Friedersdorf: Don’t Get Fooled By War On Terror Hawks [Again]
Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic. We’ve already seen the failure of what happened after 9/11 and the hawks got their wars.
As efforts to “keep us safe” go, it was a spectacular failure: Almost 4,500 Americans died in Iraq. More than 30,000 were wounded. Despite deaths and casualties far greater than on 9/11, the hawks insist to this day that Iraq was a prudent war. They’re ideologues who can’t see or won’t admit failures, facts be damned.
John Yoo, who wrote the Bush torture memo writes about the need for preemptive strikes.
A pre-emptive strategy based on intelligence and the use of force overseas seeks to prevent such attacks further from our shores. That option should be preferred by everyone compared to what we’ve seen in Boston these last five days.”
But as Friedersdorf points out:
Obviously, the United States should preempt terrorist attacks using intelligence when possible. Does anyone disagree? Can anyone deny that we already dedicate significant resources to intelligence gathering? Yoo writes as if that wasn’t happening prior to Boston. For years now, we’ve also been preemptively using force overseas. The drone war waged in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere didn’t stop the Tsarnaevs. And it is difficult to imagine any preemptive war that could have stopped two legal residents of the U.S. from attacking their city. Exactly which country would Yoo have had us invade to stop those bombs? But never mind. Yoo has an ideological predisposition to preemptive war. So he implies that it would’ve made us safer in this case, even though that makes no sense given the facts…
Elsewhere at National Review, Andrew McCarthy, author of a book that posits President Obama is allied with our Islamist enemy in a “grand jihad” against America, has published a column titled, “Jihad Will Not Be Wished Away,” though no one in America has ever argued that it will…
Next up is Bill Kristol, writing in The Weekly Standard. The bulk of his column accuses President Obama of lacking the moral clarity to fight the war on terrorism, not because of something he did, or even something he said, but based on the response his spokesperson gave to a reporter’s question.
Kristol argues, “Terror is real and terrorists must be defeated.” But who says they shouldn’t. That is a straw man argument. And if the past is prologue, these pundits, who got it wrong the last time, should be looked upon with a critical eye this time.
Every War on Terror hawk mentioned in this column has a long list of predictions they’ve made about foreign policy and geopolitics, only to see them proved definitely wrong by subsequent events. None of them is among the pundits who grappled with their past errors in any meaningful way. Their pronouncements today are as untempered by self doubt as they ever were. If past performance meant anything in the pundit’s game, their past punditry (and Yoo’s discredited Bush-era legal analysis) would’ve long since stripped them of “War on Terror expert” status.