Will everyone who said that liberal interventionists “lost all credibility” after the Iraq War, and hence should never be listened to again, renounce their own credibility after predicting Qaddafi would fall? I’m not holding my breath, but I really hope pundits will think twice about essentially calling for other writers to be shunned by all right-thinking people based on one data point. Let’s judge ideas on their merit, not the identity of the person propounding them.
Opponents of Libya did not claim that the French, British, and US militaries could not lend the Libyan rebels enough power to topple Gaddafi. On the contrary, this was never really the main thrust of our opposition to the war. Not even close. We opposed the war for many reasons, not the least of which are the lessons learned in Iraq after the relatively easy toppling of Saddam Hussein.
Remember, the worst in Iraq did not take place in the early days, during the invasion. The invasion and ouster of Hussein was the easy part. The real problems came once the power vacuum became apparent, when civil war and insurgency led to all sorts of things we never predicted.
The toppling of Gaddafi is the easy part. What we war critics worry about is the fallout of this action, the aftermath of our involvement with rebels who, by all accounts, we know very little about – who may have fought against our troops in Iraq. We’ve learned this lesson before – or should have, in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Zack Beauchamp wants us to renounce our own credibility because Gaddafi fell. His missing of the point is either willful or purely obtuse. Either way, this is a shameful way to carry on a debate. It’s embarrassing for the Dish, especially given Andrew’s own criticism of Libyan intervention, not to mention his admirable turn-around during the Iraq conflict.
Iraq was a mistake, an epic blunder. By all means, let us judge each other based on the merit of our ideas. I could care less about Beauchamp’s identity if that’s what he’s worried about. His ideas are utter nonsense. I could care less about shunning anyone (who is calling for this anyways?) but we could build a bonfire of the fallacies Beauchamp is peddling.
Zack clarifies his point here. I tend to agree with his conclusion. While I think some ideas are indeed pernicious enough that we should denounce them thoroughly whenever they come up in polite society, I neither support shunning people or doing anything beyond arguing fiercely over said ideas. No censorship, no banning from polite society, etc. And preferably no premature Von Hoffman awards.