When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

March 17, 2005

Leadership Standards: Another Peeve


On Bill Maher tonight I heard the host say something to the effect that "Well yeah, Bush had a list of reasons for invading Iraq and about the fourth one down had to do with regime change to rid the people of that brutal murderous dictator. But he obviously lied about everything else." And a similar bit of dissembling wisdom popped out the other night on Dennis Miller, from some panel guest whose name I have no good reason to recall. Well, I could waste time, as did David Horowitz on the Miller show, recounting how a lot of people made quite a big fuss about regime change and the "suffering of the Iraqi people." But I recall almost no one on the left saying anything like that, other than the usual suspects: Paul Berman (who wrote a book about it), Bernard Kouchner, and Chris Hitchens, as well as a few bloggers like Marc Danziger on Winds of Change. And all of those folks have subsequently been disowned and shunned by many of their ideological compatriots.

Moreover, the democratic transformation of the Middle East was always my primary reason for supporting the invasion, no matter what the odds of success. (Just read my blog, if you doubt it.) It's true that I was concerned about WMD, but only to the extent that I was hugely relieved we were about to put that worry out of the way as well. And in all of the exhaustive and exhausting sessions I participated in on this topic with folks on the anti-war left, not one single person... not one single person, felt it remotely reasonable to suggest that a democratic transformation of the Middle East made sense, or had much merit even if it could be accomplished. Not one! It wasn't as though anyone said, as they're claiming now: " Yeah that objective would just be so-o-o-o worthwhile, but dammit Bush isn't being straight about his intentions, and if he were, well I'd be right behind him."

Nope, I don't recall anyone saying that.

So yeah, Maher and these others might have a point had they made it before March 2003, but they didn't.[1] Which means that their judgment on this matter just plain sucked. Sorry, but there's no other way to put it. And what's more, the evil Neocons were not only right, but they knew they were right from the start. And maintaining a position that is ultimately vindicated, in the face of massive social intimidaton, subjected to taunts of "Nazi" or "fascist" by former friends, etc.,... well, that's simply what leadership has always been about, since somebody erroneously credited the serpent with having a clue.

So now these folks, still whining in emphatic sidebars about their victimization in "the great deception," are leaping on the bandwagon... enthusiastically. Which would be fine I guess, except that they've overdoing it claiming that the transformation of the Middle East now looks like a done deal, just because the odds seem about even finally. And that's neither a sophomoric flip nor an over-the-hill flop, you know.

[1] Somone somewhere along the line must have made some anemic statement that Bush ought to trot out the pro-democracy argument more often, but not because they believed it. Rather, it was because they were certain it would be an easy argument to put down. Either that, or it just provided them an opportunity to jauntily affect an ironic smile at the silly notion that McChimpyBushHitlerHalliburton would be, of all things, pro-democracy. Ha. Ha.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at March 17, 2005 06:58 AM

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