Pre-emptive Strikes

The Baker-Hamilton Commission’s come in for its share of criticism from the right, but in my latest column the left speaks up: “Bipartisan adoption of the ISG’s recommendations, in other words, may not solve America’s Iraq problem, but it just might solve the Iraq problem facing the bipartisan American national security elite that got the country into this mess.”

By my read of the working group’s personnel roster it is the case that the May-style neoconservative intellectuals who largely formulated the Bush Iraq policy and took the lead role in pushing for its implementation have been sidelined. Also scantily represented on the commission, however, is another important category of people — those who saw the direction things were heading and took a strong stand against the march to war. I don’t want to say that none of the experts here were against the war, which is almost certainly false. But while many of them wrote in support of invasion or worked for institutions like the Heritage Foundation or the Washington Institute for Near East Policy that backed it, virtually none of them — none at all that I recognize — engaged in public opposition to the war before it happened.

This, however, is just the very mix of silence, collaboration, and complicity on the part of “respectable,” “credible,” “mainstream” analysts that produced the war in the first place. The more courageous and farsighted voices who got things right were treated as marginal at the time and, shockingly, are still treated as marginal — excluded from all the coolest bipartisan commissions.

Read it all at The American Prospect Online.