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.