Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

February 28, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

LIBERAL HAWKS....Lee Bockhorn at The Weekly Standard is annoyed at pro-war liberals:

What's grating about these neo-hawk liberals is the great measures of contempt they still express for the president, his advisers (except for Colin Powell, more about which anon), and conservatives in general. They may have rethought their position on Iraq, but they refuse to reconsider their disdain toward President Bush and those wacky neoconservatives--"imperialists" like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle....

I don't wish to be an ingrate in times like these, when what matters is not so much who saw the truth first, but rather that people see it, period. Better late than never, and all that. So, to our neo-hawk liberal friends: Welcome to the club; we're happy to have you along. But remember that the objects of your scorn--even that notoriously "flighty thinker," George W. Bush--were right about Iraq months or even years before you saw the light. So please, check your smugness and condescension at the door.

Well, I plan to keep my smugness and condescension right here next to my computer where it's most likely to come in handy, thank you very much.

As I recall, Republicans mostly spent their time muttering conspiratorially during the 1990s whenever Bill Clinton suggested taking a harder line against Iraq, and we all know that Rumsfeld and Cheney were busy buying and selling vast quantities of goods and services to Iraq during that period. Nor were Republicans exactly at the front of the parade when NATO finally took action in Kosovo. So I'm not quite sure how it is that these were the guys who saw the light before all the rest of us on the subject of using American military power for the greater good of humanity.

And just for the record, my complaint with Bush is primarily that he has prosecuted this war so cynically and incompetently. He blatantly timed his Iraq campaign for electioneering purposes, thus destroying any hope of getting a true bipartisan consensus on the matter; his disdainful treatment of Europe destroyed any chance of support from the populations of those countries; his complete indifference toward the Israel-Palestine problem destroyed any hope of getting support from the Arab world; and his unwillingness for six straight months to commit himself to a multilateral post-war rebuilding effort has made the entire world believe that we are intent on building a latter-day Roman empire a laughable idea that either of our previous two presidents could have put to rest with a single speech.

Even in the best case it would have been hard to organize worldwide support for this war, but Bush's contemptuous tone toward enemies and allies alike and his unwillingness to engage in anything resembling true coalition-building has made it far harder. This war may be something that needs to be done, but we will be paying the price for George Bush's incompetent handling of it for years to come.

Kevin Drum 3:22 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly