I Can’t Believe I’m Pro-War Group Shrinking

Talking Points Memo: “At this point, we have truly the worst case scenario on the international stage. And I think the those costs now outweigh those gains.”

CalPundit: “I still believe strongly that we need a tough-minded long-term policy aimed at eradicating terrorism and modernizing the Arab world (among others) — and that this policy should include the use of force where necessary — but not this time. This is the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.”

Sean-Paul (The Agonist): “I’ve had enough as well. I was going to make that argument about credibility, you know–the worst argument ever– but after one too many lies folks, it’s simple enough to say this: Mr. President, I am opposed.”

But Matthew Yglesias remains undaunted: “For what it’s worth, I’m not quite sure what the point in flip-flopping at this point would be.”

And of course, ETL New Republic remains true to the cause, so to speak.

I think the liberal war-supporters were pro-war because they believed that the Iraqi people are suffering (they are, but the world is full of evil dictators), that Saddam makes the region less stable (probably, but so might war, and so does the Palestinian-Israeli situation), and that there was some legitimate risk that to the extent that he has WMD, he might sell or give them to those who would use them, either in Israel, Europe, or North America (the thing that scares me).

But I think it’s important to look at how a war gets started, not just why. As evil as Saddam H. is, when a campaign of lies–from the plagiarized report to the fraudulent Iraq-Niger documents–is used to drum up support for the war, and all it yields are the U.S., Britain, Spain, and Bulgaria in the pro-war column, it’s just not plausible that there’s grounds for war there. Did I mention selling out the Kurds, spying on our allies and threatening Mexico? And there’s no intellectual consistency on the pro-war side, by which I mean that under every metric, North Korea is a bigger threat (But attacking North Korea doesn’t count as revenge on Muslims, which is what I think this war is really about for many on the Right).

Understand, there’s no compelling evidence available to the public (or apparently outside of the governments of the US and Britain) that Saddam poses and immediate threat to his neighbors or to the West. So we’re talking about, at best, misinformation being used to justify a war against a nation that is not invading any country, and in the process we are straining alliances that have held strong for over 50 years. Starting a war in this way is a huge precedent, and an unwise one.


Update. (Via Atrios) NYT now antiwar (excepting UN, perhaps NATO approval, or even just France and Germany–the wording is vague):”If it comes down to a question of yes or no to invasion without broad international support, our answer is no.”