Sunday, June 17, 2007

Let's Get Serious

What do liberal hawks really want?

Let's Get Serious | The American Prospect:

'Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so,' said John Kenneth Galbraith, 'almost everyone gets busy on the proof.'

Today's liberal hawks are engaged in a slightly subtler game. The Iraq war is an acknowledged catastrophe. The same group-think and bandwagon effects that once pushed them so irresistibly towards embracing the invasion is now similarly forceful in pulling them to abandon it. The question, for many, is how to finesse that flip without losing one's reputation for unparalleled foreign policy seriousness. The answer is Iran.

The new approach is not to re-fight the battle over the Iraq war, but to argue that those who got it right, or who got it wrong but eventually came to the right answer, are now in danger of over-learning the lessons of the war -- and missing the danger posed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. An elegant entry into this burgeoning genre comes from Ken Baer in the latest issue of Democracy. '[A] president's past mistakes,' writes Baer, 'can so preoccupy political leaders that they lose sight of the dangers ahead or the principles they hold dear.' In the conclusion of his piece, he warns that progressives must 'not use anger at one war as an excuse to blink when confronting a future threat head on.'

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