Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Liberal warhawks claiming moral "high ground"

I don't entirely agree with Tony Judt in this article -- to me, for example, the case for U.S. intervention in Kosovo and Bosnia was less than compelling. But he makes a significant point: that "liberal hawks" who supported the Iraq war at the outset but had been somewhat subdued as the war went haywire, are creeping back and making a play for respectability. Thus Jacob Weisberg, Paul Berman, Christopher Hitchens, Peter Beinart, Bob Kerrey and others are arguing that, as Judt puts it "even if the war was a mistake, it was a brave and good mistake and we were right to make it, just as we were right to advocate intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo." He could have included the Times' Tom Friedman. George W. may have let us down by being so incompetent, but we understand Islamo-Fascism and the dangers it poses better than you wussy knee-jerk antiwar types.

Balderdash! The war was wrong at the time because it was a "preventive" war -- waged against a potential threat that might or might not develop in the medium-term future rather than an imminent threat -- and it has made the problem of Islamo-Fascism or jihadism or whatever you want to call it worse, not better. One of he jihadists' best recruiting tools is the U.S> propensity for interventionism and running countries we don't begin to understand, let alone appreciate. Judt does include a great quote from Albert Camus on intellectuals' propensity to encourage violence to be committed and endured by others:

"Mistaken ideas always end in bloodshed, but in every case it is someone else's blood. That is why some of our thinkers feel free to say just about anything."

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