Reading Jonah Goldberg Was a Worthy Mistake

There’s a strict taboo in the column-writing business against recycling ideas. So let me start with something fresh.

Jonah Goldberg is a lying sack of bad arguments.

I know, I know. I’ve said it before. And I enjoy saying it now.

So, what’s fresh about my proclamation? Well, before, I said it regarding Jonah’s advocacy of the war in Iraq. Now, I’m saying it in response to his claim that the war was a mistake. Why? Because he’s still lying:

In the dumbed-down debate we’re having, there are only two sides: Pro-war and antiwar. This is silly. First, very few folks who favored the Iraq invasion are abstractly pro-war. Second, the antiwar types aren’t really pacifists. They favor military intervention when it comes to stopping genocide in Darfur or starvation in Somalia or doing whatever that was President Clinton did in Haiti. In other words, their objection isn’t to war per se. It’s to wars that advance U.S. interests (or, allegedly, President Bush’s or Israel’s or ExxonMobil’s interests). I must confess that one of the things that made me reluctant to conclude that the Iraq war was a mistake was my general distaste for the shabbiness of the arguments on the antiwar side.

First, very many of the people who supported the invasion of Iraq are abstractly pro-war. Ever read Max Boot or Victor Davis Hanson? Second, damn right most antiwar people aren’t pacifists, if by “pacifist” Goldberg means “one who rejects all use of violence.” Antiwar libertarians and conservatives most certainly believe in the right to armed self-defense. And they, along with a number of leftists, most certainly did oppose all of the wars he mentions. If Goldberg needs to refresh his memory, he can scoot on over to a little site called, ahem,, and use its handy search feature to look for the words “Kosovo,” “Somalia,” “Haiti,” “Darfur,” and so on. We have been against intervention in each case. Finally, yes, it is difficult to see how war with Iraq advanced any American interests, unless the interests – the short-term interests, at that – of the GOP, Israel, and ExxonMobil are the interests of all 300 million of us.

The rest of Goldberg’s column is pretty predictable, worth reading only for the odd man-stabbed-in-the-chest metaphor. How long until we get the follow-up, “Staying the Course Was a Worthy Mistake”?