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National Security Democrats

by DoDo Tue Aug 16th, 2005 at 04:10:38 AM EST

During the run-up to the Iraq war, and the 2004 US elections, a lot of Europeans deceived themselves about the Democrats - the leadership, not the membership and voters -: the majority of the former were just as pro-war and just as dead wrong as the Republicans, only used a different language and wanted the war to be fought differently; and their support network/echochamber was less known than the neocons'.

The confusion existed in America too, as evidenced by the popular notion that Kerry was an 'anti-war candidate'. The Democratic base began to take heed of the so-called national security Democrats only recently, when they vehemently attempted to undercut fellow Democrats, and gave support to some Bush policies on key issues (the origin of the new "Vichy Democrats" curse).

Now, in The Nation, Ari Berman supplies a much-needed analysis of the structure and workings of the national security Democrat network, from the politicians through advisers and think tanks down to pundits. Below (and below the fold), some choice quotes on the essence - for details (persons, groups, actual events), read the article.

...Sixty-three percent want US troops brought home within the next year. Yet a recent National Journal "insiders poll" found that a similar margin of Democratic members of Congress reject setting any timetable. The possibility that America's military presence in Iraq may be doing more harm than good is considered beyond the pale of "sophisticated" debate.

The continued high standing of the hawks has been made possible by their enablers in the strategic class -- the foreign policy advisers, think-tank specialists and pundits. Their presumed expertise gives the strategic class a unique license to speak for the party on national security issues... It's more than a little ironic that the people who got Iraq so wrong continue to tell the Democrats how to get it right.

...At the bottom of the pyramid are the liberal hawks in the punditocracy, figures like New Republic editor Peter Beinart, Time writer Joe Klein and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman. These pundits, along with purely partisan outfits... help to both set the agenda and frame the debate. The journalistic hawks churn out the agitprop that the more respectable think tanks turn into "serious" scholarship, some of which eventually becomes policy, or at least talking points, when adopted by the politicians.

The above quotes show that there is a feedback that is free of a real understanding of the issues, a groupthink if you like.

...Central to the liberal hawks' mission is a challenge to other Democrats that they too must become "national security Democrats," to borrow a phrase coined by Holbrooke. To talk about national security a Democrat must be a national security Democrat... The liberal hawks caricature other Democrats just as Republicans long stereotyped them. The pundits magnify the perception that Democrats are soft on national security, and they influence how consultants view public opinion and develop the message for candidates... It matters little that people like Beinart have no national security experience -- as long as the hawks identify themselves as national security Democrats, they're free to play the game.

This is the really infuriating part. Not entirely unlike the neocons, here is a group arrogantly cocksure of its own expertise, importance and responsibility, but in fact they don't have a clue - neither about whom they want to attack abroad, nor about the consequences of their actions, nor about the weak footing of the evidence and arguments they base their opinion upon. (Friedman, Pollack: just LOL...) It was great that the US and not just US Left seized upon Suskind's "reality-based community" quote, but unfortunately, the national security Democrats aren't part of it - even if they themselves don't realise.

...Even at their darkest hour, the strategic class found a way to profit from its errors, coalescing around a view that its members had been misled by the Bush Administration and that too little planning, too few troops and too much ideology were largely to blame for the chaos in Iraq. The hawks decided it was acceptable to criticize the execution of the war, but not the war itself...

As for a view of the future:

Pollack continues to thrive at Brookings and, despite never visiting the country, has a new book out about Iran. Shortly after the election, Beinart penned a 5,683-word essay calling on hawkish Democrats to repudiate "softs" like MoveOn.org and Michael Moore; the essay won Beinart -- already a fellow at Brookings -- a $650,000 book deal and high-profile visibility on the Washington ideas circuit. Subsequently a statement of leading policy apparatchiks on the PPI publication Blueprint challenged fellow Democrats to make fighting Islamic totalitarianism the central organizing principle of the party.... A number of leading specialists signed a letter by the neoconservative Project for the New American Century asking Congress to boost the defense budget and increase the size of the military by 25,000 troops each year over the next several years.

Europe, the European Left shouldn't give automatic support, but should give attention to what these guys are up to, should they be elected in 2008.

...why does so much of the Democratic strategic class march in lockstep? There's no simple answer. The insularity of Washington, pressures of careerism, fear of appearing soft and the absence of institutional alternatives all contribute to a limiting of the debate.

...Those insiders who doubt the wisdom of a hawkish course often get the cold shoulder if they stray too far from the strategic line. After criticizing the rush to war, Ivo Daalder of Brookings became the foreign policy point man for Howard Dean's insurgent campaign... Today Daalder blames the antiwar movement for Dean's defeat and calls for more troops in Iraq.

There are more examples of such mobbing. The conclusion:

...A few small progressive think tanks, helped by the dissident establishment, have tried to pry open badly needed institutional space for a bolder national security policy. A few courageous elected officials are attempting to drum up Congressional support for withdrawal. Thus far, the hawks have drowned them out. Unless and until the strategic class transforms or declines in stature, the Democrats beholden to them will be doomed to repeat their Iraq mistakes.

This is right on target - and thanks for reminding us that although this problem is part of the consensus at dkos, BT, et.al., it does not seem to be as well understood in Europe generally.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Tue Aug 16th, 2005 at 09:31:20 AM EST
It should be recognized that there is (in my opinion) a reasonable spectrum of valid disagreement about a number of these issues.

I agree that the lack of debate in those circles indicates that the top of the Dem party has succumbed to a groupthink on Iraq.

But, I still think it is valid (for example) to have been against the invasion, to feel that the "peace" has been woefully mismanaged and still to feel that there is a responsibility not to just pull out asap and leave the people there with an unpredictable power vacuum.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2005 at 11:18:46 AM EST
... and leave the people there with an unpredictable power vacuum.

Right! How predictable did you say Iraq has been seen the US invasion?
Perhaps best to leave the internal debate up to the Iraqis and just ... leave. See the complete southern part of Iraq where the coalition forces have dealt with the local Iraqis and transferred power to a local administration.

See also recent chart of war casualties set out in a timeline.  The US forces attract violence like bees collect nectar.


'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Aug 16th, 2005 at 12:53:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't expect everyone to agree, but I still think it's fair to say you can make a case worth discussing for things getting worse if the pullout is rushed as badly as the invasion was in the first place.

It's very attractive politics in some quarters to say "let's just leave, asap" but there are areas of genuine international concern, now that the mess has been made:

  • Kurdish independence and tensions in Turkey and Iran

  • Iranian annexation of areas of the south

  • Implosion of the central area into famine/deep poverty

I fully agree that many of these issues cannot be addressed by the US at all, they have no credibility to neogtiate with. But I do think that the international community as a whole owes it to the people living in Iraq to attempt to deal with these issues in co-ordination with a US withdrawal, rather than just campaigning for "US out" with no thought about helping what happens next.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2005 at 01:28:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I will agree and disagree with both of you.

I agree with Metatone that it would be irresponsible for an occupier to just leave because they feel the occupation is bothersome and costy for them. "Let Iraqis sort it out amongst themselves" is a cruel joke for the average Iraqi, who is not part of one of the armed groups whose strength is in RPGs and threats not votes (and, if you study the January 'elections' deeper, even the votes had more to do with the former than voter's wishes). However, I don't think you can make a case for the occupiers in Iraq having any positive influence (I just started another diary touching that subject) - Iraq's state and future is terrible, it's our fault, but you can only make it worse.

This is where in part I disagree with Oui: even Southern Iraq is not a success story, as spun by European participants of the occupation. Especially the British sector: there, the situation is basically that Western troops are in barracks, while various Shi'a militias (not just Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army: also the troops of the rival Sadrists of the Fadila party, the SCIRI-allied Badr brigades, the Daawa party militia, and the Marsh Arab Hezbollah) rule the streets. And even the little local contact that exists was a source of a lot of trouble, with Britain's own scandals of prisoner abuse and killings - no wonder there have been IED attacks against the British too, especially around Amarah. Meanwhile, in Najaf, when there were lots of stories about the Mahdi Army takeover, the press forgot to mention whom they took over from - for there was a previous takeover by the Badr Brigades, just after the US invasion.

Regarding Metadone's potential bad consequences of withdrawal, the point is that you can't prevent these to happen. The situation is that bad.  

Not with a phased withdrawal, not with UN troops that aren't any more asked for by Iraqis, nor are possible in sufficient numbers (=a million by now) even just to stop violence. Worse: the current US policies in fighting the guerillas, and the likely policies connected with a phased withdrawal, actually enhance these trends. The forces of separatism, i.e. the two large Kurdish warlords with their peshmerga, were made stronger not weaker, both by the pseudo-democratic process and the US's reliance on peshmerga fighters in its war with the guerillas. US plans for a 'Salvador Option', which seems an integral part of any staged withdrawal, would make this worse. The type of 'reconstruction' caused the implosion of local economy. Iranian influence got enthroned by way of inclusion of SCIRI and Daawa in first the Iraqi Government Council, then the shambolic election process (Sistani's all-Shi'a party with its pre-set quotas and all preachers and most militias as its campaigners had little to do with democratic choice). These things now have their own dynamic, and you'd have to act like an absolutist dictator to stop it - whether you're the US or UN.

BTW, I don't think an Iranian annexation of southern areas is even a remote possibility. Iraqi Shi'a are Arabs (which would be a problem for the Persian leaders of an already multi-ethnic country too), and in large part nationalist, remembering the Iraq-Iran war. What is more likely is a breakaway client state.

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

by DoDo on Wed Aug 17th, 2005 at 05:22:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that these NSDs may be wrong on facts, but right on politics. Americans did not want to hear, after 9/11, that kicking Ay-rab ass was not the solution; now, Americans do not (yet?) want to hear from their leaders that they have lost a war, even if it's true.

Could things have changed if these NSDs had stood to Bush in 2002 and said, this is insane? We'll never know, but I suspect they would have been brushed aside and branded traitors, appeasers, etc... like the rest of the opponents.

Would it be easier now to pick the pieces? Yep. They did bet on Bush's ability to succeeds in a totally hopeless task, and for that they deserve all our scorn, for abandoning their principles, betting on a political opponent (especially one that was never going to give them anything in return), and losing badly.

But don't think that Europeans underestimate how much that mindset was set in American circles. It was precisely because the mindset was so widespread, and that there effectively was so little opposition internally, that European opposition became so visible and so significant politically. We did try to warn them.

Now we are all stuck in the mess, but those that created it in the first place should be taken with a big grain of salt before anything they say is seriously considered again.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2005 at 11:47:40 AM EST
Strangely enough Billmon just said much the same thing.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2005 at 01:38:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Americans did not want to hear, after 9/11, that kicking Ay-rab ass was not the solution;

I'm not sure we can declare Americans that stupid and mean. Especially as no one tried except for the 'fringe'.

Could things have changed if these NSDs had stood to Bush in 2002 and said, this is insane? We'll never know, but I suspect they would have been brushed aside and branded traitors, appeasers, etc... like the rest of the opponents.

Of course they would have - and they were anyway, that's the operandus modi of the Republicans! They shouldn't have cared.

Had they not done this, one result would have been that much of the US Left wouldn't have been taken along for the "support-your-troops" ride and came out stronger; the other that they would have been proven right by the events, and with their much wider echo chamber and media access than the Michael Moore Left had, would have been able to make that point recognised.

they deserve all our scorn, for abandoning their principles,

Jérôme, the point of the article is that they didn't abadon their principles. Their principles are different from ours.

But don't think that Europeans underestimate how much that mindset was set in American circles.

I disagree for two reasons. (Well three, see previous quote/reply.)

One is the wide uncritical European support for Kerry: as I wrote, he was considered an anti-war candidate, tough he actually was calling for more troops. The other is earlier times: when Clinton's charm took many (but not all) along in NSD operations like Desert Fox, which weren't qualitatively different from neocon ones. (I.e. stemming from strategic miscalculation and ignorance, popularised and excused with lies and deceit, then failing at both the real and claimed goals, with serious collateral damage.)

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

by DoDo on Wed Aug 17th, 2005 at 05:46:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
operandus modi

modus operandi...

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

by DoDo on Wed Aug 17th, 2005 at 06:25:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree with your comments...

  • Americans did rally around Bush and his jingoistic mood, and that lasted for a long time. Criticism was antipatriotic and required a toughness to face ut that not everybody has.

  • NSDs did interiorise the "blame the "blame the USA" mindset" mindset. Thay felt that it was suicidal for liberals, which they still claim to be, to be soft on terror. They bought the "everything changed on 9/11" line uncritically. Kerry was on the "law enforcement" against the "nuisance" of terrorism, a really substantial difference.

  • there were big fights with Clinton all the time. Remember the arguments on the bombing targets in Serbia. Remember the criticism of US "hyperpower". Kerry was seen as a return to sanity, not to good relationships. Some, like Chirac, preferred Bush because he made it so easy, and palatable to many, to be violently critical. Kerry would have forced France to make serious efforts or not been taken seriously by anybody.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 17th, 2005 at 07:12:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another factor is that politicians need to get elected, and want to get elected over and over. Voters want conflicting things:
  • Cheap oil, and a continuing good economy.
  • No war about oil (or anything else).

But as Jerome points out, there is widespread denial about the coming oil shortage. And obviously people don't like war. The fact is that a result of our demand for oil is our support for extremely questionable political arrangements all over the Middle East, which lead to frustration amongst a big part of the population there. This inevitably leads to what we today call terrorism.

So what is a politician to do? Support global peace and deny the reality that this will lead to a massive oil shortage in the short run? Or support--openly or with a wink--the war to maintain the oil supply (for as long as possible)?

I do not personally believe that European leaders, any more than American Democratic leaders, support the idea of a fundamentalist Muslim world that extends from India to Spain--as advocated by at least some Islamists.

by asdf on Tue Aug 16th, 2005 at 01:08:51 PM EST
From where I'm sitting, the net result of our meddling seems to be an increase in the likelihood of the Islamists getting their wish. So far we have a more radical government in Iran and it looks like the New Iraq(tm) comes with added fundamentalism.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2005 at 01:41:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
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 ]
I have been influenced by Gore Vidal's arguments that the US agenda has been about power and money via wars and conflicts, since the end of WWII...and almost all US politicians are in on that gravy train. Not all, but most...and a lot of Dems too.

But...the Repubs have been waiting for some kind of event, in which they could take advantage (didn't Bush himself refer to 9-11 and the recessation as being part of a "perfect storm"?)...they were ready to pounce, and the Dems weren't prepared...and pretty much still aren't. The Dems are on the defensive, which makes me sad, as a lifelong Dem voter.

As far as Iraq, the US "punched the tarbaby" on that one. In the current issue of the The Nation there is a great discussion by 4 moderate to progressive Middle East experts about where we are and what to do about it now (including possible consequences) by Cole, Cobban, Rosen and Telhami. There is no consensus, and Cole is rather emphatic about the situation, in this quote at the end of the above referenced article:

The United States cannot resolve the problems in Iraq militarily, and its policies have made things progressively worse. The Iraqi government has no military and won't have an effective one for five to ten years. If the United States simply withdrew, Iraq might well fall into massive civil war. That war would, moreover, likely draw in the Turks, Iranians and Saudis. Consequent guerrilla sabotage of Iranian and Saudi petroleum production is not impossible and would risk deeply harming the world economy, especially the poor in the global South. The Iraq situation needs to be effectively internationalized, preferably by giving it a United Nations military command, like that in Cambodia in the early 1990s. Obviously, that step will not be taken by the Bush Administration, and it will not be easy to accomplish under any circumstances, given how badly the Administration has alienated the international community and what a mess it has made of Iraq. In the absence of internationalization, and given the great likelihood that "Iraqization" will fail miserably in the near to medium term, America faces the choice of being stuck in Iraq for many years or risking a destabilization of the Middle East and of the world energy economy.

Myself, I never thought we should go to Iraq, and want the troops home asap. But, you have to consider what Cole says. The US screwed the pooch, and the US people may be paying for this for a long time.

The Dems need to figure out who they are and say it with conviction...some are starting to, and the people will follow those leaders. They need to get it together soon though...or more of the same will be going on.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Wed Aug 17th, 2005 at 12:34:42 PM EST
Cole was in for considerable criticism for his above standpoint. (Admirably, he quoted some on his own blog - for example, this one.) To summarise the criticisms, there are three basic problems with his argument:

  1. he assumes as solution just what he discounted: if the US gets everything wrong, and follows its own misguided interests in Iraq, how would it not get the prevention of civil war (by way of giving over to the UN or by itself) wrong? In fact, upon closer inspection, it already got that wrong: the civil war is already ongoing, and the US and British soldiers on the ground don't do much to limit it - they are busy fighting opposition to their own presence. (Kurdish expansion, Sunni Muslim terrorism, Sadrist takeover in Amarah, inter-Shi'a war in Basrah, and so on.)

  2. The potential deeper disaster after eventual pullout can't be averted, but the policies that "have made things progressively worse" can make this unavoidable deeper disaster worse, too. (Whenever you hear about strenghtening local forces, think of that: these moves end up pushing that process through the Kurdish and Shi'a sides, and add firepower to the future fighters in it.)

  3. The UN route he suggests is unrealistic, for several reasons. One, he is too optimistic about various states' willingness to enter the Iraqi mess. (Europe, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and some others each would have their domestic problems with that.) Second, even if he hadn't, he underestimates the number of troops these states could realistically send, vs the need in the present situation (not 100,000, not 250,000, but one million). Three, even would that not be, he ignores the question of whether these troops are well enough armed and well enough trained for such a difficult mission. Fourth, even if that wouldn't be the case, he underestimates Iraqi's rejection of any foreign occupation, despite polls and other evidence he himself quotes. (In fact, fifth, he suggests continued US presence - as air support; now that would not be something to convince Iraqis that the UN acts independently.)

This is not Cambodia in the nineties, not battle-weary and widely hated followers of a deposed dictator entering a peace accord letting the UN in, but a hot new conflict that includes foreign occupation and a large number of militias (not just Sunni Arab ones, and not just anti-US ones) with strong local support.

Finally, along with the scholar in the linked critique, I deeply resent the oil argument. (BTW, if asdf is reading: Cole would be an example for your 'honest American crazyness', however, the average American supporter on the Iraq war is in deep denial and points to WMD, freedom, democracy and whatnot.) If political upheaval elsewhere is so bad for our economy, we should lower our oil imports, hence our consumption, rather than go killing for someone else's property.

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

by DoDo on Mon Aug 22nd, 2005 at 04:33:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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