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August 13, 2007

Getting Shadi's Back
Posted by Michael Cohen

This absurd post from Atrios attacking my colleague Shadi is a good example of exactly what is wrong with some elements of the anti-war left - an inability and unwillingness to even consider the arguments of their opponents.

For example, I was a fierce critic of the war in Iraq. Yet, nothing frustrated me more than the complete unwillingness willingness of some liberals to absolutely demonize those who supported the war (sort of reminds me of a certain presidential administration).

Like it or not, there was a defensible case for war in Iraq - Saddam had for 12 years thumbed his nose at the United Nations and international community; he had refused to account for his WMD programs and had consistently tried to hide from international inspectors the extent of these programs; and continued UN sanctions against Iraq were causing a real and unrequited humanitarian emergency among the Iraqi people. Saddam was a very bad guy and many well-meaning Democrats believed that getting rid of him was worth the cost of war even if they didn't buy into the Administration's fear-mongering and hyping of the WMD threat.

Did this justify war? In my view, absolutely not. But that doesn't morally invalidate the people who believed that war was appropriate. I don't know Will Marshall's position on the war; if he supported it, he was wrong to do so, but to then say that he

has nontrivial responsibility for the hundreds of thousands dead, and someone who, along with Bill Kristol, should have his image spat upon by schoolchildren during their "moment of quiet reflection" for generations to come.

Well frankly, that's both offensive and silly. How do you debate with someone the efficacy of war and peace when they basically say that your image should be spat upon by schoolchildren? So much for reasoned debate in the Democratic Party. Apparently, it's either Atrios's way or the highway.

As Shadi points out, is Will Marshall responsible for the incompetent execution of the war? Is he responsible for the atrocious post-conflict occupation? Of course not. Now I'm sure Atrios would say that people like Marshall enabled this Administration to go to war, as if Will Marshall or any Democrat had any real sway over this Administration.

Will Marshall like many centrist Dems thought the ends justified the means in going to war in Iraq. He was wrong. He trusted this Administration to execute the war properly and his trust was misplaced. Such views merit criticism. But how about arguing that point as opposed to attacking him personally? Well I suppose it's so much more fun to just degrade and dismiss someone. The liberal blogosphere would do itself a great deal of good if it actually listened to all viewpoints and debated them reasonably, as opposed to this sort of high-school esque name-calling.

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Comments

Sorry, but you are wrong. The people who supported this war - Democrat, Republican or otherwise - were amazingly stupid. "Centrist" Dems allowed the war authorization to pass the House and Senate when there were clear tools to stop it, they were encouraged by people like Will Marshall to stand up against the vast majority of us unwashed liberals out in America. We were right, they were catastrophically wrong, but we are told time and time again that we should trust those people again and pretend like everything went awesome in Iraq.

"Yet, nothing frustrated me more than the complete unwillingness of some liberals to absolutely demonize those who supported the war"

So you were frustrated by the fact that people would *not* demonize the supporters? I think you mean willingness not unwillingness. or i missed your point.

"I don't know Will Marshall's position on the war..."

Then what business do you have arguing with Atrios on the subject?

Indeed, what business do you have posting on this site? It's like posting on a Bible-discussion site and saying, "I don't know what connection Pontius Pilate had with Jesus..."

Why don't you go away and let people who've actually followed current events for the last few years converse?

I think the term "anti-war left" is too broad of a term these days, considering most Democrats and liberals were for the war in Afghanistan. "Anti-Iraq war left" is more accurate.

"...For example, I was a fierce critic of the war in Iraq. Yet, nothing frustrated me more than the complete unwillingness of some liberals to absolutely demonize those who supported the war (sort of reminds me of a certain presidential administration)...."

So we should have demonized them more?

Thanks for the tip. ;)

There was no defensible case for the war, unless you believe imperialism is a justifieble cause.

BTW, kids, enjoy the spike in traffic you get today.

It won't last...

What Swopa said.

"Will Marshall like many centrist Dems thought the ends justified the means in going to war in Iraq. He was wrong. He trusted this Administration to execute the war properly and his trust was misplaced. Such views merit criticism. But how about arguing that point as opposed to attacking him personally?"

I think the point is that there was a very good case for NOT going to war, but all the people supporting that case were marginalized in the debate (not that there ever was a debate). Now, five years and hundreds of thousands of deaths later, the people who did not support the war are STILL marginalized and those that did support it are still calling the shots. Until this situation changes, people will continue to die because Bush lied us into the wrong war, and all the happy fools like Will Marshall made it possible.

Like it or not, Iraq had no NBC weapons. None. And it accounted for that fact to the UN. Moreover, we had a defector who said all of the weapons were destroyed by 1995. But we invaded anyway and what did we find? That Iraq had destroyed its weapons by 1995. So invasion isn't defensible. Unless you know of a different definition for defensible. This debate is over. Iraq wasn't a threat. We got bogged down in an unsustainable occupation. We took our eyes off of the real threat and it has reconstituted its strength. This debate is over. It is time for Will Marshall and his defenders to admit he was wrong and apology for the mess they helped instigate.

Some of us are being far too nice in the face of this continued obstinance.

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