Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Fukuyama again

Courtesy of RCP, here’s Francis Fukuyama’s attempt to defend himself from his critics. He points out that he raised some cautious caution flags before the invasion. I note that, had things turned out differently (had the Iraq invasion been widely acknowledged as successful, as opposed to still a work in progress), his statements weren’t of such quality and vehemence as to have been held against him.

I note also that he’s no clearer on what he means by legitimacy than he was in the book, for which I have already criticized him. His undefined concerns about legitimacy are sounding more and more like those advanced by a certain haughty Massachusetts Democrat.

Here’s the core of FF’s current position:

It was perfectly honorable to agonize over the wisdom of the war, and in many ways admirable that people on the left, such as Christopher Hitchens, George Packer, Michael Ignatieff and Jacob Weisberg, supported intervention. That position was much easier to defend in early 2003, however, before we found absolutely no stocks of chemical or biological weapons and no evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program. (I know that many on the left believe that the prewar estimates about Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction were all a deliberate fraud by the Bush administration, but if so, it was one in which the U.N. weapons inspectors and French intelligence were also complicit.) It was also easier to support the war before we knew the full dimensions of the vicious insurgency that would emerge and the ease with which the insurgents could disrupt the building of a democratic state.

If I were inclined to be uncharitable, I’d say that Fukuyama simply wants to take the easy way out: "See, I was lukewarm at best about the invasion. And without actual stockpiles of weapons to which to point, I don’t want to make the hard argument about Iraq’s easily reconstituted program. And gee, those, er, ’insurgents’ make things really, really tough."

He’s right about being entitled to change his mind. And he’s right to wish for a less polarized debate. But his position in the "embattled middle" would be more impressive if he were willing to challenge some of the conventional wisdom on which he has taken his "bold" stand.

Discussions - 2 Comments

Who cares about FF -- he is a joke in the academic community -- everything he has ever written or talked about has either not happened, or been discredited.

He’s running with the academic herd. For a while after 9/11, he stood apart from the herd, and actually supported, or didn’t prominently oppose military action. But maintaing such a stance has clearly taken a psychic toll on the poor fellow, and in need of solace after standing apart for so long, {a few paltry years}, he’s now returned to the safety of the herd. Whether the herd shall accept him back, after so public an apostasy, without abject displays of apology and regret, without public self-condemnation, without public repudiation of all he’s written and said since 9/11, remains to be seen.

Academics are apt to be a harsh and unforgiving lot. Or at least those of the Leftist variant, and they are the clear majority.

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