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Spot the Missing Variable!

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Roger Cohen complains that “Germany, Spain and Italy” are being insufficiently “flexible” about the use of military force. And it would probably be desirable for these countries to send more troops to Afghanistan, although to claim that this makes them “pacifist” is silly. The huge hole in the argument here, though, is that Cohen doesn’t seem to spend much time wondering why these countries aren’t enthusiastic about providing resources to an American-led invasion at this point. Have Italy and Spain always been this reluctant about deploying troops? Might there have been, say, some events of very recent vintage that made them more reluctant? Hmm, I’m trying to think…

This is another classic example of liberal hawk narcissism, the idea that we could somehow fight a dream war in Iraq rather than the one being fought by George Bush. At any rate, hawks can’t have it both ways. They can’t applaud Bush for ignoring European opinion and blundering into an American-dominated military operation in Iraq, despite the lack of either a serious security threat or a viable reconstruction plan, and then complain about how the countries Bush systematically alienated won’t help the United States out of other jams. Cohen, as always, lets his pet war of the hook and pretends that this “pacifism” — in two cases attributed to countries whose pacifism oddly didn’t prevent their previous governments from going into Iraq, which is one reason why they’re the previous governments — just sort of emerged in a vacuum. In the real world, of course, squandering goodwill towards the United States is another reason why Iraq was a very stupid idea.

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