Eugene Volokh responds (or so I take it; for some reason he doesn’t provide a link) to Ted’s post below by requesting that his readers send in instances of “Western commentators who defend the Iraqi insurgents, or at least justify their actions as being a supposed campaign for self-determination, allegedly justifiable rage at Western misbehavior, and so on.” Fair enough, to an extent. As one of his commenters notes, he’s moved the goalposts from Taranto’s quite specific “those Westerners who side with the ‘Iraqi resistance’ against America and its allies” to a much more ambiguous category of statements, but perhaps he feels that there’s a slippery slope leading from the latter to the former style of argumentation. In any event, in the spirit of Eugene’s appeal, I’d like to put out one of my own. I’d like instances in which commentators make egregious claims that a substantial section of those who opposed the war are, in fact, rooting for the other side. As per Eugene’s rules, please provide the name and brief description of the person (who should be a journalist, official or famous person), the exact quote, and the URL at which the original article is to be found. This Dolchstosslegende style hitjob on the vast realist-liberal-internationalist-conspiracy, by famous neo-conservative intellectual, Norman Podhoretz in the February 2005 issue of Commentary, URL http://www.commentarymagazine.com/special/A11902025_1.html is the kind of thing I’m looking for.
Before November 2, some realists had feared that Bush’s reelection would, in Hendrickson’s words, “confirm and ratify the revolutionary changes he has introduced to U.S. strategy.” Having calmed down a bit since then, they are now hoping to avert the apocalypse through another possible outcome that some of them envisaged before November 2: namely, that “once revolutionary zeal collides with hard reality, . . . the Bush policies . . . will end in tears.”
One can only admire Hendrickson’s candor in admitting what is usually hotly denied: that even many leading realists, along with many liberal internationalists, are rooting for an American defeat. Direct action not being their style, they will not participate in the “mass demonstrations and civil disobedience” advocated by Tom Hayden, who advises following the playbook of the “peace” movement of the 60’s (of which he was one of the chief organizers) as the way to get us out of Iraq. But neither will they sit back passively and wait for “hard reality” to ensure that the Bush Doctrine “ends in tears.”
Instead of taking to the streets, the realists and the liberal internationalists will go back to their word processors and redouble their ongoing efforts to turn public opinion against the Bush Doctrine. Mainly they will try to do so by demonstrating over and over again that the doctrine is already failing its first great encounter with “hard reality” in Iraq.
(Podhoretz is here patching together quotes from a review article in a deliberately mendacious fashion to make it appear as if the article’s author is saying things that he very clearly is not. For the article which he is abusing, see here and especially the last two paragraphs; for a response by the article’s author to Podhoretz, see here.)