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

WHY ARE WE LISTENING TO THIS MAN?

WHY ARE WE LISTENING TO THIS MAN? In pointing us to this remarkable construction of ice cream castles in the air and destruction of strawmen by Frederick Kagan and Kenneth Pollack at AEI, Yglesias asks : "Whether the Kagan-Pollack meeting of the minds enhances Kagan's credibility or detracts from Pollack's I'll leave as an exercise to the reader." My question: what credibility on Iraq could Pollack possibly have left to lose at this point? As Matt says, Pollack's remarks consist of a very convincing explanation of why the inevitable chaos in Iraq is going to be a disaster with considerable regional spillover, which constitutes excellent evidence for the foolishness and hubris of the war's advocates but is neither here not there in terms of demonstrating the viability of avoiding such an outcome. Pollack's conclusion, however, sums up the evasiveness and blame-shifting of the pro-war dead-enders effectively: At the end of the day, walking away from Iraq or even trying to contain it...

THE TRAGIC INELUCTABILITY OF BUSH'S WAR.

THE TRAGIC INELUCTABILITY OF BUSH'S WAR. People who have seen my writings about Ralph Nader will not be surprised that I tend to be skeptical of "heighten the contradictions" arguments. As such, I'm afraid that on the merits I have to side with Sam over Spencer or Rob on this one. If Congressional Democrats could end the war, then I think they should indisputably do so. This isn't because I think that the narrative Spencer outlines won't play out; it very well might. The problem is, the blame-the-war's-opponents narrative will be trotted out and may hold no matter what the Democrats do . If the stylings of Glenn Reynolds have taught us nothing else -- and they certainly haven't -- it's that precisely because they're unfalsifiable tautologies " stab-in-the-back " arguments can be deployed irrespective of the evidence on the ground or what the Democrats do. (After all, it's not as if the narrative was a plausible explanation of Vietnam either.) There's simply no question that the...

W STANDS FOR...

W STANDS FOR WOMEN WAHABBISM. During the build-up to the Iraq war, you may recall various Bush apologists who have less than no interest in women's rights domestically using women's rights in other countries as a prop to advance the administration's foreign policy (often spiced up with dishonest claims that American feminist groups ignore violations of women's rights in Islamic countries). Exactly how the Iraq War was supposed to improve women's rights was unclear, and not surprisingly replacing a brutal secular dictatorship with a quasi-state beholden to Islamic radicals for social control has made things even worse : Life has become more difficult for most Iraqis since the February bombing of a Shiite Muslim mosque in Samarra sparked a rise in sectarian killings and overall lawlessness. For many women, though, it has become unbearable. As Islamic fundamentalism seeps into society and sectarian warfare escalates, more and more women live in fear of being kidnapped or raped. They...

CATASTROPHE KEEPS US FROM THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION.

CATASTROPHE KEEPS US FROM THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION. As someone who has long been a proponent of " Hillary Myth #2 ," I was very interested in the data adduced by Garance . I do think that Matt Yglesias gets at a couple of possible limitations. First, I definitely agree that Clinton won't be perceived by Democratic primary voters as substantially more liberal than her reputation, but whether this will be true of the general electorate remains open. And second, I also agree that Clinton probably won't be seen as more liberal than an African-American Senator from Illinois, but it does seem to me that there would be a major gap in perceived versus actual progressivism when comparing Clinton to, say, John Edwards . Still, given the likely dynamics of the 2008 election, I concede that Clinton being perceived as an arch-liberal may well not be a significant problem. This theory, however, comes with a very large downside. Given that the Iraq war will still be raging and almost certainly...

MORAL CLARITY.

MORAL CLARITY. Via Drum , I see that in his new LA Times column ("Iraq Needs a Pinochet ") Jonah Goldberg argues that you can't make an omelet without throwing a few people out of planes, and that the baseline for measuring the quality of a country's leadership should be Fidel Castro . (This must have been the grading curve his colleague John Podhoretz was using when he called George W. Bush a "great leader.") Of course, if one was inclined to be charitable -- and when it comes to people who supported this disastrous war for many years, I'm not -- it could be pointed out that the current situation in Iraq proves that pretty much any state is better than having no effective state, which is true enough. But consider how much is being conceded here. Evidently, it was never plausible to think that Iraq was magically going to turn into a stable, pro-American democracy after the invasion, which means that the immense cost in lives and resources was going to be expended in a war in which the...

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