WAR FOLLOWUP….Going back and forth on the war is probably a mug’s game at this point, but I guess I really need to follow up on my earlier post about the left and the war. It must have been written pretty poorly for so many people to misconstrue it so badly. I suppose that’s the danger of blogging while sick. So a few points:
There were lots of reasons to oppose the Iraq war and I agree with most of them. There’s no argument there.
I said in the earlier post that I didn’t remember the precise arguments made by the most prominent war critics back in 2002, and that’s just the simple truth. It would take a tremendous amount of work to try to research this question and summarize the main strands of thought fairly, and since I can’t do that I figured it was better to just admit that I didn’t remember and leave it at that.
(However, it turns out the archives for Kos and Tapped are still available. I didn’t know that when I wrote the original post. Kos’s war posts are here and Tapped’s archives are here [in the right hand column]).
I agree that people who got the war wrong ought to do some soul searching. I agree that anti-war voices who got it right ought to be more prominent in the media. People who get big questions right deserve respect.
However, I also made a specific comment about preventive war: namely that the failure in Iraq doesn’t especially vindicate the argument that preventive war is almost always wrong. It is almost always wrong, and the fact that Iraq was a preventive war was a good reason to oppose it. But the specific quagmire that we find ourselves in now has very little to do with the fact that the Iraq war was preventive.
On that last point, I’d welcome argument. Maybe I’m off base. Would the war have gone better if it hadn’t been preventive? Maybe so, though everyone seems to think we would have been screwed in 1991 if we’d gone all the way to Baghdad in the Gulf War, and that wasn’t a preventive war. But I’m wide open to argument on this point.