All born-again hawks set a dangerous trap for themselves: once their righteous indignation overwhelms them, they always want to bomb, bomb, bomb. Sometimes it’s the only way. But bombing is sometimes the result of failed policy, not a wonderful demonstration of our humanitarian impulses. When a revolutionary president named Reagan designed a strategy to destroy the Soviet Empire, he sponsored revolution. He worked with democratic dissidents. And he changed the world. There’s not a single word from Kristof or Cohen about support for revolution, even though there are many examples of successful American non-violent “intervention” against evil tyrants.
Finally, Cohen’s account of Iraq is predictably wrong. “Unlike Iraq, burdens were shared…” Tell it to the Brits, the Poles, the Salvadorans, the Italians, the Romanians, and the dozens of others who shared the burdens and lost young men and women in Iraq. There were many things wrong about Bush’s war, but lack of allies was certainly not one of them. The Iraq coalition was much bigger than NATO. And I wouldn’t be in a hurry to claim, as Cohen does, that our allies did most of the bombing in Libya, or that America’s role there was de minimus. Those enthusiastic Libyans singing love songs to America in Nick Kristof’s ears probably know a lot about all the things we did.
But let’s not be churlish. Welcome, Rog and Nick. Glad to have you in the war camp. Since you haven’t been here for a while, here’s a refresher course on some of the basic rules:
–There are many ways to wage war, and it’s better to keep the best Americans — those in uniform — out of harm’s way;
–America is the only truly revolutionary country in the world. Therefore the tyrants hate us, and therefore their freedom-seeking people love us;
–Therefore we must fight tyranny, it’s what we are all about;
–So fight the tyrants all along. Yes, life is sloppy, sometimes, when it’s the lesser of two evils, we will have to have tyrannical allies, but such alliances will always fail, sooner rather than later. We still have to work for, and with, the democratic dissidents (a propos of the current unpleasantness, that helps sort out the real democrats from the phonies). Hosni Mubarak can explain it to you;
–Support the fight for freedom non-violently whenever possible. Bombing and invading usually mean that we failed to fulfill our revolutionary ideals. It may be too late for a successful non-violent strategy in Syria, but it is probably not too late for it to work in Iran.
UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit for linking. He’s right about the education bubble, too, btw.