The elite liberal(ish) case for invading Iraq
Here’s an unpleasant trip down memory lane:
Michael Ignatieff's infamous NYT magazine cover story from January 2003 (Ignatieff was founding director of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights) https://t.co/DziExYVPQ3 pic.twitter.com/Zp4LJASVMD— Nicholas Guyatt (@NicholasGuyatt) March 20, 2023
Many other examples follow the guy who somehow managed to parlay being massively wrong into a (disastrous) major party leadership, but this might be my favorite:
Lawrence F. Kaplan, New Republic senior editor, 3 March 2003 https://t.co/kALlVyccOF pic.twitter.com/0HU3HfOD4N— Nicholas Guyatt (@NicholasGuyatt) March 20, 2023
We agree that there are a lot of parallels between Wilson and Bush. Where our agreement ends is with the question of what that says about the wisdom of the war.
It’s worth noting that at this point by most of these dudes were not really even pretending that Iraq posed any material threat to the US. Instead, the arguments were mostly premised on dreams about how democracy could be created by force ex nihilo by, er, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and some Heritage Foundation interns. (The next move was to say that you never supported that war, just a war that existed in your head that would be fought by a different administration. Which also would have ended very badly, but anyway.)
And, finally, no such summary would be complete without this, which alas is probably a pretty good window into what the administration was “thinking”:
Friedman: "9/11 shows Terrorism is just like a stock bubble. Unassailable logic, right? In conclusion, we must attack a country that had nothing to do with it. SUCK ON THIS!"
Rose: [stares dumbly, thinks about how to get his intern alone in a room]— Scott Lemieux (@LemieuxLGM) March 20, 2023
It says a lot that this was a time in which not only Friedman but Rose were taken seriously as public intellectuals. I was there and I can’t explain it.