The online dust-up between one-time liberal supporters of the Iraq war like Jonathan Chait and Kevin Drum and, well, people who were unconvinced by the administration’s arguments that an invasion of Iraq was necessary is pretty fairly summed up by tristero’s post today, Part III of which was titled: “The Chuckle-Headed Flakes Were The Bush/Iraq Hawks. The Rest Of Us Had Both Feet On Planet Earth.”
To defend themselves, the liberal hawks have to contort themselves into making statements like:
If anti-war liberals were right about the war from the start, how come they don’t get more respect? Here’s the nickel version of the answer from liberal hawks: It’s because they don’t deserve it. Sure, the war has gone badly, but not for the reasons the doves warned of.
The problem for the liberal hawks is, of course, that it wasn’t just “doves” warning against war with Iraq. It wasn’t just scary old George McGovern and his demented followers. No, the reason the United States has taken so much international heat for the invasion was that most of the rest of the world — despite the administration’s claims that “everybody’s intelligence” said Saddam had WMDs — didn’t see Iraq as a real threat. They were unconvinced by the “evidence” put forward by Bush, Cheney, Powell, and others, which is why they chose not to support the war, with the exception, of course, of the UK, Spain, Italy, and let us not forget Poland.
Wasn’t that just Old Europe (and Old Asia and Old South America and Canada and…) talking? Why, they’re no better than the stinking hippy doves, are they?
Well, how about the fact that there were some Democratic politicians who didn’t think the war was such a hot idea? As I’ve pointed out before, the 2002 Iraq war resolution failed among Democratic Representatives on a vote of 81-126, and most of those House members are still in office.
In the Senate, 21 of the 50 Democrats voted against the resolution (42%). At the time, the Democrats had control of the chamber, there were nine of them on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and five of those Intelligence committee members — privy to the best information on Iraq that was provided to Democrats in the Senate — thought that giving George W. Bush authorization to go to war in Iraq was a bad idea.
Now maybe somehow Kevin Drum and Jonathan Chait and Peter Beinart and all of their buddies had some info about the immediate threat from Iraq that wasn’t available to Senators Carl Levin, Barbara Mikulski, Richard Durbin, Robert Graham, and Ron Wyden. Or the other sixteen Senators who took the same position on the resolution. Or 60% of the House Democrats. Perhaps they’re more “serious” than those people were. Or maybe to Drum and Chait all those Congressional Democrats were right for the wrong reasons, just like the dirty hippies were.