Here’s what David Brooks, now respectable rightwing (but not too rightwing! Must…reposition…in…political…landscape…) pundit for the New York Times wrote in his then-home The Weekly Standard ten years ago to the day (boldface mine):
Over the past week, George W. Bush has shown a disturbing tendency not to waffle when it comes to Iraq. There has been an appalling clarity and coherence to his position. There has been a reckless tendency not to be murky, hesitant, or evasive. Naturally, questions are being raised about President Bush’s leadership skills.
Meanwhile, among the smart set, Hamlet-like indecision has become the intellectual fashion. The liberal columnist E. J. Dionne wrote in the Washington Post that he is uncomfortable with the pro and antiwar camps. He praised the doubters and raised his colors on behalf of ‘heroic ambivalence.’ The New York Times, venturing deep into the territory of self-parody, ran a full-page editorial calling for ‘still more discussion’ on whether or not to go to war.
In certain circles, it is not only important what opinion you hold, but how you hold it. It is important to be seen dancing with complexity, sliding among shades of gray. Any poor rube can come to a simple conclusion–that President Saddam Hussein is a menace who must be disarmed–but the refined ratiocinators want to be seen luxuriating amid the difficulties, donning the jewels of nuance, even to the point of self-paralysis…
But those who actually have to lead and protect, and actually have to build one step on another, have to bring some questions to a close. Bush gave Saddam time to disarm. Saddam did not. Hence, the issue of whether to disarm him forcibly is settled. The French and the Germans and the domestic critics may keep debating, which is their luxury, but the people who actually make the decisions have moved on to more practical concerns…
Being horribly, murderously wrong is apparently no impediment to affording a $4 million home. Brooks is only worth reading for the pictures–and since there are no pictures in his columns, that doesn’t leave you with much. On the signature foreign policy issue of the last decade, he got it completely wrong–and was rewarded with NY Times op-ed real estate so he can spew more misinformation to a larger audience on a variety of topics.
And the congregation responds: this is yet another reason why we can’t have nice things.