Democrats distort and try to shut down debate
Among Republicans, the debate over America's proper world role is vigorous. Sen. Rand Paul blames the current disarray in Iraq onGeorge W. Bush and Dick Cheney. "Were they right in their predictions? Were there weapons of mass destruction there? Was the war won in 2005, when many of those people said it was won?"The left has become intellectually lazy. It seems to lurch from substituting insult for logic and then demanding that those who disagree shut up. That is a weak minded approach to dealing with opposition.
Cheney, civil but direct, defends his decisions and warns that Paul's "isolationism" is unwise. "He doesn't believe we ought to be involved in that part of the world. That didn't work in the 1930s, it sure as heck won't work in the aftermath of 9/11."
That, ladies and gentlemen, is how a substantive debate about serious matters is conducted. One side makes its case; the other side responds. May the better argument win.
That's not the way Democrats roll. James Fallows of The Atlantic tweeted, "Working hypothesis: no one who stumped for original Iraq invasion gets to give 'advice' about disaster now. Or should get listened to." Sen. Barbara Boxer called Cheney's criticism of President Obama "sick," adding, "that's just like, you know, a nightmare come back to haunt me, just frankly." Katrina vanden Heuvel asked, "If so many were wrong about Iraq in 2003, why are they still being invited ... on Sunday morning talk shows and op-ed pages as authorities on U.S.-Iraq policy?"Jamelle Bouie of Slate suggested that those who backed the original invasion of Iraq "should be barred from public comment."
As Jonathan Chait notes in New York Magazine, silencing everyone who's ever been considered "wrong" about an issue would create quite a precedent. Chait mentions that many liberals were wrong about the first Gulf War, predicting 45,000 U.S. dead. He needn't stop there.
Most American liberals would have lost their right to speak after they were proved wrong about (ready?) the USSR, Communist China, Fidel Castro, the FMLN in El Salvador (John Kerry in the forefront), the Sandinistas, intermediate-range missiles in Europe, the nuclear freeze, the Strategic Defense Initiative, the Khmer Rouge, Rwanda, treating al Qaeda as a police matter after the embassy bombings and the attack on the USS Cole in the late 1990s and much more.