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Michael Berube Is Back!

Michael Berube is back, eviscerating Alexander Cockburn and Edward Herman, those notorious stooges-in-search-of-a-Stalin:

How Do I Sleep?: Alexander Cockburn wants to know, and it's sweet of him to ask. In his most recent essay, "Where are the Laptop Bombardiers Now," he writes....

[W]here are the parlor warriors? Have those Iraqi exiles reconsidered their illusions, that all it would take was a brisk invasion and a new constitution, to put Iraq to rights? Have any of them, from Makiya through Hitchens to Berman and Berube had dark nights, asking themselves just how much responsibility they have for the heaps of dead in Iraq...?

Cockburn's essay is gradually making its way through the Intertubes.... I can say that my position on Iraq four years ago hasn't led me to wonder how much responsibility I have for the war. I opposed the war, and no, I"'m not sorry about that. Four years and six weeks ago, I had just gotten back from the antiwar rally in New York, and I wrote this:

Many of us fear what will happen to Iraqi civilians and American civil liberties; I fear this too, but as the impervious Bush imperium machine grinds on, I fear the aftermath of the war even more than the war itself. A military governorship in Baghdad for at least two years? A Greater Turkey to contain the Kurds in the north? Osama at large and al-Qaeda regrouping in Afghanistan and Pakistan? NATO and the UN in shreds?

What a complete and terrible and deadly mess. Everyone with any damn sense at all knows that if President Gore were sitting in his rightful place in the Oval Office right now, we wouldn't be on this obsessive and profoundly counterproductive path. Yes, President Gore would have taken out the Taliban and its terrorist training camps immediately after 9/11. And rightly so. But from that point on, there's almost no point of contact between what Bush has done and what any sane or competent President would have done....

Now, perhaps you think this is just sloppy Alex Cockburn making a sloppy mistake, tossing me in with people who supported war in Iraq. But this kind of thing has been going on for almost five years now, and there's no mistake about it. In the US, the Z/Counterpunch left didn't care much for people who wanted the antiwar movement to be as broad as possible; they took it as their task to make sure that the political ground for the antiwar movement would be as narrow as possible, and to that end, they made a point of describing people like me and Michael Walzer and Todd Gitlin and Marc Cooper and David Corn (all of whom opposed war but favored UN inspections and/or no-fly zones and/or revised sanctions) as supporters of war in Iraq. I pointed this out in late 2002, in response to Ed Herman's first Z essay on "The Cruise Missile Left"...

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