Tuesday, August 22, 2006

On forgiveness

Rob at LGM writes a post about Ken Pollack that I have mixed feelings about. Pollack, for his part, seems to have aggravated more than one blogger with this paragraph:
How Iraq got to this point is now an issue for historians (and perhaps for voters in 2008); what matters today is how to move forward.
Pollack, played a very large role himself (author of the pro-invasion text The Gathering Storm), so this looks an awful lot like ass-covering by someone unwilling to simply hide in a corner and scream, "Please for the love of God don't hurt me!"

Rob would rather, in his words, "welcome Pollack to the reality-based community than to suggest that he spend some time in a closed room with a revolver." And I agree that would be my preference as well. But. But. But Pollack - and war advocates like him - refuse to admit the basic fact that they were wrong. And not by a little bit, either. Their wrongness will take years to fully tabulate.

This isn't a reason to despise them for all eternity. Nor is it a solid reason for me to dismiss his reasearch or analysis. It is, however, more than enough reason for me to not trust anything Pollack ever says about the Middle East, ever again. (Previous works are irrelevant. Pollack got the war he wanted, and has refused to admit it.) And rather than ignore Pollack, I feel the need to remind him, loudly, until we get a very clear statement that this war was a bad idea from beginning to end.

There is the final reason that I believe many people are angry about Pollack, and that's the role Pollack played in giving "liberal hawks" cover for their own stupidity. This is unfair to Pollack - if I am holding Pollack to account for his own wrongness, the people who followed his advice are just as individually accountable. When you're wrong - about something as monumental as this war - it's no pardon to point at a guy with a PhD and say "but he was wrong too!"

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