Matthew Yglesias shows us that there are more errors of fact and logic in Sebastian Mallaby's column:
Posted by robe0419 at August 11, 2004 10:51 AM | TrackBack
Sebastian Mallaby gets in some licks on John Kerry, but I'm seeing some factual and logic errors.
"Bush smashed the Taliban in Afghanistan, even though large parts of the Democratic foreign policy establishment opposed any strategy involving boots on the ground." For one thing, I remember the Afghan War, and I certainly don't recall any "large parts" of the Democratic foreign policy establishment opposing a strategy involving boots on the ground. I also don't recall very many boots being put on the ground. My recollection is of a war fought by air power, special forces, and local allies and that John Kerry criticized the failure to put more boots on the ground as having led to the debacle at Tora Bora. And speaking of Tora Bora, I don't recall the Taliban as having been so much "smashed" as "driven out of the major urban areas and then largely allowed to escape" as a result of their having been, contrary to the advice of John Kerry, too few boots on the ground.
Then we hear that Kerry is a captive of Vietnam Syndrome but "the United States does not have the option of withdrawing from the war on terrorism in the way that it withdrew from Saigon. Kerry's inclinations seem wrong for the times that we live in."
This strikes me as illogical. Isn't the point precisely that, as Mallaby says, we don't have the option of withdrawing from the war on terrorism while we did have the option of withdrawing from Saigon. We seem hear to have been infected with a vicious case of "one dimensional foreign policy syndrome" where the operative question about any figure is how "hawkish" or "dovish" he is. But just as it would be silly for the government to run a pacifist foreign policy, it makes very little sense for a leader to be simply "hawkish" in the sense of being in favor of fighting wars just for the hell of it. One wants a president who is eager to use force when force is appropriate, but not otherwise. One who wants to put more boots on the ground when this is a good idea, but not when it isn't. Vietnam in the late 1960s was not a good moment to put more troops on the ground, Afghanistan in late 2001 was. Kerry's "inclinations" were right in both instances.