Scott Lemieux

Scott Lemieux is an assistant professor of political science at the College of Saint Rose. He contributes to the blogs Lawyers, Guns, and Money and Vox Pop.

Recent Articles

AL THE PRESCIENT.

AL THE PRESCIENT. In comments to my previous post , a commenter brings up an obvious example of a critic of the Iraq War who made many clearly correct arguments: Al Gore . Read his September 2002 speech, and you'll immediately see that claims that the war's critics were inevitably as wrong as its supporters are beyond ludicrous (particularly since the parts of Gore's speech that hold up least well are those where he gives too much credit to the administration and its apologists.) And as Bob Somerby tirelessly reminds us, it's also worth remembering the reaction to Gore's speech . An even more clownish than usual Michael Kelly , for example, opined that it was "very nearly [bereft] of facts -- bereft of anything other than taunts and jibes and embarrassingly obvious lies ... It was wretched. It was vile. It was contemptible. But I understate." John Podhoretz -- whose analysis of Iraq was about as convincing as his claim that the Ron Howard mediocrity (but I repeat myself) Cinderella...

ARGUMENTS THAT WERE MADE.

ARGUMENTS THAT WERE MADE. Ezra points us to Julian Sanchez 's excellent rebuttal to Megan McArdle 's claim that critics of the war were just a wrong as the supporters. For my part, it's somewhat difficult to respond to McArdle's post, since not only does she argue strictly from anecdote but she also declines to specify most of the allegedly erroneous anti-war arguments. Adding on to Sanchez, it's worth identifying some arguments that were, in fact, in circulation at the time: The war would be enormously costly, and the administration's claims that the war could be funded primarily by Iraqi oil revenues were transparently farcical. (As Matt says today , a candid assessment of the costs would have made it impossible to justify the war, and it's obviously false to say that everyone took them at face value.) The fact that Iraq was riven by ethnic divisions and lacked a strong civil society made it a particularly implausible candidate for forced democratization. Whether or not Iraq had...

"FIRST YOU DIDN'T WANT ME TO GET THE PONY, NOW YOU WANT ME TO TAKE IT BACK, MAKE UP YOUR MIND!"

"FIRST YOU DIDN'T WANT ME TO GET THE PONY, NOW YOU WANT ME TO TAKE IT BACK, MAKE UP YOUR MIND!" Via Yglesias , we see that "liberal hawks" (at least as defined as liberals who think that replacing a bad dictatorship that posed no security threat to the United States with an Islamist quasi-state was a great idea) are as capable of being pathetic Bush dead-enders as any conservative. Michael O'Hanlon : But it would still be counterintuitive for the president's critics to prevent him from carrying out the very policy they have collectively recommended. Jeffrey Herf : Now that Bush wants to send more troops to fight with a different strategy, this chorus of critics rejects the policy. It is irritating and depressing to see the uniformity with which Democrats reject or even fail to recognize the new thinking in the military and the new thinking that is reflected in Bush's proposals even when at last the President agrees with the criticisms of some of his critics. This is so childishly...

THE DREAMLIFE OF DEAD-ENDERS.

THE DREAMLIFE OF DEAD-ENDERS. Via K. Drum , I see that Jonah Goldberg (just like Josh Trevino ) asserts that Bush is superior to his critics because at least he's "forthrightly trying to win a war." Kevin deals with the first problem with Goldberg's argument, which is claiming contradictions in the Democratic position that don't exist . But, in addition, it should be noted that in absence of any viable plan to achieve his goals, the credit due to Bush for thinking it would be desirable to win is absolutely nil. If your local battered women's shelter phones to say that they could provide beds for everyone with a $200 donation, and you decide to take the money and spend it on a Joel Schumacher DVD box set instead, you don't get any extra moral credit because you think that it would be really nice if the shelter had enough beds. The disagreement between Bush and his critics is not over whether "winning" (whatever this even means -- people making this argument generally keep the contours...

THEY WERE AGAINST SOMETHING AFTER THEY WERE FOR SOMETHING ENTIRELY DIFFERENT!

THEY WERE AGAINST SOMETHING AFTER THEY WERE FOR SOMETHING ENTIRELY DIFFERENT! Glenn Reynolds approvingly links to this silly post by the Anchoress (while calling John Kerry a flip-flopper for--like Bush--supporting one funding plan and not another, ha ha, that never gets tired!). Noam Scheiber (discussing a similar use of this sophistry by Rich Lowry ) has already dealt with the idea that if you supported some number of additional troops at some previous historical juncture, it's hypocritical to oppose the specific plan put forward by Bush: Alas, there are a couple of conditions that must obtain before Lowry's point will hold water: 1.) It is only possible -- both practically and theoretically -- to expand the U.S. presence in Iraq by a one-off addition of 20,000 troops. So, for example, if we have 140,000 troops in Iraq, and someone says "more troops," then the only way to interpret their suggestion is: "add 20,000 troops." Or if we have 10,000 troops in Iraq and someone says "more...

Pages