Matthew Yglesias says that it's all very nice that Richard Haass, Larry Wilkerson, Brent Scowcroft, and company have started speaking out against the mendacity, incompetence, malevolence, and sheer stupidity of George W. Bush and his administration; but that the key thing to hold on to is that back in 2003 and 2004--when it might have made a difference--they all put (Republican) party above country:
TPMCafe || The Backstabbers: I'll certainly read the article on Brent Scowcroft when it comes out, but I feel compelled to at least semi-dissent from the heaping of praise upon the likes of Scowcroft, Larry Wilkerson, Richard Haas, and other Republicans who've started speaking out against the Bush administration lately. Everything they say could have been said 12-18 months ago when it would have made a difference for the future of the country. But that would have meant taking fire from the then-intact conservative attack machine, and gotten them labeled as bad party men. Instead of speaking out when Bush was strong and trying to weaken him, they've waited until Bush is weak and decided to pile-on in an effort to save their own reputations.
Better late than never is a true enough adage, I suppose, but it's actually pretty shabby behavior. It also tells you a lot about the way Washington operates and the sort of dysfunctional culture that deserves a lot of blame for the unfortunate circumstances in which the country now finds itself. See also Richard Holbrooke's excellent op-ed on some related points. Richard Clarke, by contrast, offered a study in trying to do the right thing when it mattered.