I hate to keep harping
on this point, but Glenn Reynolds writes
on the discrediting of the left:
"But not many people will listen to a crowd that has squandered its remaining moral and intellectual capital -- again."
This has been a recurring right-wing fantasy throughout this conflict: that the left, having been proven so inarguably wrong in their prescriptions for American foreign policy, will lose all credibility in the great American political debate. Unfortunately I fear this is simply not going to be true.
Now this is not to say that a large portion of American's don't recognize the stupidity of the left's anti-war position. Quite the opposite. The problem, however, is that most of these people saw the left's error even before irrefutable proof arrived yesterday. Therefore while the events that are unfolding in Baghdad certainly make many of us feel vindicated, it hasn't changed our view of the NY Times or Janeane Garofalo - we never listened to them in the first place.
"But Steve," you're thinking, "what about that part of America that did take the left's views - or at least those of the NYT -seriously? Won't they stop listening to Raines and company?" Maybe, but unlikely. Much of this center-left crowd, because of both Vietnam and a modern distaste for warfare, has a natural inclination to believe in the possibility of peace and the futility of war. The left was wrong about Iraq, but in the next conflict liberal pundits will reiterate their concerns why this
time American action will turn into a quagmire or turn the whole world against us unless we get UN authorization. Remember, with the exception of the far left who carries no moral weight anyway, the moderate anti-war crowd generally doesn't make specific charges, but instead claims how "troubled" they are by the current course of action and expresses concerns about what might happen.
And for a large portion of America, this will once again resonate because they want
to be troubled by military action. This group will, I predict, forget about how wrong dire predictions about Iraq were and once again give credence to the anti-war position because they can't bear to reject these concerns entirely.
I'm afraid we're doomed to continue to repeat the history of this debate because, for much of middle America, the anti-war position is not one of logic but one of emotion. And that's not something that can be easily defeated, no matter how overwhelming the evidence.