Thursday, January 10, 2013

John Judis and The New Republic try stand-up

John Judis and The New Republic really ought to just market themselves as humorists.  In fact, the very idea that the pro-Iraq War journal can escape its past is laughable and that point is driven home every time they think the world's forgotten about the periodical's recent past.  Consider them The Onion's second-cousin, unintentionally hilarious and never in on the joke.  Which is how you get Judis today offering nonsense about Chuck Hagel like the following:

And while Hagel voted for the resolution to authorize force in October 2002, he did so on the assumption that Bush was going to give priority to creating a Gulf War-type alliance through the United Nations. "Going it alone and imposing a U.S.-led military government instead of a multinational civilian administration could turn us from liberators into occupiers, fueling resentment throughout the Arab world," he wrote. When the United States did invade, and became occupiers, Hagel joined Scowcroft in opposition.

Good to know the Hagel joined Brent Scowcroft in opposition, "when the United States did invade."  But, strange thing, my calendar shows that invasion started in March 2003.  And Chuck Hagel publicly called out the Iraq War in August 2005.  As I do the math that's 2 years and five months after the invasion.  I hope wherever Scowcroft was waiting for Hagel to join him during all that time had a public bathroom otherwise that long wait must have been hell on the kidneys.

Here's reality on Republican Hagel not even ten years ago.  We on the left didn't like him.  We didn't like because we didn't support stolen elections and Hagel came to the Senate in what was a 'surprise' win on voting machines that he owned, voting machines without a paper trail.  Back then, on the left, we still believed in count every vote.  Hagel was a War Hawk throughout his time in the Senate.  When he finally came around on the Iraq War, there was no rush to embrace him. 

We're not talking a Walter Jones here.  US House Rep Walter Jones was a huge supporter of the Iraq War.  He's also someone who realized he was wrong and did a complete turn around.   I feel his vote was wrong in 2002.  I don't beat up Walter Jones here.  He's done everything he could in the last years to make up for that vote.   I'm also not interested in beating up US House Rep Dana Rohrabacher on his Iraq War vote.  That Republican (my opinion) hasn't gone out of his way to make up for his vote.  He's not Walter Jones.  But I do give him credit for the fact that he has publicly stated not just that he voted the wrong way but he's also made a point to note that others were right.  We were at the hearing -- and reported on it -- when Rohrabacher made a point to single out Democratic House member Gary Ackerman.  We covered that November 30, 2011 hearing in the next day's snapshot.  Rohrabacher stated,  "Mr. Ackerman and I weren't always on good terms. I argued the case for supporting President Bush with his efforts in Iraq with Mr. Ackerman numerous times and I was wrong.  Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.  This [the Iraq War] has been a waste of our lives and our money."

There are also people who supported the war before it started and still support it.  (And there has to be at least one person in the country who was against the war before it started and ended up for it.)  And that's fine.  I disagree with that opinion but it's out there.   Emily Swanson (Huffington Post) reports on a Huffington Post and You Gov poll which found 52% of those surveyed think the Iraq War was a mistake (31% say it wasn't) and 55% say it wasn't worth fighting (27% say it was) -- the poll has a plus or minus 3.7% margin of error.  Those numbers aren't good for those of us who were against the war, by the way, and they're not good in terms of preventing another war.  We can go into that in the snapshot later today.

But Hagel?

First off, the ever changing story.  Judis appears to be arguing Hagel had an 'awakening.'  I thought the latest revision being pimped was, "Hagel was right about it in 2002, look at his long-winded statement right before he voted for the war!"  Now it's he was wrong but he awakened.

If he awakened, it was a strange kind of awakening.  He didn't do anything to stop the war.  At one point, he even voted against his weak amendment opposing the 'surge.' 

Judis entire column is a laugh riot but it probably hits its zeneth when he starts grumbling about "unrepentent boosters of the Iraq War."  As Phoebe said on Friends,  "Oh, hello, kettle?  This is Monica.  You're black" ("The One With All The Poker" written by Jeff Astrof and Mike Sikowitz).

I'm sorry, Judis, I'm blanking on The New Republic cover story about how the magazine was wrong on the Iraq War and examining how they got it so wrong.  I must have missed that mea culpa.  Funny thing, everyone else missed it too.  Maybe the issue just sold out too quickly?

Or maybe it never existed.  Maybe the Washington Post did some form of a mea culpa (Howard Kurtz' review of the paper's coverage and how wrong it was) and then the New York Times did their mini-culpa and that appears to be all we'll ever get.  Maybe The New Republic devoting an issue -- an entire issue -- to how wrong they were and why could help set a standard for the media?

Until that happens, Judis and his magazine need to grasp that they are in no position to finger point.  They didn't just cheer on an illegal war, they openly attacked those who were against the war.  Or are we all supposed to forget that they called for a bunker buster to attack Arundhati Roy?

It's amazing who'll crawl into bed with whom these days now that we're apparently living in the Age of Obama, a post-ethical age clearly.

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