Liberal Hawks Reconsider the Iraq War

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Jan. 16 2004 12:28 PM

Liberal Hawks Reconsider the Iraq War

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Christopher Hitchens' historical analogy—Saddam is to Osama as Stalin is to Hitler (or should it be "as Hitler is to Stalin"?)—is more than a bit strained. But if the comparison is valid, then it follows that invading Iraq in response to 9/11 was like invading the Soviet Union in response to Nazi Germany's aggression against Czechoslovakia. Christopher also knows better than to accuse me of endorsing, as he puts it, "any policy that can be guaranteed as a painless victory in advance." As he well knows from our conversations at the time, I was (and remain) an avid supporter of the war in Afghanistan, which—given the Soviet and British experiences in that country over the years—was by no means foreseen (by me, him, or anybody else) as a sure thing.

Paul Berman is the author of Terror and Liberalism and The Passion of Joschka Fischer, which is forthcoming in the spring. Thomas L. Friedman is the foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times and most recently the author of Longitudes and Attitudes. Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and a regular contributor toSlate. His most recent book is A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq. Fred Kaplan writes the "War Stories" column for Slateand is the author of The Wizards of Armageddon. George Packer is a staff writer for The New Yorker, where his article about the occupation recently appeared. He is working on a book about America in Iraq. Kenneth M. Pollack is a fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq. Jacob Weisberg is editor of Slate and co-author, with Robert E. Rubin, of In an Uncertain World. Fareed Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International and the author of The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad.

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