Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 16, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

TNR AND THE WAR....Generally speaking, I favor a warm embrace for people who once supported the war but have since seen the light. This is mostly a pragmatic choice. It's easier for people to change their minds if they think their admission of faulty judgment will be welcomed instead of scorned, and since I want people to change their minds on this subject I figure it's best to let bygones be bygones.

Even by my soft-hearted standards, though, today's editorial from The New Republic renouncing their support for the war was remarkably clumsy and unsatisfying. TNR "deeply regrets its early support for this war," the editors say, but they don't provide a hint about why they regret their support. Is it just because things didn't work out? Because they think things could have worked but they're ashamed of not realizing that George Bush would bollocks it up? Because Saddam turned out not to have any WMD? Or what?

Nor do they give a clue about whether the Iraq disaster has prompted any kind of broader re-evaluation of their support for foriegn military adventures in the future. "We do not conclude that our past misjudgments warrant a rush into the cold arms of 'realism,'" they say, but they don't tell us what if any change in direction they do think is appropriate.

In fact, I can't really figure out why they wrote the editorial. Does it presage a change of attitude toward Darfur? Iran? Peace talks with the Palestinians? Any change at all? It doesn't really sound like it.

Kevin Drum 5:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (89)

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Comments

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima...

PSYCHE!!!

Posted by: The New Republic on November 16, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I mentioned this earlier in another thread, but it may have been too far down for you to have seen. Is it possible to configure the comment section software to put the "posted by" line at the top? I read many posts reflexively that I might skip if I knew before starting them which troll wrote them.

Posted by: anandine on November 16, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

and how about going to a registration-required format ?

or, how about anything other than the pure anarchy you've got here, now ?

Posted by: cleek on November 16, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

TNR was the responsible, patriotic face of the Democrat party prior to the election... perhaps the only respected Democrat institution in the nation. Now that the Democrats won an election for once, those pretending to be responsible can return to their roots. TNR never really supported fighting terrorists or freeing Iraqis; they existed solely so Democrats could say, "Look, even the 'conservative' TNR thinks we should surrender to Osama.". Typical democrat ploy.

Posted by: American Hawk on November 16, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Sheesh, my TNR joke now counts as trollery? Whose side are y'all on?

At least I deflected some attention from AH...

Posted by: scarshapedstar on November 16, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

TNR was the responsible, patriotic face of the Democrat party prior to the election... perhaps the only respected Democrat institution in the nation. Now that the Democrats won an election for once, those pretending to be responsible can return to their roots. TNR never really supported fighting terrorists or freeing Iraqis; they existed solely so Democrats could say, "Look, even the 'conservative' TNR thinks we should surrender to Osama.". Typical democrat ploy.

Posted by: Jeffery on November 16, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Next month, they'll write that the war hasn't failed, but that it was failed by Bush.

Posted by: craigie on November 16, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

In fact, I can't really figure out why they wrote the editorial

To stanch the bleeding of their mag's subscription numbers?

Posted by: luci on November 16, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the latest subscription numbers look even more shitty than the TNR staff is used to? Anyway, of all the things worth devoting a neuron to, the opinions of anyone associated with TNR are way, way down on the list. Fuck 'em.

Posted by: sglover on November 16, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

TNR does not reflect what most Dems felt about the war.

A common misconception about the war resolution was that it was a decision to go to war. It was not. The resolution ceded authority (from Congress to GeeDubya) to make the decision to go into Iraq. It was not a decision to go to war.

If right Wingers claim that it WAS a decision to go to war, then they called GeeDubya out for being a liar, since he later claimed that at the time of the resolution, he had no made the decision to do so.

TNR supported the invasion, which most Dems did not.

.

Posted by: KG on November 16, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, luci, synchronicity!

Posted by: sglover on November 16, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't K-Y Drum support the war at first too?

Posted by: Jeffery on November 16, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Does TNR still support an attack on Iran? Have they ever met a War against Muslims they *didn't* support? (After carefully, seriously, and objectively weighing the threats, costs and benefits, or course!)

Posted by: luci on November 16, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

and Kevin, if you don't want to change the posting code, maybe you could pay someone to stroll through the boards once in a while and delete all the anti-semitic crap that gets posted here ?

it's only a matter of time before some wingnut site starts saying things like "Political Animal, that so-called liberal site where anti-semitism flows freely..."

Posted by: cleek on November 16, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I've tried to forgive the misguided HAWKS (spit) who wanted this war of choice, but every time I read articles like this my anger at you and your ilk flares anew. You were dead wrong, Kevin.

You ruined a country; youve set generations of people against each other because you wanted vengeance. I know you've apologized and you've got your excuses (misled, bad execution, etc.) but that and a shovel have helped you bury a generation.

I can never forgive you HAWKS (spit) who wanted this war.

Posted by: F on November 16, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

which is why I don't pay attention to TNR - pretty much a right wing rag.

Posted by: KG on November 16, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

KG -- Nice post, but you seem to be trying to correct "American Hawk's", ahem, eccentric views. That's very public-spirited of you, but it's also a waste of time. The guy's a hopeless fuckwit, a proud ignoramus. The best way to respond to his remarks is to scroll past them.

Posted by: sglover on November 16, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Blah blah blah liberal blah blah blah traitor blah blah blah conservatives always blah blah blah Americans stand tall blah blah blah cut and run blah blah blah patriotic blah blah blah real Americans blah blah blah defeatocrats blah blah blah tax-and-spend blah blah blah reformed with results blah blah blah compassionate conservative blah blah blah adapting to win blah blah blah core values blah blah blah ....

Posted by: AmeriJefferHawk on November 16, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

sglover, as they used to say on the playground, "get outta my bathtub!" Not sure what that means. :)

Posted by: luci on November 16, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

> The best way to respond to his remarks
> is to scroll past them.

Problem is that from 1-2 days past the election the trolls and Counter-Bloggers make up 95% of the comments here, and most of the insightful comment-ers have gone.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on November 16, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

sglover, I have a reflexive, Pavlovian, instinctive reaction to edumicate the RightWingLemmingdompubbiehood.

Even though I know their kind (the lemmings) are uneducable, the better part of me keeps trying, with hope against all hope, that one day something will get through one of their thick skulls.

It's kinda like playing Power-ball, only better since there's no cash outlay, even if the odds are so much lower than Power-ball.

LOL

.

Posted by: KG on November 16, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

It's certainly good to encourage people to admit mistakes, but the pro-war pundits need to be reminded from time to time that their knowledge and analytical skills have been shown to be defective, and that the rest of us have good reason not to take them seriously.

Posted by: bad Jim on November 16, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

They need to save their plummeting circulation numbers.

Posted by: MNPundit on November 16, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

You're right KD, it is a clumsy piece of reasoning.

That's because they are liberal and only half-heartedly supported our president to begin with.

No doubt we can expect more liberal half-wit to stop supporting our president now that the going is tough.

Posted by: Al on November 16, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

It must really suck being a Right Wing lemming, being habitually wrong.

But then again, it must be easy being a Right Wing lemming, being habitually wrong & not realizing it . . . simply regurgitating Hannity's spew & not having to think before posting & all . . .

(Sigh . . . slapping them around at every turn is getting too easy these days)

.

Posted by: KG on November 16, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

TNR was the responsible, patriotic face of the Democrat party prior to the election.

Maybe I'm just an old fogey, but TNR hasn't been a responsible, patriotic Democratic face since the 1970s.

Posted by: wally on November 16, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

(Sigh . . . slapping them around at every turn is getting too easy these days)

Sometimes you get down in the mud and wrestle with the pigs, and all of a sudden you realize they're enjoying it.

Getting all self-righteous and preachy with those types is just candy to them. Do you think Ann Coulter really cares when somebody points out errors in her history or logic? Or Laura Ingraham? Hell, no. She just wants you to be sure and spell her name right.

Posted by: wally on November 16, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

And why IS the going so tough, shit-for-brains? Is it really that tough, and when did it get that way? Could this newly discovered toughness have been prevented? Did the ends justify the means, or anything else? Were these people competent enough on any level to succeed at anything they set out to do, other than bagging cash for their buddies?

No doubt we can expect you to continue to be unable to think past the outer reaches of your own sphincter. But why do you hang around here, anyway? You're like the fat naked guy at Altamont, who seemed born to have bottles thrown at him. If you won't go away, could you at least put some clothes on the nakedness of your vast stupidity?

Posted by: Kenji on November 16, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Why did they do it? Because the elite consensus is shifting to thinking the war was a mistake. So they have to ALSO think the war was a mistake, in order to maintain credibility with the "proper people".

They were wrong for unspecified reasons, but they want to make it CRYSTAL clear that the dirty anti-war hippies were, in fact, MORE wrong and the absolute WORST thing for America would be to think -- even for a second -- that the hippies had a point.

Now TNR is free to endorse strikes on Iran, having cleared the air on Iraq. Moreover, they have a new bonus reason -- NOT bombing/invading/attacking Iran would embolden the hippies and possibly make people think the hippies had a point -- which would be MORE WRONG than attacking Iran, because they were MORE WRONG about Iraq.

Seriously. They have to admit they were wrong to maintain credibility. But they don't want people to believe anyone else was right, because those people might gain credibility -- and TNR wants to be the voice you believe.

It's like when you catch a kid breaking rules, and he tries to justify it by saying another kid was breaking those rules (or other rules) even worse, and that means you should stop yelling at him and let him go back to stealing candy while you track down the supposedly naughtier child.

Posted by: Morat20 on November 16, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

it seems to be spreading...here's someone else's plan to leave (http://weaselhunting.blogspot.com/2006/11/how-to-fix-iraq.html) a little crazy but the guy's got a point

Posted by: xtra on November 16, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

It was the same thing with Vietnam and Watergate. Everybody in the country could see that they were train wrecks, and a year or so later, Time magazine would solemnly intone, "The war is lost," or "The president should resign." Well, duh. It's kind of like ABC news running a story about this thing called the iPod and how it's all the rage among young people.

Posted by: wally on November 16, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

"I am willing to stipulate that George W. Bush wasn't part of that game, he was just the rube the neo-cons sold."

If you believe that you would be wrong,... because George W. Bush is neo-con primo (the top neo-con).

Bush is a JEW (like 95% of the neo-cons).

How many folk think that the 30 or so pictures of GW Bush, and cohorts, having fun with rabbis, etc, at

Bush is a Jew.

are sufficient evidence to believe Bush is a Jew.

If you feel the photos are not enough, when his actions, which are NOT at all Christian, are factored in,... you have a proof,... beyond a reasonable doubt.

So will people here publicly claim that indeed Bush is a Jew?

If not, will they explain why they refuse to believe their own eyes and senses?

Posted by: PutinAJew on November 16, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

I once was a computer cracker, now I am a security consultant. I once was a Darwinist, now I can tell you all about why Intelligent Design is the truth. I used to be an alcoholic, but now I am a tee totaler. I used to be a homophobe, now I am the county man whore.

That I admit I was wrong about Iraq, proves that I am right and serious about Iran.

Inversely, your being right about Iraq, proves that you are over-confident and arrogantly wrong about and not serious about Iran.

Posted by: Marty Peretz Loves Ann Althouse on November 16, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

KD sez:

Generally speaking, I favor a warm embrace for people who once supported the war but have since seen the light.

LOL. Yeah, I bet you do. ;)

Posted by: Disputo on November 16, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, do something about all the anti-Semitic comments, please, please, PLEASE!

Posted by: kgb on November 16, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

This site was not on my radar in early 2003, so I don't know Mr. Drum's position of the day, but from the posts here it appears that he was one of the hawks. If that is true, I somehow missed his mea culpa on the subject.

Posted by: gregor on November 16, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Kevin, do something about all the anti-JEWISH comments, please, please, PLEASE!"

Hey turkey. Point out (with whatever evidence you have) just one factually incorrect statement in the last post about Bush being a Jew."

Bush is a Jew.

If you cannot do that,... then you are claiming that, telling the TRUTH, is anti-JEWISH.

Posted by: anti-JEWISH on November 16, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

scarshapedstar: Sheesh, my TNR joke now counts as trollery? Whose side are y'all on?

Wasn't directed at you. It's a general comment about these threads lately. The signal to noise ratio is going down.

Posted by: anandine on November 16, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

I was gone for a few days, at least :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 16, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK
Generally speaking, I favor a warm embrace for people who once supported the war but have since seen the light. This is mostly a pragmatic choice.

By "pragmatic" you mean "self-serving", right? I mean you were a supporter of the war because you thought it was justified "because of the possibility that, aside from ridding the world of a dangerous and unstable dictator, we might also make Iraq and eventually the rest of the Middle East into a better place."


Posted by: cmdicely on November 16, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

I can't remember if Kevin supported the war, but he, like many, turned out to be wrong about a lot of things. I tend to agree, however, that there is nothing to be gained now by hurling a lot of recrimination at those who admit they were mistaken, as long as it looks like a REAL apology. But this is interesting nonetheless: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2003_03/000779.php

Sorry, I don't know how to make a nice imbedded link.

Posted by: Wendy on November 16, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

kevin you've hit exactly the problem with the recent American displeasure at the war - the displeasure arises from

the wrong reason: we didn't win,

and I suspect it has garnered near zero in the way of lessons learned.

This means 3 important things:

1) we're still at the mercy of violence first, last, and at every opportunity psychotics (which includes not just the 35% cult of republicanism, but also a majority of Americans) who believe the ends justify the means.

2) we are doomed to repeat the same tragic mistake.

3) the hundreds of thousands killed and mained have had their lives tragically, unjustly adversely altered or prematurly terminated for no good reason.

this is a crime of enormous magnitude with unknown limits on its tragic consequences all of which was highly avoidable.
.

Posted by: pluege on November 16, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK
Sorry, I don't know how to make a nice imbedded link.

An example, you using the URL you provided—to do this:

link.

Enter this:

<a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2003_03/000779.php"> link</a>.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 16, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Thank Wendy for this link.

PREDICTIONS

....Here are my war predictions:

  • How long will the war last? Answer: 6 weeks.

  • How many American deaths will there be? Answer: 700.
  • How big will the occupation force be by the end of the year? Answer: 80,000 troops.
  • How long will the military occupation last: Answer: 3 years.
  • How much will the war cost this year? Answer: $110 billion.
  • How much will it cost next year? Answer: $25 billion.
  • How much actual democracy will we bring to Iraq? Answer: 4%.

  • Looks like Kevin was swayed by Rumsfeld's impeccable command of the facts.

    Posted by: gregor on November 16, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

    However one reacts to Kevin's own apologies for his support of the Iraq war, it is pretty striking what a self-styled "moderate" can find himself advocating when clearly under the influence of a culture in the grip of an hysteria.

    Moral: half way between rational and batshit crazy is NOT really "moderate".

    Posted by: frankly0 on November 16, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

    If everytime Chinese Moshe adds his "thoughts," I add the following,.. do you think he will stop posting. Worth a try.

    Bush is a JEW.

    How many folk think that the 30 or so pictures of GW Bush, and cohorts, having fun with rabbis, etc, at

    Bush is a Jew.

    are sufficient evidence to believe Bush is a Jew.

    If you feel the photos are not enough, when his actions, which are NOT at all Christian, are factored in,... you have a proof,... beyond a reasonable doubt.

    So will people here publicly claim that indeed Bush is a Jew?

    If not, will they explain why they refuse to believe their own eyes and senses?

    Posted by: Worth a try. on November 16, 2006 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

    Through out history, if people's will to be and support freedom collapsed as quickly as it has for modern liberals, there would be no democracies on the planet.

    Posted by: mark on November 16, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

    What is "out history", the story of gay "people's"?

    What on earth does that tortured sentence mean anything?

    Posted by: Kenji on November 16, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

    How hard could it be? I don't get it. I was for the Afghan war. Aid and abet Al-Quaida, will you? Die, Taliban pond-scum! But I was against the Iraq war from the first blood-chilling moment of the "Axis of Evil" speech. Some of my friends weren't, but as the folly unfolded they gradually came over, all of them by November 2004. What did they all say? Simple. They said, "I was lied to." That's all. "I was lied to." And that's all they have say. It's not your goddamn fault you were lied to! It wasn't Congress's fault that LBJ lied to them about Tonkin Gulf. It's always the liar's fault. It's not a sucker's fault that he was lied to. The deceiver is always the asshole, not the deceived. C'mon, TNR: "I was lied to."

    Posted by: buddy66 on November 16, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

    I want to second the requests above that Kevin implement some way to weed out the racist filth that's starting to appear here. I know this blog has gone for years without a registration system, but -- as one poster above noted -- the signal-to-noise ratio is getting very bad indeed.

    By the way, without looking it all up, I can't remember for sure ... but it is my memory -- perhaps flawed -- that Kevin was sympathetic to arguments for invading Iraq per some liberal writers and advocates. However, I seem to recall that he finally turned firmly AGAINST the invasion before it occurred, citing lots of good reasons we're all familiar with (e.g., Shrub's failure to let the U.N. inspectors fully do their job, etc.). Is my memory on this wrong?

    Posted by: Roger Keeling on November 16, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

    Roger Keeling presents us with his racist filth.

    He states that it is racist to call a Jew a Jew.

    I guess it is racist to call a Frenchman, French, or a European, a European, or a Christian, a Christian.

    He is plainly a racist, as he would NOT complain about any of the later,... but only complains about a Jew being called a Jew.

    That is racism,... practiced by one complaining about racism.

    Posted by: Roger Keeling Racist on November 16, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

    I have nothing but bitter contempt for anyone who did not look at George W Bush's background and history, and who did not look at the PEOPLE Bush was bringing onto his team (example: convicted felon, war profiteer, hater of America's system of government, Poindexter; example: leftover schemer from the Nixon administration, professional liar and piece of human filth Karl Rove; example: crooked big-pharma CEO Don Rumsfeld; example: war-profiteer and corrupt CEO Dick Cheney - etc ad nauseum) - and realize that they had no other plans in mind for Iraq other than more war profiteering, gaming of the oil market, and cynical abuse for "national security concerns" to manipulate a terrorized American populace into voting for them.

    If you did not see this coming in 1999 when Bush announced his candidacy, then you're a fool. Or worse - someone who deliberately deceived yourself because you wanted to see "your team" win.

    Posted by: Impeach.Remove.Convict.Punish.Justice on November 16, 2006 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

    Robert Gates is an Iran-Contra criminal. And now, the Carlyle Group owns the White House. The takeover of the Executive branch of American government by corrupt fascists is now complete.

    Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 16, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

    "TNR was the responsible, patriotic face of the Democrat party prior to the election... perhaps the only respected Democrat institution in the nation. Now that the Democrats won an election for once, those pretending to be responsible can return to their roots. TNR never really supported fighting terrorists or freeing Iraqis; they existed solely so Democrats could say, "Look, even the 'conservative' TNR thinks we should surrender to Osama.". Typical democrat ploy."

    That statement almost makes me think you believe there is a great liberal conspiracy, chicken hawk. Thankfully, this nation has a surplus of tin foil.

    Posted by: An Anonymous Patriot on November 16, 2006 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

    I cancelled my subscription to TNR several years ago because they seemed so out of touch with any reality I could recognize. That people still talk about them as a 'liberal' mag is a joke. They are history. Like Bush, only not as hated.

    Posted by: doug on November 16, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

    Kevin,

    I'm hoping to see you follow up on some of the comments here about you supporting the war.

    Posted by: Darla on November 16, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

    Many thanks for the incredibly well constructed arguments that George W Bush is Jewish.

    I think the last time I heard arguments as cohesive and coherent as yours they were made by Goebbels about that Jew FDR.

    By the way it isn't the fact that you are calling a non-jew Jew that makes you a bigot. That just makes you look like an arse. It's the fact that you are deliverately using the term in an insulting way that makes you a bigot.

    Just in case you were were confused...

    Posted by: Bad Rabbit on November 17, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

    I was right about the war. I was right about Bush. I saw that Powell evidence was a stretch, that he didn't have the goods, that he was being used. It dosen't matter, I don't publish and I have nno responsibility to square honestly with my readers.

    Having destroyed the country with no reasonable cause, we are no longer in a position to 'let it be.' The next steps are crucial. We had best choose wisely.

    Are you tired of hearing these discredited war hawk neo-cons on television? What credibility does Kristol, Frum and the other war-mongering right-wing-nut have? Who gives these people air time?

    BUSH. The WORST President ever.

    Posted by: Jeff on November 17, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

    I found the ending interesting:

    "At this point, it seems almost beside the point to say this: The New Republic deeply regrets its early support for this war. The past three years have complicated our idealism and reminded us of the limits of American power and our own wisdom. But, as we pore over the lessons of this misadventure, we do not conclude that our past misjudgments warrant a rush into the cold arms of "realism." Realism, yes; but not "realism." American power may not be capable of transforming ancient cultures or deep hatreds, but that fact does not absolve us of the duty to conduct a foreign policy that takes its moral obligations seriously. As we attempt to undo the damage from a war that we never should have started, our moral obligations will not vanish, and neither will our strategic needs.

    Also, Jews are like totally bitchen. Palestinians suck."

    Posted by: Linus on November 17, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

    I followed the link kindly provided by cmdicely to Political Animal on Feb. 19, 2003.
    link
    Kevin wasn't exactly beating the war drums, but he believed that there were weapons of mass destruction.
    "The news on the war front is not good. I suspect that many reluctant hawks like me have held their noses and supported the war because of the possibility that, aside from ridding the world of a dangerous and unstable dictator, we might also make Iraq and eventually the rest of the Middle East into a better place.

    But the downsides seem to be piling up."

    Kevin did add a list of "possible disasters that a war might bring." Too bad the Bush administration didn't address this list, since two of them are in the process of being realized to the max.

    His post ended with these questions, which are exactly the questions we're pondering today.
    "To put it more simply, what are the criteria for success? Does moral clarity begin and end with forcibly removing Saddam Hussein from power, or is there more to it?"

    Posted by: cowalker on November 17, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

    No doubt we can expect you to continue to be unable to think past the outer reaches of your own sphincter. But why do you hang around here, anyway? You're like the fat naked guy at Altamont, who seemed born to have bottles thrown at him. If you won't go away, could you at least put some clothes on the nakedness of your vast stupidity?
    Posted by: Kenji on November 16, 2006 at 5:58 PM

    Wow, it's hard to achieve such an elegant balance between disgust and eloquence, my hat is off to you.

    Posted by: AnotherBruce on November 17, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

    Why did the TNR staff write the editorial? They obviously were inspired by Jonah Goldberg's equally stunning mea culpa in the LA Times...

    Posted by: WCharles on November 17, 2006 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

    I warmly embrace people saying they were wrong,particularly if they seem to actually be making an effort to examine the situation as it presently stands as rational.

    Further, I can credit people who admit that those who argued against the war did so on grounds which have been amply vindicated. Those who still dismiss those people because they didn't think their opposition was "responsible" or "serious" at the time, and still continue to do so, deserve only contempt. That's where TNR is at, as the nauseating humbug about "a foreign policy that takes its moral obligations seriously" shows.

    I also refuse to embrace those who believe that this fiasco could have worked if only the main actors in the administration hadn't been jawdroppingly incompetent. One, there's no real evidence to base that opinion on, and two, anybody
    with a brain watching the administration's happy talk about the endeavour in 2002 and 2003 should have been able to work out that the execution of the mission was going to be incompetent.

    I am deeply saddened that events have taken the course they have; the course I believed they would
    take. If my suspicion of hubristic military
    adventurism, deceitful propagandising and knowledge of history had been proved wrong, I would have to examine my whole political and intellectual world to root out the assumptions that lead me to make such a mistake.

    This is why TNR is so reluctant to examine the reasons they got it wrong. They would have to admit to childish gullibility, an inability to judge political and cultural realities, that their
    writers are only half-bright, and a myriad of other failings...in fact, that there really is no reason for anybody to heed their opinions or buy their magazine ever again.

    Posted by: Alan de Bristol on November 17, 2006 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

    Chris, I remember you from the days when I subscribed to Pyramid, and our fights with the right-wing Authoritarians over there. You are a good thinker, often with very astute comments.

    However, I don't think Kevin is being self-serving. His support for the war was lukewarm most of the time, and he long since has admitted his own mistake. I also believe he is right that not sneering and accepting the repentant is pragmatic, as it encourages others to publicly admit mistakes.

    That said, I don't think TNR is really being honest here. It seems so forced, so, well, like a ploy to stem the loss of readers. I don't expect them to grovel, but I do expect them to be honest and not act as if this admission was forced. Part of why Democrats chose Lamont in the primaries was because of how the TNR's Liebling Joe Liebermann would pander to any and all in his quest to look like the pricipled maverick.

    Posted by: Saint Fnordius on November 17, 2006 at 3:08 AM | PERMALINK

    The one and only mistake made by the Bush Administration in Afghanistan and in Iraq was in trying to limit the collateral damage in both countries. Had both wars been prosecuted correctly, Afghanistan and Iraq would be nothing more than blackened glass and the followers of Saddam and OBL would be roasting in hell right now. Nor would Iran, Syria or North Korea be acting against us as they are now. Or have you all forgotten just how quickly our old enemy Khadafi gave up all of his WMD material after the invasion of Iraq first began? It was only after it became apparent that America was travelling back down the same path we took in the last years of Vietnam that all of our enemies became embolden to threaten us. It might behoove all of you to read the comments of a high ranking N. Vietnamese officer who stated his country was beaten after the Tet offensive and how stunned he was that the U.S. quit on the eve of the N. Vietnamese giving up themselves.

    Posted by: The King of all Trolls on November 17, 2006 at 4:34 AM | PERMALINK

    *hearing a medley of minor-key Edvard Grieg tunes from the Peer Gynt
    Suite*

    Color me another person who knew in the Fall of '02 that the case to
    invade iraq was bogus -- and as impeach / OBF sez, knew that the
    handwriting was on the wall in Texas. Bush was a hard right winger who
    ran in ill-fitting centrist clothing like a cheap suit. Fucking duh.

    What bugs me most is this simplistic realist / idealist dichotomy that
    a bunch of liberal hawks (and then Bush himself) appended to the Iraq
    misadventure. The Iraq war wasn't sold to the American people as some
    kind of Wilsonian exercise in democracy-building, for crying out loud.
    It was an Uber-"realist" smackdown of an alleged existential threat --
    the most rock-ribbed conservative grounds you can give for combat.
    Sheesh, it was like neanderthals arguing that Truman was a weenie
    because he didn't want to "roll back" Communism.

    Well, we "rolled back" Saddam. Sheesh.

    There is nothing equivalent in this current orgy of excess national
    testosterone to 41 in Somalia or 42 in Kosovo; which the most fire-
    breathing Republicans who drooled for Saddam's head on a pike
    denounced as dangerous and naive, and contrary to our national
    interests. Opposing Iraq had *nothing to do* with internationalism,
    democracy-building or fostering human rights. We on the left opposed
    it (while we many of us would have supported a number of humanitarian
    interventions elsewhere) precisely because you can't bomb people
    into democracy -- that if we were going to invade a country and
    smash its functioning government and institutions it had better
    damn well be because that country is posing the gravest of threats.

    So let's cut this "oh, we still support idealism" crap. Liberal
    war opponents never stopped being idealists nor seriously questioned
    the notions of an international order and universal human rights.

    Pitch that horseshit to the isolationist Libertarians.

    Bob

    Posted by: rmck1 on November 17, 2006 at 5:13 AM | PERMALINK

    Bush is now admitting that war in Iraq is like Vietnam.

    Bush: Vietnam War Offered Lessons for Iraq

    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- President Bush, on his first visit to a country where America lost a two-decade-long fight against communism, said Friday the lesson from the Vietnam War is that it will take time for freedom to trump hatred in Iraq.

    Embracing a former enemy that remains communist but is allowing capitalism to surge, Bush opened a four-day stay here that was fueling an already raging debate over his policy in Iraq.

    A baby boomer who came of age during the turbulent Vietnam era and spent the war stateside as a member of the Texas Air National Guard, the president called himself amazed by the sights of the onetime war capital....

    And it,s all complete with Bush taking policy points for Kissinger too. Obviously, ever incurious George, being that he is NO student of history, didn't understand the lesson of Vietnam, so now he is re-living Vietnam with Vietnam Guru Kissinger telling Bush this war in Iraq will make the US look weak if it pulls out now.

    Talk about Dj Vu. Too bad Vietnam didn't offer any lessons for Bush.

    Poor old Poppy Bush tried to excised the ghost of Vietnam but Junior decide to ruin the legacy of his old man with the expert help of Kissinger.

    Posted by: Cheryl on November 17, 2006 at 6:11 AM | PERMALINK

    Bad Rabbit said "I think the last time I heard arguments as cohesive and coherent as yours they were made by Goebbels about that Jew FDR."

    I think the last time I heard an argument as clearly stupid as your's, was when I last argued with a Jew.

    I have presented photos of the great one Bush.

    I have commented that Bush does not act like a Christian.

    I have made no argument, but have left it for the viewer to decide for himself what the pictures of Bush praying at the Wailing wall, while wearing a skullcap, etc, mean,... while making it clear that I believe Bush is a religious Jew.

    And the rest of your post,... makes even less sense.

    Posted by: ho.hum on November 17, 2006 at 6:27 AM | PERMALINK

    Expecting humility, contrition or accountability from a conservative is like expecting a baby to change it's own diaper.

    Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 17, 2006 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

    ' Had both wars been prosecuted correctly, Afghanistan and Iraq would be nothing more than blackened glass...'
    --The King of All Trolls

    One more right-wing advocate of genocide. Apparently, these chumps are angling to take the crown of largest mass murderer away from Pol Pot or Hitler.

    Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 17, 2006 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK

    Christ saved a woman taken in adultery from death by stoning, by telling the mob that the first stone should be cast by a member of the mob without sin. However, he then turned to the woman and said, "Go, and sin no more."

    If the TNR crowd wants forgiveness for their sins in supporting a feckless war of choice in Iraq, they have to stop supporting feckless wars of choice.

    Posted by: rea on November 17, 2006 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

    But safely, from their armchairs.

    Posted by: Kenji on November 17, 2006 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

    I have nothing but bottomless contempt for the chicken hawk enablers of this disaster.

    "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

    Posted by: CFShep on November 17, 2006 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK
    Because they think things could have worked but they're ashamed of not realizing that George Bush would bollocks it up?
    That's "bollix," actually. Posted by: navamske on November 17, 2006 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

    TNR was the responsible, patriotic face of the Democrat party prior to the election.

    Maybe I'm just an old fogey, but TNR hasn't been a responsible, patriotic Democratic face since the 1970s.
    Posted by: wally

    Thee and me, friend. I even remember that I once respected and subscribed to The Economist before it became more reflexively hard right than even the WSJ.

    "During the past 30 years, per capita gross domestic product has about doubled, yet about four Americans in five are actually worse off. All the growth went to the top, mostly to the top 1 percent." - Robert Kuttner - 'The American Prospect

    Posted by: CFShep on November 17, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

    Kevin: you couldn't be more wrong. Letting bygones be bygones is what caused the problem in the first place. Because we let Vietnam bygones be bygones in the last generation, we had instant replay in this generation. Because we are always letting Republicans lie without accountability we always get more Republican lies.

    Why are you so goddamn clueless on this point Kevin?

    Posted by: The Fool on November 17, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

    Maybe their last two remaining subscribers care what they think, but nobody else does. Yawwwwn.

    Posted by: Steve LaBonne on November 17, 2006 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

    Kevin: maybe you'll understand it better if I translate it into the language of economics. When you lower the cost of lying and/or grievously bad judgment (e.g. letting bygones be bygones), you get more lies and bad judgment. And that's bad policy.

    Posted by: The Fool on November 17, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

    Moral: half way between rational and batshit crazy is NOT really "moderate".
    Posted by: frankly0

    Bull's-eye. But note that only American opinion was so extreme. Global opinion 2001-2003 was at least 75% against invading Iraq.

    Note also that the same is true of many more issues. The American right is the global far right.

    Posted by: Gary Sugar on November 17, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

    Kevin,

    Registration. Email Address validation. Please. Something to reduce the number of trolls.


    Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on November 17, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

    Jeffrey Davis:


    Yes, yes, yes! I privately asked Mr. Drum about this as a possibility years ago, when it was still CalPundit. He replied, privately and later with a posting, with a good, long list of cogent reasons why he preferred not to do that. I found myself most sympathetic to his reasons, and have accepted the price: regular trolls, some of whom are almost certainly paid by rightwing groups, and every once in awhile a truly whacked sleazeball such as has been haunting the board lately.

    But I swear there has been a monumental increase in their numbers -- and pure offensiveness -- lately. Moreover, one of the prime reasons that, IIRC, Kevin had for his open-posting policy was that (often enough) thoughtful conservatives would come and challenge us with serious arguments. They might be enraging from time to time, but they were usually reasonably courteous and also intelligent enough to force us to think a bit. If I'm recalling correctly, he had reasons for thinking that registration would dissuade them, along with many casual (progressive) visitors as well.

    In any case, I'm just not seeing very many thoughtful conservatives like that here any more. Not sure why. It's bomb-throwers galore, and nothing else. Al and fake Al, and a dozen who might or might not be Al and fake Al.

    Oh, and a small apology to one and all: it appears my memory was wrong, and that Kevin was a (reluctant) war supporter for a time. But he most assuredly did turn against it, and early at that, and freely admitted his error at the time. I myself was absolutely opposed to the Iraq invasion from the first time the idea was even whispered by the ShrubReich. I, too, heard -- and was even sympathetic -- to some of the reasons why it might be a good idea to be rid of Saddam. But, as both Bob (rmck1) and others point out up above, there were a ton of reasons to believe the whole thing was horrendous folly. I myself was convinced it was insane because the evidence of Saddam posing a threat to us was utterly inadequate ... and, equally important, the ShrubReich was stocked full of incompetent, extreme, and corrupt slimeballs, starting with Bush and Cheney themselves. And I was pretty damned impatient with war boosters. Yet somehow, probably because of his evident reluctance, I was never put off by Kevin. I think that explains why I'd entirely forgotten that he was a hawk about it for a time.

    Posted by: Roger Keeling on November 17, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

    Jeffrey Davis:

    Kevin's been through this with some of us a month ago, but now that the sentiment seems to becoming common on nearly every thread, here's what he said:

    The version of MoveableType WM uses neither supports sitebanning by IP (which wouldn't be effective anyway, since most ISPs use dynamic IPs) nor registration by confirmed email address. WM could conceivably update to a newer version of MoveableType, but that would cost money WM doesn't have -- and considering the price is a sliding scale depending on subscriber size, it's actually a lot more money than you might imagine.

    On the thread topic, I disagree with some of the vitriol expressed by war opponents at the liberal hawks on the basis that we'd be letting them off the hook for lying. The liberal hawks at TNR aren't the neocons who lied us into war with all that WMD / Saddam = 9/11 bullshit. There's a link upthread to some of Kevin's comments at the time of the invasion -- and while you could flog him for being impossibly naive, he wasn't being mendacious. His argument was, well maybe if we're there we have a chance to make things better.

    Yeah, I think that's colossally misguided, too. But ironically enough, it's at core a conservative position which stresses the limitations of human nature and the primacy of unintended consequences. We antiwarriors weren't making the philosophically liberal pro-democracy argument at the time.

    This being said, like I tried to argue upthread I don't think the failure of this war says anything at all about realism vs idealism. Liberal idealists who stress international law and using our military to stop atrocities and provide stability, who would've supported our missions in Somalia, Kosovo and possibly in Darfur and Sudan would have still opposed this war, and for many of the same grounds we'd use to argue for humanitarian interventions elsewhere.

    That's why I think that TNR editorial needs to be smacked around. Not because they were grandiose lying manipulators -- but because they were unforgivably naive in the face of neocon mendacity from an administration whose hard-right creditials and imperialistic intent should've been apparent to all.

    Bob

    Posted by: rmck1 on November 17, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

    Bob,

    Thank you for the clarification. I did not realize that there were technical obstacles to implementing some kind of filtering or registration process.

    I also very much appreciate your thoughtful comments about how we ought to be viewing liberal hawks who've abandoned the dark side ... either early on or more recently. Very well stated, and I think very correct. (I know you and I had a disagreement lately on another thread, but I was just sure we'd USUALLY agreed on most things, and this is certainly a perfect example of that).

    Posted by: Roger Keeling on November 17, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

    Roger Keeling:

    If we had an earlier disagreement, I certainly don't recall it. And that may be because we had no need to be nasty to each other in the process :)

    I completely agree that the trolling and spoofing -- apparently even by regulars -- has gotten completely out of hand in the last few days. I was never a proponent of the conventional cry to not feed the trolls -- but at least one here is simply incorrigible, and responding truly does only make it worse. I've sworn off ever posting to that person again under any circumstances.

    And unlike some regulars, I don't believe it's possible to stop thread wrechage by wrecking threads. I don't believe that you can use evil means to produce good ends. I honestly wish the so-called counter-posters would wise up, realize this and cut the crap. Al is harmless -- but a few trolls here are deeply toxic.

    Spoofing them only adds to the unreadable thread crap and gives the troll the attention that it so deeply craves.

    It's time to can the childish crap. And I'll be doing my own part -- you won't see me parked on a dead thread in combat with certain individuals. That was a dysfunctional practice of mine, I realize it and apologize to everyone for it and will assuredly do my best to keep it from happening again.

    Bob

    Posted by: rmck1 on November 17, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

    He states that it is racist to call a Jew a Jew.

    No, it's racist to call a Jew a Jew in a context that suggests that's a bad thing to be.

    Posted by: anandine on November 17, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

    Correction: Even when he should have known way better after all the many lies, Kevin gave in to peer pressure and was "duped" by the conservatives on the war. And he's still giving passes to other unprincipled moderates with bad judgment.

    Posted by: TheFool on November 17, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK




     

     

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