The Honor Roll

Check out Paul Krugman’s column today, brought to you by Greenpagan. It is brilliant. It begins:

Shortly after U.S. forces marched into Baghdad in 2003, The Weekly Standard published a jeering article titled, “The Cassandra Chronicles: The stupidity of the antiwar doomsayers.” Among those the article mocked was a “war novelist” named James Webb, who is now the senator-elect from Virginia.

The article’s title was more revealing than its authors knew. People forget the nature of Cassandra’s curse: although nobody would believe her, all her prophecies came true. And so it was with those who warned against invading Iraq.

Just for fun I looked up the “Cassandra Chronicles,” which was published 4/21/2003. IT begins(emphasis added),

AREN’T YOU PROUD of us? For most of this past week, as an overwhelmingly successful, lightning-quick Anglo-American military assault liberated Iraq’s capital city, and ordinary Baghdadis poured into the streets to kiss our GIs and stomp on pictures of Saddam Hussein, THE SCRAPBOOK has remained the soul of magnanimity and restraint.

Here in our office there’s this giant archive of newsclips, transcripts, and Internet postings we collected in the months preceding the war, wherein a world community of jackasses confidently predicted that the events lately unfolding on our television screens could not and would not ever take place. And you can imagine the temptation, we’re sure: A lesser SCRAPBOOK would throw open the file boxes and run through the streets with treasures like these, laughing hysterically.

I’m sure there were a few who predicted that U.S. troops could not roll into Baghdad in April 2003. But a “world community”? I doubt it. The truth was (we now know) that, even as the Weekly Standard giggled about the triumph in Baghdad, seasoned military professionals were already worried. I’m reading Thomas Ricks’s Fiasco now, and he quotes a Col. Johnny Brooks (ret.) saying, on the very day that Baghdad fell, “The hard part is yet to come. We can easily win the fight and lose the peace” (p. 134). On that and the next page, Ricks quotes a number of military and intelligence experts who warned after the fall of Baghdad that the war was far from over. It wouldn’t be long before the “victors” who wanted to stay safe were confined to Saddam’s old palace complex in Baghdad — the Green Zone.

The truth is that the real jackassess — the staff of the Weekly Standard — had no idea what we were saying before the war, because they weren’t listening to us.

I remember about that time some cyberstalker sent me photos of the famous toppling of the Saddam statue with a message along the lines of what do you say to THAT, leftie scum? I don’t remember if I answered or not, but I doubt that I did. The fact is that the Saddam statue episode was utterly irrelevant to my objections to the war. And I doubted the cyberstalker had enough brain cells to have understood that.

I do kinda wish I had kept his email address. I could have sent him a photo of the Baker Commission.

Back to Paul Krugman:

At best, they were ignored. A recent article in The Washington Post ruefully conceded that the paper’s account of the debate in the House of Representatives over the resolution authorizing the Iraq war — a resolution opposed by a majority of the Democrats — gave no coverage at all to those antiwar arguments that now seem prescient.

At worst, those who were skeptical about the case for war had their patriotism and/or their sanity questioned. The New Republic now says that it “deeply regrets its early support for this war.” Does it also deeply regret accusing those who opposed rushing into war of “abject pacifism?”

Now, only a few neocon dead-enders still believe that this war was anything but a vast exercise in folly. And those who braved political pressure and ridicule to oppose what Al Gore has rightly called “the worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States” deserve some credit.

Unlike The Weekly Standard, which singled out those it thought had been proved wrong, I’d like to offer some praise to those who got it right. Here’s a partial honor roll:

You can read the honor roll at Greenpagan.

I am on a jury now, and spent most of the day listening to testimony. Now — must … have … nap …