23 December 2009

Ought to Know Better Nominee

In honor of the guy I'm about to trash, let's start a new tradition: nomination for awards (with all nominations going in for next year right now). This is the "WTF you are normally a smart, intelligent pundit and should know SO MUCH better than this" award. (Better name pending.)

That said, Andrew Sullivan yesterday said that, while he regretted voting for Bush, Gore would have taken us into war with Iraq anyway.

This is so utterly ludicrous on so many levels, as even a quick google search will show that Gore was against the Iraq war in September '02, about 4 years before Andrew Sullivan himself came out against the war.

When his readers called him on it...he doubled down.

I guess my sense is that Gore opposed the Iraq war in part out of bitterness. If you look at Gore's record - and at TNR, I was hardly unaware of it - it was full of extreme vigilance about Saddam, willingness to use military force for moral ends (as in Bosnia), and completely conventional neocon views on the Middle East. I can absolutely see him going to war against Saddam if goaded sufficiently. Maybe he would have been persuaded by the intelligence that we didn't actually have the goods on WMDs; maybe his hawkishness would have waned in office as it did in opposition. But knowing Gore, I stick with my point. In office, I suspect he would have been much closer to my position on invasion at the time than he was.

These are the kinds of stupid counerfactuals that are impossible to disprove, and thus there is no end to the arguing. But if Bill Clinton (who was just as hawkish as Gore) didn't attack [edit: by attack, I mean invade; I know that Clinton bombed Iraq plenty] Iraq, and Gore explicitly called on focusing on Afghanistan...I think we can safely assume that Gore would have focused on Afghanistan. Saying that he was just bitter is nothing more than petty nastiness. I could go on a rant about the strange, bizarre double standard applied to Gore by all pundits, but as someone who talks about treating people fairly pretty often (and holding political figures to the same standard), this is just ridiculous.

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