Fair Weather Friends

Tim Cavanaugh of Reason looks at the twilight of the liberal hawks:

Thus, in late 2002 and early 2003, we found such luminaries as Christopher Hitchens*, Paul Berman, Thomas Friedman, Fred Kaplan, Kenneth Pollack, Fareed Zakaria, Jeff Jarvis, Andrew Sullivan, Michael Ignatieff, and many others arguing for the expenditure of American lives and treasure in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

These days, none of those luminaries can summon a kind word for the president who acted in accord with their own arguments….This is a neat arrangement of responsibility by the liberal hawks: All the blame falls on the president, none on themselves. Bush’s former supporters channel what is now the overwhelming conventional wisdom that the administration (in the person of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld) failed to provide a large enough force to run the country adequately. Leave aside the question about just how large a force would be adequate, given that even under the current deployment the armed services are strained to meet their commitments and relying on callups of the Individual Ready Reserve to fill manpower gaps. Ignore for a moment how 300,000, or 500,000, or a million, non-Arabic-speaking troops would prevent, for example, an insider from helping massacre 50 Iraqi police recruits. Under any conditions, the liberal hawks’ brand of armchair generalship is stunningly glib.

Still, the inadequate-force objection might hold water if the liberal hawks had supported the war for the same reason the majority of Americans apparently did




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