Long Run Fantasy
Condi Rice and Laura Bush are insisting that the administration will be vindicated by history for all the wonderful work it has done around the world. Rice, especially, is intent upon making the case that if the world gets better some time in the future, Bush will be given the credit for it. (This isn't the first time she and Bush have made this stupid comment.)
This definition of success would mean that you have to reevaluate Tojo since Japan has since become a prosperous, first world country. After all, if it weren't for him, the world wouldn't be where it is today. Hell, where would Western Europe be if it weren't for that bad man in the mustache -- or Eastern Europe if it hadn't been for Stalin? Hey, even Caligula can be seen to be a hero if you believe that the world is better off today than it was during Roman times.
It's not that Bush is necessarily as bad as those examples, but the logic behind Rice's view inexorably leads you to evaluate everyone in history through the lens of human progress --- which means that none of the great villains can be held responsible for their deeds and nothing can ever be learned from bad decisions of the past. As long as the world goes on you can always make the case that things will probably turn out ok in the long run. And that's hardly any comfort ---as the old saying goes, in the long run we'll all be dead.
In fact, in the short run a whole lot of Iraqi people are dead because of the United States' inexplicable decision to invade their country. It is what it is and it's offensive to compare temporary political resistance to a pragmatic humanitarian policy like The Marshall Plan to the worldwide revulsion at an invasion for reasons that made no sense, as Rice does. If Iraq becomes a sane and prosperous nation some time from now, it will never render that policy, based on lies and propaganda, to be a good one --- and Bush, Cheney and Rice will never get credit for any future progress because of it. They need accept that the best they can hope for is to end up among history's inept clowns instead of history's villains. It's not much, but it's all they've got.