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October 7, 2003
Dionne's Take in the Post

I have to admit, at first this pissed me off, and it's still irritating me. However, it is worth a read, and Dionne is trying to introduce constructive criticism, which is encouraging. I think this is based on a couple of mistaken notion, however, chief among them that there actually was a post-9/11 consensus. Domestically, that may have been true -- maybe. If so, it was short-lived. Dionne is incorrect to say that the Afghanistan phase of the war received near-unanimous support, however. We were regaled with history lessons about how the British became lost in their Afghanistan entanglement, and how it was the Russian version of Vietnam in the 1980s.

World reaction was decidedly more mixed. As Merde in France has repeatedly documented, French opinion was that we got what was coming to us, and our focus on Afghanistan should have been diplomatic rather than military, and our approach to bin Laden should have been law-enforcement rather than war. People around the world protested our campaign in Afghanistan, claiming that we were indiscriminately bombing civilians and creating a catastrophe of human suffering as a result. There were threats about indicting US leader and military commanders on war crimes charges. In short, it was pretty much a warm-up for the Iraq phase of the war. Since Dionne's main point is that the Bush administration has negated this nonexistent worldwide consensus and goodwill, his article takes us nowhere.

However, despite what I think is excessive focus on rationalizing an unprecedented victory, Dionne's article acknowledges the intellectual bankruptcy of the domestic opposition (most of it) and distinctly notes that there was/is a strong, traditionally liberal case for the Iraq phase. Perhaps the new organization that Bush is assembling will take some of these hints and start making their case a lot clearer -- and increase their volume -- in the coming days.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 7, 2003 11:52 AM

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