The Master of Humility Shifts the Iraq War Goalposts

Very humbly, of course.

Recently, David Brooks scribbled a mea culpa about his support for the Iraq War that was heavy on the mea and very light on the culpa. While many people have taken apart Brookscolumn, there’s one (more) disturbing part that hasn’t received much attention:

These are all data points in a larger education — along with the surge and the recent withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan. I wind up in a place with less interventionist instincts than where George W. Bush was in 2003, but significantly more interventionist instincts than where President Obama is inclined to be today.

I, for one, think the deaths of many thousands of people is worth it if Brooks receives “a larger education.” (Is our pundits learning?) But that’s not worst thing. It’s how Brooks attempts to position himself as a moderate between the supposed poles of Bush and Obama. Which is to say, Brooks is implying the only ‘serious’ positions are either full-scale invasion or (imprecisely) targeted assassinations–and I’m old enough to remember when it was considered taboo for a president to openly argue for assassination (international law ‘n shit).

Maybe there’s a third policy option here, one that doesn’t primarily revolve around blowing shit up? What’s really insidious about the op-ed is that Brooks is attempting to ‘define out’ diplomacy: we can have little military strikes or big ones, but those are the only two options.

Brooks hasn’t learned a fucking thing at all.

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