Wednesday, May 08, 2013

What's Behind Liberal to Neocon Conversions?

In particular, what persuaded Bill Keller? In his op-ed supporting invasion of Iraq, he gave two reasons. One was the influence of Kenneth Pollack. The second was the influence of the Bosnian example. However, neither one of these reasons explains his support of U.S. military interventions. Take the Pollack book that he says provided "intellectual cover". Pollack's assessments were totally wrong. He thought an invasion would find WMD and that it would cost little in terms of money and American lives. He didn't think it would shatter Iraqi society, cause economic havoc, create civil war, and cause millions of refugees, deaths, injuries and disruptions. His entire background was a signal that his views would be totally biased. Only a fool would have believed him or someone with a predisposition to accept the invasion idea. In this particular case, I think Keller exhibited both foolishness (including over-optimism about the results, limited understanding of the history of past interventions, limited understanding of Iraq itself, limited understanding of war, excessive faith in U.S. political leadership, excessive faith in U.S. intelligence agencies, etc.) and a predisposition to accept the morally bankrupt idea of invading a country for its own good and for America's good.

Bosnia was his second reason:

"The president will take us to war with support -- often, I admit, equivocal and patronizing in tone -- from quite a few members of the East Coast liberal media cabal. The I-Can't-Believe-I'm-a-Hawk Club includes op-ed regulars at this newspaper and The Washington Post, the editors of The New Yorker, The New Republic and Slate, columnists in Time and Newsweek. Many of these wary warmongers are baby-boom liberals whose aversion to the deployment of American power was formed by Vietnam but who had a kind of epiphany along the way -- for most of us, in the vicinity of Bosnia."

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