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November 01, 2004
TIM CAVANAUGH IS PRETTY HARD ON THE LIBERAL HAWKS who have abandoned their earlier positions as the election drew nigh:
Under any conditions, the liberal hawks' brand of armchair generalship is stunningly glib. . . . More than that, the liberal hawks must consider the very real possibility that what is happening today in Iraq is not an unforeseeable disaster but the best outcome any reasonable person could have expected. . . . So if the liberal hawks honestly thought the war could be conducted without brutality, they were merely na´ve. If, however, they are not so much disappointed in the war as tired of Bush, they are something worse. I'm not going to prescribe how anybody should vote, but are there any issues of greater moment than the invasion of Iraq? What is the case for turning out a president who delivered something of such importance to people who say they wanted it? That Bush supported the Federal Marriage Amendment? That No Child Left Behind is underfunded? That Michael Powell has been too rough on Howard Stern? Are these the same people who spent the last three years reminding me that there's a war on? . . .
The old-fashioned conservative hawks may not be a very attractive bunch, but at least they have the courage of their convictions. If it eventually turns out the invasion of Iraq leads to an outbreak of peace and freedom in the Dar al-Islam (and I hope to be proven wrong on this matter), the liberal hawks will undoubtedly swoop back in to show they were on the right side of history. If that day ever comes, just remember one thing: When the going got tough, they were the ones who looked to Secretary of State Biden to bail them out.
It's unusual for me to find myself agreeing with Cavanaugh on the war, but I think he has this right. I thought that things were bad enough to justify going to war. I thought that other war supporters did, too, and that in supporting the war they understood that war means, well, war. Some, however, have made rather abrupt changes in position: Mark Steyn refers to them as "moulting hawks." I just hope that people settle down and focus on what's important after the election.
UPDATE: Related thoughts, here.