From the Ashes, the War Hawks Rise Again: It’s Always About Them

As the drumbeat to do something about the militant group ISIS gets louder, it’s worth remembering the run up to the context in which ISIS arose–the aftermath of our failed conquest of Iraq. A key factor, then and now, was a punditariat that was absolutely terrified of more terrorist attacks, as demonstrated by this exchange between columnist Joe Klein and media reporter Howie Kurtz (boldface mine):

KLEIN: Yes, this could be an incredibly dangerous war for journalists. But then, you know, we’re in a situation that’s fairly dangerous for those of us who live in places like New York and Washington.

KURTZ: That’s right. What used to be considered only a threat for journalists who actually put the helmets on and went out with the troops, that has changed in the age of terrorism.

As ridiculous as Klein’s and Kurtz’s statements are (Kalorama is not the Hindu Kush), what’s breathtaking is the narcissism. This is how emotionally stunted teenagers react. So many opinion shapers–who seem to have learned nothing from their mistakes–superimposed their fears, their neuroses, their delusions of grandeur onto what needed to be a serious, thoughtful response.

From what I’ve been reading recently, nothing has changed. Let’s not even start with the saber waving towards Russia, which is a nuclear-armed powerwe barely survived the last go-around. We seem to have done a complete flip-flop: a year those who supported the opposition to Bashir al-Assad in Syria, which included the evildoers of ISIS, now want to destroy ISIS. Once again, being wrong for the right reasons is a necessary qualification for foreign policy ‘seriousness.’

Simply put, our Very Serious People always get it wrong. This time, it’s on us if we listen to them.

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2 Responses to From the Ashes, the War Hawks Rise Again: It’s Always About Them

  1. colnago80 says:

    What’s most interesting about reading the crap produced by the commentators is how they pontificate about how dangerous the ISIL is. If you listen to them, the ISIL is the reincarnation of the Wehrmacht and the Africa Corps and al Baghdadi is the combination of Heinz Gudarian, Erwin Rommel, Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, and Napoleon. We shouldn’t underestimate these miscreants but on the other hand, we shouldn’t overestimate them either.

  2. harrync says:

    At least one thing has changed. I used to say “At least Thomas Friedman is right about climate change.” Now I can say “At least Thomas Friedman is right about climate change – and seems to have learned the lesson of the Iraq war debacles.” [See his Sept 3 NYT op-ed.]

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