Saturday, January 27, 2007

Uncomfortable truth

Martin Kettle can't quite bring himself to fully agree with Nick Cohen:

Moreover, those who think like him have explaining to do. This book would have been easier to write four years ago. Cohen saw the Iraq war as a drive to replace tyranny with something approaching justice. That was a reasonable thing to believe once, but it has turned out disastrously wrong - an all too familiar pattern on the left. Iraq does not necessarily invalidate the policies of humanitarian intervention or internationally sanctioned regime change - and it certainly does not negate the power of much of what Cohen writes. But Robert Burns would surely have seen Iraq as a classic foolish notion - or worse - and it sure as hell carries lessons to which the believers have not yet faced up.

This ignores Cohen's main point that there were perfectly honourable reasons for opposing the war in Iraq but that once it has happened all the support of the left should have swung behind the democratic forces in Iraq instead of willing failure in order to bolster their own self-righteousness. This analysis may be uncomfortable but it is true.

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