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Thursday, June 01, 2006 | 2:36 PM

Posted by

Can be seen here. I'm starting to like this Washington Post chat thing. I was afraid they wouldn't publish my question, because the original article was about Harry Truman, but it was actually right on the top of the list.
Washington, D.C: You draw connections between the War on Terror and the Cold War, yet you also supported the war in Iraq. (Your more recent repudiation had more to do with 'facts on the ground' than core logic.)

If this were the Cold War, we'd be holding Moscow (even assuming Iraq can be compared to that) in the hopes that the rest of the Soviet Union would fall around it. Wouldn't the lessons to take from the Cold War be to surround the enemy with working democracies, and only attack when attacked? Iraq was never purported to have anything to do with 9/11, and the 'domino' theory has never been tested -inside- the enemy stronghold.

Peter Beinart: Actually, my repudiation is all about "core logic." As I write in my book, The Good Fight, I was wrong on the facts (thinking Saddam had a nuclear weapons program) but also wrong on the theory (not recognizing sufficiently the interplay between the war's illegitimacy in the world and its illegitimacy in Iraq. Yes, expanding democracy in the Islamic world, leading strong alliances and making America stronger at home--so we have the internal fortitude for a long struggle--is the lesson of cold war liberalism for today, I belive.
I was afraid he was going to say this, and I tried to do some reseach beforehand to find some kind of 'smoking gun,' but I haven't read his book yet. I still don't believe him - I never mentioned anything about the war's illitimacy in Iraq. Later in the chat, he said this in response to someone else:
We should seek at least democratic legitimacy [before we go to war]--our nato allies of not the UN. That standard--which I should have applied in early 2003--would not have led to us to go to war the way we did, and probably not at all.
He never even mentioned what I was saying, that even if these international institutions had allowed it, it wouldn't have been in our strategic interest.

Two things about Beinhart (and I was going to say this no matter what he said): He's on the right track with his comparison of the War on Terror to the Cold War. But that's still not going to get me to like the Oxford educated, Hillary-loving, New-Republic editing, Bush lap dog. A lot of credibility comes from who's saying it.

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