Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Being stupid can be disappointing

At democracyarsenal, an interesting review of a new book by Paul Berman, in which he vents his dismay at the European left for letting the humanitarian intervention argument be captured and killed by the Bush administration:
He is disappointed in his heroes, Joschka Fischer and Bernard Kouchner. Fischer had the temerity to confront Donald Rumsfeld, in English, at a security policy conference in Germany and say, “I am not convinced.” In 2006, we could fill a room with liberals who wish they had said just that. Not, apparently, Berman: he wants “a left-wing alternative” – “different from the arguments of the Bush Administration, but different also from the simple Great Refusal of the antiwar attitude in Europe.”
You can almost smell the sneer that Berman wrote that with - "the Great Refusal", as if being against illegal, aggressive war were the pouting tantrum of a three-year-old. And we saw this, before the war - antiwar activists were asked "so what's your solution for Iraq", as if a country of 20 million people were reducible to a mathematical equation.

In fact, there was no "Great Refusal" on the side of the left. What there was, was a rational argument, with copious evidence before the war started, that in the case of Iraq military force would do no good whatsoever. In fact, the antiwar left that Berman is writing about - the leftist governments of Europe - argued that a) the case for WMDs was not persuasive, b) there were better options for dealing with WMD concerns than illegal war, and c) the aftermath of war was going to be unpredictable at best, with the potential for a more potent recruiting tool for jihad.

All of these things were predicted before the bombs started falling in Baghdad, and all of them have been proven correct. There was no "Great Refusal", only "Great Accuracy." And I refuse to apologize for being correct years ahead of those who now wish they'd been as smart as me.

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