Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
Hmmh, I basically like the viewpoints of the 'National Security Dems' I even worked at one of those think tanks in the mid nineties for a prominent and very hawkish Dem who as it happens opposed the war.  But anyways, I think Berman is missing some things here in his anger.

Why did these people support the war - 3 sometimes overlapping reasons.

  1. They bought the WMD PR
  2. They share the neocon utopia of domino democratization
  3. They're humanitarian intervention hawks who felt that anything has got to be better than Saddam. (my category, oops)

What are the formative influences on the hawks
  1. they're ex-Cold War hawks
  2. the fight for intervention in Bosnia and Rwanda
(I qualify on both)

Both issues led to an abiding mistrust of the hard left and any who are willing to work with them. By hard left I do not mean left wing Dems but the fringe types like ANSWER which are viewed as the moral equivalent of the fringe right and as discrediting those who ally with them, just as the willingness of mainstream anti-immigration types to ally with white supremacists discredits them.
The second issue led to a contempt for the notion of national sovereignty as applied to dictatorships, a belief that international law as it currently exists serves to protect horrible dictators an is thus immoral.
The relative ease of earlier interventions led to an underestimating of the difficulties that would be posed by Iraq.

Finally, there was the issue of Afghanistan. The fact that some on the left of the party (M. Moore, Move On, The Nation et. al.) opposed that war was as inexplicable to the liberal hawks as the liberal hawks enthusiasm for the Iraq war was to the left. Just as now much of the Dem base finds it hard to take seriously the viewpoints of those who supported the Iraq fiasco, so the national security Dems found difficult to take seriously those who opposed the Afghanistan war.

None of this changes the fact that the Iraq war was a horrible mistake, but it might explain why so many people came down on the wrong side of the debate.

by MarekNYC on Tue Aug 16th, 2005 at 03:17:07 PM EST
.

There were two reasons:

  1. FEAR illustrated by duct tape
  2. Mid term Election November 2002

Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia, attempted Thursday to mount a filibuster against the resolution but was cut off on a 75 to 25 vote.

Byrd had argued the resolution amounted to a "blank check" for the White House. "This is the Tonkin Gulf resolution all over again," Byrd said. "Let us stop, look and listen. Let us not give this president or any president unchecked power. Remember the Constitution."

Senator Robert Byrd on Nuclear Option

      duct tape humor

~~~

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Aug 16th, 2005 at 04:03:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I shot forward that much of what you wrote makes sense to me (even more so as I'm myself a humanitarian interventionist, if it is done right - tough I wouldn't classify many in actual history as such), but I will pick on the NSDs over these:

Why did these people support the war - 3 sometimes overlapping reasons.

   1. They bought the WMD PR
   2. They share the neocon utopia of domino democratization
   3. They're humanitarian intervention hawks who felt that anything has got to be better than Saddam. (my category, oops)

As for the first, that is a very serious thing. A voter might appeal to gullibility as excuse. But if a politician is this gullible and lacking of critical thinking, s/he isn't fit to make responsible decisions.

The second is a fair point, however, if one incudes that, one should also include what they mean by democracy - and things like the issue of Venezuela would come up.

The third I guess would again be a fair point, even if I disagreed with it already before the war. But the article doesn't just, in fact doesn't primarily concern itself with the run-up to the Iraq war - now there is the mess after Saddam to evaluate, so they could have wisened up.

What are the formative influences on the hawks

   1. they're ex-Cold War hawks
   2. the fight for intervention in Bosnia and Rwanda

The first was mentioned in the article, tough I didn't quote that part. I'm not sure any NSDs fought for a Rwandan intervention (you may know that better if you worked for your Dem rep at that time), at any rate, Clinton and his foreign ministry was later denounced for suppressing reports of genocide when it happened just because they didn't want to be pushed to intervene there. (I'll look for a source if required.)

Bosnia is a more complex issue, here I disagree with those on the hard left who think it was all about the US's geopolitical advantages, but I will claim that the way the NSDs conducted that war (or series of wars and negotiated settlements) was a very bad way that gave birth to long-term problems - that is, again not a recommendation for this group. (As an example, I wrote about the Croatian Reconquista a month ago here.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Aug 17th, 2005 at 06:21:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I supplement this with the following horrible quote from Thomas Friedman, which involves and explains a big part of what went wrong with the last chapter of those Balkan interventions:

"Every week you ravage Kosovo is another decade we will set your country back by pulverizing you. You want 1950? We can do 1950. You want 1389? We can do 1389 too."


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Aug 17th, 2005 at 07:20:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo - I worked for a think tank, for an ex-NSA, not in Congress.  The pressure for intervention in Rwanda was less due to the extreme rapidity of the genocide. It takes a little time to build a movement. On Bosnia it was much stronger. Clinton was despised by the lib hawks for his lack of intervention on both matters. Christopher was absolutely hated. Some people even voted for Dole in protest.  (Dole was one of the most vigorous supporters of intervention in the ex-Yugo conflict - both parties were split on the notion of humanitarian intervention and nation building.)

As to your criticisms of how the war was conducted. Only partly agree with you there. In an ideal world you would be right, but you have to remember the constraints they were operating under. The Croation operation in particular was complicated by the US inability to simply do the job itself, so it had to ally itself with Tudjman's war criminals who at the time were the lesser evil.  

And Friedman - I think there will always be idiots in every ideological group one finds oneself in.  Once upon a time he was an excellent foreign correspondent. Now, ick.

by MarekNYC on Thu Aug 18th, 2005 at 02:14:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series