Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Liberal Hawks

My heros. Really. I like people who buck the trend, as a principal, ... or at least those that use their head. Various writers with leftish instincts supported the war, the most obvious being Hitchens and Paul Berman (if you haven't read his book, Terror and Liberalism, stop everything and buy it now. No really).

James Atlas from the NYTimes wrote a piece on a number of these guys. While the article has good elements, like all Times articles it comes with a slant.... Atlas decided that perhaps these guys aren't really liberals at all but really Neocons. Now, since I happen to like neocons, that would be fine; but to Atlas, I think, it is really a way to discredit them in the eyes of the left...lest this phenomenon spread. Atlas, as you may remember, was the guy who wondered whether Bush's foreign policy was being run by a 'cabal' of Leo Straus devotees (ahhh, those pesky Jews again).

This sparked some interesting thought, as always, from Norm Geras, Michael Totten and Oliver Kamm. Michael was particularly thoughtful on his own analysis of himself as it relates to neoconservatism; Kamm gave a terrific analysis of the piece itself. What I took away is something I have suspected for awhile. What unites many of those on the right and left in their support of the war and in their view of foreign policy, is belief in the strong defense of a liberal society and democracy against the opposing ideologies of totalitarianism and fascism. Clearly a very general statement, and I have no doubt that there are many of those who opposed the war that feel that they are doing the same thing....although they see the real threat from within the country. The war supporters are unabashed in their defense of this country and its principles and history--warts and all--and see the threat (properly in my view) outside, from forces that will fight us no matter what our foreign policy is.

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