IT’S LIKE 2002 ALL OVER AGAIN….Matt Yglesias is annoyed at Kenneth Baer for his drive-by libel of Ezra Klein in the latest issue of Democracy, and who can blame him? It’s odious. Still, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? I figure Ezra has committed himself to a long career of being on the receiving end of this kind of stuff from National Review and its ilk, so he might as well get used to it now.

But there’s actually a more remarkable aspect to Baer’s piece than this. The subject is Iran, and here’s the sum total of what he has to say:

In Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran, Israel is again staring down a possible existential threat, and the United States is once more facing a serious challenge to its interests in the region….But it would be a disservice to our progressive ideals if we allowed disgust with the Bush Administration to lead to a softness toward totalitarian, anti-egalitarian, atavistic regimes and movements.

….Once again, the Middle East and its lone democracy are threatened….At a moment like this, to defend American interests and the values we stand for, progressives should heed the sage words of [Wayne] Morse and not use anger at one war as an excuse to blink when confronting a future threat head on.

This is remarkably content-free coming from a “Journal of Ideas.” If Baer thinks we ought to invade Iran, he should say so. If not, he should tell us exactly what he thinks us progressives are getting wrong. Iran may be a nasty, repressive, and terrorist-supporting theocracy, but just saying so hardly amounts to a coherent critique of progressive foreign policy. Next time, more substance and less random contempt, please.

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