2002 September 26 Thursday
David Brooks on the Anti-War Left

David Brooks has written a great essay arguing that much of the anti-war left are unwilling to seriously examine the substantial arguments for and against removing Saddam Hussein from power. They are so obsessed with their ideological enemies in the West that the pacifists trivialise the rest of the world:

That is exactly what you see in the writings of the peace camp generally--not only in Chomsky's work but also in the writings of people who are actually tethered to reality. Their supposed demons--Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Doug Feith, Donald Rumsfeld, and company--occupy their entire field of vision, so that there is no room for analysis of anything beyond, such as what is happening in the world. For the peace camp, all foreign affairs is local; contempt for and opposition to Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumsfeld, et al. is the driving passion. When they write about these figures it is with a burning zeal. But on the rare occasions when they write about Saddam, suddenly all passion drains away. Saddam is boring, but Wolfowitz tears at their soul.

You begin to realize that they are not arguing about Iraq. They are not arguing at all. They are just repeating the hatreds they cultivated in the 1960s, and during the Reagan years, and during the Florida imbroglio after the last presidential election. They are playing culture war, and they are disguising their eruptions as position-taking on Iraq, a country about which they haven't even taken the trouble to inform themselves.

Even the rare advocates of continuing the status quo such as Madeleine Albright do not explain how the status quo can be maintained. How will letting Saddam Hussein stay in power not eventually result in his managing to build nuclear weapons and more dangerous biological weapons?

There is a fundamental question that needs to be answered by anyone who wants to debate an invasion of Iraq: Should we allow Saddam Hussein to build nuclear weapons, more kinds of biological weapons, and better missiles? If so, then why is that an acceptable development? Refer back to this post and this post and click thru to the articles by Stanley Kurtz and Marc Trachtenberg. An argument against invasion of Iraq has to address the problems that Kurtz and Trachtenberg raise about deterrence or the argument is not serious. As for inspections as a way to prevent proliferation, see Brink Lindsey's arguments about why inspections are destined to fail.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 September 26 11:09 AM 


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