Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 10, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

INCOMPETENCE....Speaking of circling the wagons, Andrew Sullivan wants none of it. Would he have supported the war knowing what he knows now?

My tentative answer - and this is a blog, written day by day and hour by hour, not a carefully collected summary of my views - is yes, I still would have supported the war. But only just.

....The narrative of liberation was critical to the success of the mission politically and militarily. This was never going to be easy, but it was worth trying. It was vital to reverse the Islamist narrative that pitted American values against Muslim dignity. The reason Abu Ghraib is such a catastrophe is that it has destroyed this narrative. It has turned the image of this war into the war that the America-hating left always said it was: a brutal, imperialist, racist occupation, designed to humiliate another culture. Abu Ghraib is Noam Chomsky's narrative turned into images more stunning, more damaging, more powerful than a million polemics from Ted Rall or Susan Sontag. It is Osama's dream propaganda coup. It is Chirac's fantasy of vindication. It is Tony Blair's nightmare. And, whether they are directly responsible or not, the people who ran this war are answerable to America, to America's allies, to Iraq, for the astonishing setback we have now encountered on their watch.

The one anti-war argument that, in retrospect, I did not take seriously enough was a simple one. It was that this war was noble and defensible but that this administration was simply too incompetent and arrogant to carry it out effectively. I dismissed this as facile Bush-bashing at the time. I was wrong.

Well, that's not going to go over well with his readers. The followup should be interesting, no?

Kevin Drum 1:41 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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