Russ Feingold is a noble and valiant force for good in this nation. From his MSNBC interview on the Baker-Hamilton report:
The fact is this commission was composed apparently entirely of people who did not have the judgment to oppose this Iraq war in the first place, and did not have the judgment to realize it was not a wise move in the fight against terrorism. So that's who is doing this report.Via Atrios.
Then I looked at the list of who testified before them. There is virtually no one who opposed the war in the first place. Virtually no one who has been really calling for a different strategy that goes for a global approach to the war on terrorism. . . .
This report does not do the job and it's because it was not composed of a real representative group of Americans who believe what the American people showed in the election, which is that it's time for us to have a timetable to bring the troops out of Iraq.
In a similar vein, Paul Krugman drives home today that while the neocons and their ilk were dead wrong about Iraq, there were plenty of honorable Americans who were nastily dismissed before the war because they very rightly and correctly opposed the war:
Unlike The Weekly Standard, which singled out those it thought had been proved wrong, I’d like to offer some praise to those who got it right. Here’s a partial honor roll . . . .From NYT
Al Gore, September 2002: “I am deeply concerned that the course of action that we are presently embarking upon with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century.”
Barack Obama, now a United States senator, September 2002: “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.” . . . .
Senator Russ Feingold, October 2002: “I am increasingly troubled by the seemingly shifting justifications for an invasion at this time. ... When the administration moves back and forth from one argument to another, I think it undercuts the credibility of the case and the belief in its urgency. I believe that this practice of shifting justifications has much to do with the troubling phenomenon of many Americans questioning the administration’s motives.”
Howard Dean, then a candidate for president and now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, February 2003: “I firmly believe that the president is focusing our diplomats, our military, our intelligence agencies, and even our people on the wrong war, at the wrong time. ... Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms.”
We should honor these people for their wisdom and courage. We should also ask why anyone who didn’t raise questions about the war — or, at any rate, anyone who acted as a cheerleader for this march of folly — should be taken seriously when he or she talks about matters of national security.
Supporters and cheerleaders for this war were absolutely dead wrong, no matter how elegant their spewing of bullshit in support of this war. I think it's important to know who was for the war -- here's a partial list to help you remember: Thomas Friedman, William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Hillary Clinton, The New Republic, The Washington Post Editorial board, David Remnick, Dissent Magazine, John Edwards, Robert Kagan, Peter Beinart, Kenneth Pollack, et al.
Particularly loathsome to me was Remnick's self-regarding and smug "analysis" of the pre-war debate, neatly and easily dismissing objections to the invasion by making vague allusions to Saddam as bogey-man:
We are reminded, too, of Saddam's vision of himself as the modern Saladin, the modern Nebuchadnezzar II, who (after massacring the Kurds, invading Kuwait, and attacking the marsh Arabs of the south) vows to "liberate" Jerusalem, vanquish the United States, and rule over a united Arab world. Saddam is not a man of empty promises. His territorial aggression is a matter of record, his nuclear ambitions are clear.From The New Yorker.
Yeah, David, Saddam's "territorial aggression" was a matter of record and a total menace to the safety of the planet. (Who will protect Kuwait?) We really had to stop him from sweeping across the region imposing a new Iraqi empire. He's the new Hitler! No, wait, Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler! Hold on, there's a parade of Hitlers and Neville Chamberlains! Everywhere! It's always again just before World War II, but now only a timely invasion, bombing, and occupation of another Middle Eastern country and the deposing of another Hitler can avoid a repeat of World War II.
Have we not all learned to tire of these silly and predictable rehearsed and hackneyed rhetorical gestures? Why shouldn't these gung-ho supporters for what Al Gore has very rightly called “the worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States” be called to account for their fantastic misjudgments, and their continued spewing of political "genius" on the Middle East be dismissed totally out of hand?