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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

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