Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The "debate" on Iraq among consevatives

















Peter Berkowitz had a piece on The Conservative Mind in the Wall Street Journal editorial page in which he argued that "The American right is a cauldron of debate; the left isn't."

According to the Hoover Institute's scholar, unlike those on the left, "those to the right of center are engaged in an intense intra-party struggle to balance competing principles and goods." There is all the standard blah..blah..blah.. about the differences between libertarians and social conservatives, Hayek vs. Kirk, etc.
But then there is this:
But on non-standard issues--involving dramatic changes in national security and foreign affairs, the power of medicine and technology to intervene at the early stages of life, and the social meaning of marriage and family, the partisans show a clear difference: the left is more and more of one mind while divisions on the right deepen.
Consider Iraq. The split among conservatives has widened since Saddam was toppled in the spring of 2003. Traditional realists continue to put their trust in containment, and reject nation-building on the grounds that we lack both a moral obligation and the requisiteConsider Iraq. knowledge of Arabic, Iraqi culture and politics, and Islam. Supporters of the war still argue that, in an age of mega-terror, planting the seeds of liberty and democracy in the Muslim Middle East is a reasonable response to the poverty, illiteracy, authoritarianism, violence and religious fanaticism that plagues the region.
In contrast, Democrats today are nearly united
in the belief that the invasion has been a fiasco and that we must withdraw promptly. Indeed, rare is the Democrat (Sen. Joe Lieberman was compelled to run as an Independent) who does not sound like a traditional realist denying both America's moral obligation to remain in Iraq and its capacity to bring order to the country.

Now...I do wonder why this lively debate on Iraq that Berkowitz is describing has not been evident in..where do we start...? The National Review? National Review Online? Fox News? The Weekly Standard? The Heritage Foundation? The American Enterprise Institute? The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page? Commentary? Just to name a few of the leading conservative outlets where any dissent on the war on Iraq has been silenced, and the only remaining debate is between those who want to nuke Iran and those who want to do a "regime change" there. And we can go on and on... as we focus our attention on the recent debate among Republican presidential candidates and the efforts to shut-up Dr. Ron Paul. There has certainly been more of a serious and lively debate on Iraq among Democrats and liberals. Count the number of Democratic senators who voted against the recent (modified) bill on Iraq and those Republicans who voted in favor of it. Thanks to The American Conservative and Chronicles, conservatives have been able to voice their views on Iraq and the Bush foreign policy. But please Dr. Berkowitz...there was no WMD in Iraq and there has been no conservative debate on Iraq.

4 comments:

Joseph said...

Just so. Furthermore, he fails to realize (or fails to mention) that the Left had this debate years ago, before the war got under way. The reason they're of one mind now is that they've already hashed this out, and the proof about who was correct is there to see. If the Right is actually starting to have this debate now, it's because after being lined up in lockstep for four years the more sober-minded among them are now just starting to realize that, hey, the Iraqis didn't greet us with flowers and candy after all!

In contrast, Democrats today are nearly united in the belief that the invasion has been a fiasco and that we must withdraw promptly. Indeed, rare is the Democrat ... who does not sound like a traditional realist denying both America's moral obligation to remain in Iraq and its capacity to bring order to the country.

He writes that as if the invasion wasn't a fiasco, and as if it were a self-evident truth that we have both an obligation to stay and the capacity to affect the outcome for the good. In other words, he still thinks there are flowers and candy laying around in the sands of Mesopotamia somewhere.

Dennis Dale said...

Berkowitz bandying about the too little-too late Republican debate on the war, largely a reaction to its disastrous political consequences, in Congress, as belying the lemming lockstep of the Bush years; as opposed to the Left who merely, as Joseph points out, got the war right from the start--well, it sort of reminds me of Feith's recent Wa Po op-ed where he seemed to suggest that the alliance between al Qaeda in Iraq and the Ba'athist resistance, created by the invasion, validates his office's pre-war fiction of such an alliance.

But what really stands out for me is that Berkowitz can write this:
Supporters of the war still argue that, in an age of mega-terror, planting the seeds of liberty and democracy in the Muslim Middle East is a reasonable response to the poverty, illiteracy, authoritarianism, violence and religious fanaticism that plagues the region.
--and not ask himself, what precisely is so conservative about this?

Global Paradigms said...

Totally agree with Jospeh and Dennis. All of this is part of the don't-mention-the-war mentality that you can even discover in books and articles written by conservatives and libertarians that criticize Bush's policies. The emphasis is always on "spending" and "government intervention" (and I agree with their arguments) and Iraq is not mentioned at all.

Anonymous said...

Im just hoping that we can run out the clock on this presidency, and elect a new congress of reasonable legislators next time out.

The neo-cons that are at the AEI and Wall Street Journal editorial page, etc. will find a way to support sweeping up the middle east no matter what happens. I honestly think that if Iran willingly disabled its atomic program and allowed UN inspections, we'd just get another redux of Iraq. They'd find a way to start a war, one way or another.