Shortly before the election of 2004, Tim Cavanaugh of Reason looked at what he called, “Twilight Of The Liberal Hawks“:
What unified the liberal hawks was that their support for the war was based unreservedly on what is popularly understood as the “neocon” vision, the prospect of exporting democracy to the Middle East through force of arms. According to the “forward strategy of freedom,” a democratic Iraq with an emancipated citizenry would serve as an example and beacon to the Arab autocracies, empowering liberals in the region while undermining dictatorships; opening up avenues of freedom and self-expression for ordinary citizens in the Muslim world would in turn remove the impetus for terrorism. For liberals whose taste for progressive-minded interventionism had been whetted by the Clinton administration’s operations in the Balkans and Haiti (and probably even more so by the counterexample of Clinton’s failure to stop the massacre in Rwanda), the invasion of Iraq looked like a natural fit, even if it was advanced through a Defense Department with whom they had little stylistic or political affinity.
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.