economic Ideology.” Palgrave is supposed to have on the bookshelves in October.

White House Iraq Group (WHIG) were, as is well known, high-level government officials who concocted the inappropriately termed “intelligence” that created public support for the Iraq invasion. I found the term, Whig, intriguing. The Whig interpretation of history is the distortion of history to celebrate the present. Bush’s WHIGs went further, cheering us on to a nonexistent future.

Wikipedia tells us: Whig history is a pejorative name given to a view of history that interprets history as a story of teleological progress toward the present.

Butterfield, Herbert. 1931. The Whig Interpretation of History (London: George Bell & Sons).

4: The Whig interpretation of history is “the tendency in many historians to … praise revolutions provided they have been successful, to emphasize certain principles of progress in the past and to produce a story which is a ratification if not a glorification of the present.”


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