Roger L. Simon

My Party Right or Wrong

Andrew is tentatively flogging a Democratic Reformation argument today justifying hawks voting for Kerry:

One reason to vote for Kerry this time is that, whatever his record, he will, as president, be forced by reality and by public opinion to be tough in this war [thus forcing the Democratic Party to own the WoT]. He has no other option.

Let’s leave aside Andrew cherry-picking supportive quotes from neocons without providing links to their articles (insert raised eyebrows here) and go the heart of his point – that Kerry has no option. Sullivan says this is because a President Kerry would be loathe to be accused of ‘wimpery’ by Fox News.

Although I’m skeptical Kerry is that worried about attacks from Fox, if the senator wins the election I sincerely hope Andrew’s right. The country needs to unite on this matter And long term (several elections down), I think there’s little doubt that will occur. History will out. But in the short term, next decade or so, many, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of lives will be on the line. I’m not willing to pull the lever for Kerry just to reform the Democratic Party. At its base, the senator’s candidacy is too propelled by peacenik nostalgia to take that risk.

What’s behind a lot of Andrew’s assertions seems to be a belief that the occupation of Iraq was botched. No doubt to some extent it was. Of course it will be many years before we know to what extent (if then). But, more importantly, could it have been another way? Not to any significant degree, I don’t think. I am of a very different persuasion from Andrew on this (but perhaps I have spent more time in places like Ramallah than he has). I am actually stunned we have made as much progress in the Middle East as we have in a matter of a few years. Even though I supported and support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, I never thought we would have come this far in such a short time with elections already held in one country and looming in another. Although I wanted to believe it, of course, I didn’t think for a minute we would be greeted wildly as liberators in Iraq. I regarded that claim as optimistic (perhaps self-delusional) propaganda to gain backing for what to me is a long struggle I see on the same terms as this man. Bush and his cohorts found themselves in a strange dilemma after 9/11. How did you go to the public and say “Okay, we’re going to start a war the could last a hundred years”… even if that war had already been started by the other side?