Saturday Sermon: On Punditry and Repentance

Peter Beinart, who was a prominent Iraq War supporter, and who now realizes the errors of his ways, writes (boldface mine):

I have a fantasy. It’s that every politician and pundit who goes on TV to discuss the Iran deal is asked this question first: “Did you support the Iraq War, and how has that experience informed your position?”

I supported the Iraq War enthusiastically. I supported it because my formative foreign-policy experiences had been the Gulf War and the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, all of which led me to exaggerate the efficacy of military force and downplay its risks. As Iraq spiraled into disaster, I felt intellectually unmoored. When my sister-in-law was deployed there for a year, leaving her young daughter behind, I was consumed with guilt that I had contributed to their hardship. To this day, when I walk down the street and see a homeless veteran, I feel nauseous. I give some money and a word of thanks, and think about offering an apology. But I don’t, because there’s no apology big enough. The best I can do is learn from my mistake. These days, that means supporting the diplomatic deal with Iran.

…My point is merely this: These people [Iraq War supporters] should be required to offer those explanations. If a politician or pundit demanded the deregulation of Wall Street, talk-show hosts would ask why doing so wouldn’t provoke another financial crisis. If a politician or pundit demanded equipping America’s police with military-style equipment, talk-show hosts would ask why doing so wouldn’t provoke another Ferguson. Yet when it comes to Iran, the debate is almost entirely a la carte. It’s as if there are no relevant precedents (except, perhaps, Munich). Again and again, pundits who championed the invasion of Iraq—people like Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer—appear on television advocating the same worldview they advocated in 2002 and 2003, and get to pretend that nothing has happened over the last 15 years to throw that worldview into question….

To a degree that will baffle historians, the political-intellectual complex that made the Iraq War possible remains intact, and powerful. Amnesia is part of the reason why. If Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and Benjamin Netanyahu knew that before denouncing the Iran deal they’d be required to account for their views on Iraq, they might not show up in the green room. If they did, their television appearances would take a radically different course from the course they generally take today

It’s only fair, therefore, that when people who championed the Iraq War appear in air-conditioned TV studios to debate the Iran deal, they be made to face that war’s consequences too. Were that the norm, I suspect the debate over Iran would barely be a debate at all.

Part of repentance is not only making restitution, but also not making the same mistake when placed in a similar situation. Still a need for a whole lot repentance.

This entry was posted in Fucking Morons, Iraq, Jewish Stuff. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Saturday Sermon: On Punditry and Repentance

  1. anthrosciguy says:

    I don’t believe his claim that: “If a politician or pundit demanded the deregulation of Wall Street, talk-show hosts would ask why doing so wouldn’t provoke another financial crisis. If a politician or pundit demanded equipping America’s police with military-style equipment, talk-show hosts would ask why doing so wouldn’t provoke another Ferguson.”

    Have you seen this happen?

Comments are closed.