Monday, June 5, 2006

Cognitive Dissonance and the Liberal Hawks

The Mad Biologist appreciates people who get very, very Mad. Hunter, at DailyKos, writes in a brilliant and blistering column (bold original; italics mine):
More and more, I'm seeing pro-war figures look for a healing, of sorts, between those who supported the Iraq War and those who decried it. But this healing seems to take exactly one form -- the pro-war pundits perhaps begrudgingly admitting their errors, but simultaneously continuing to dismiss opponents of the Iraq War as being against it for supposedly shallow or insincere or offensive reasons.

No. No dice. Honestly, this is not an argument that deserves respect, and I'm more than a little peeved at Kevin Drum for even engaging it politely, for the umpteenth dozen time -- and at no point do I expect, given Beirnart's reply, Beirnart to be the one to first acknowledge credible internationalist progressive critiques of counterterrorism policies. There's a point in which debate is reasonable, and then there's a point where it's pretty damn clear that one "side" of the debate has no interest other than repeating the same tainted excuses and accusations and rationalizations over, and over, and over, in an attempt to find that media sweet spot where the conventional wisdom will set up and take hold for future decades.

It's pretty simple: Beinart and the rest of the liberal hawks can not accept that they were the "useful idiots" of the Bush Administration. They can't accept that they were horribly, murderously wrong, and that other 'normal' people were right. By stereotyping the 'anti-war' camp (as if any civilized person is 'pro-war') as a bunch of "Free Mumia", purple-haired, professional protesting freaks, they can convince themselves that 'normal' people had no way of knowing that Bush's policies would a pandimensional clusterfuck.

Too bad. Many of us 'normal' internationalists realized before the war even started how badly this would go. So Beinart and the other liberal hawks fall back on the 'isolationist' canard (an aside: I work for an international public health organization. Just how 'isolationist' could someone like me really be?). Hunter expresses this quite well:
I honestly have no patience -- none whatsoever -- for this premise that opposition to the Iraq War is predicated on a new liberal isolationism. Horseshit. Progressives aren't the ones cowering in terror of some terrifying "New World Order" government to be based out of the U.N. and ostensibly poised to strip United States autonomy on the world stage. They're also not the ones mortified that NATO actions to stop violence and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia were in fact simply window dressing to distract the country from the reality show Big Media autopsies of Clinton's personal life. They're not the ones currently hyperventilating that people who speak a different language have suddenly been discovered to be immigrating to this country in, gasp, a wave of ethnic immigration not seen since, well, every other similar migration in American history. They're not the ones providing opposition to Darfur rescue efforts. And yes, the progressive opposition to "free trade" policies that paper over severe economic discrepancies and damages is hardly a kneejerk isolationist policy either.
Hunter concludes very pessimistically because he thinks no one will read what he has to say. I think a lot of people are already there. Now if only the Democrats would summon the courage to say it.

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