I can’t fault Rod for his frustration with the war, though I think he comes across as pretty anti-intellectual and unfair in his tirade — as if there was no good faith or no good arguments for the positions he once held and which lots of folks he respects still hold. I should also say that the comparison to Jimmy Carter is really quite weak. Simply because Carter’s feckless foreign policy and Bush’s over confident foreign policy elicited similar feelings in Rod doesn’t mean that they can be glibly equated. Indeed, even if the result of Bush’s foreign policy has had the consequence of projecting an image of weakness around the globe as Rod asserts, that doesn’t mean they are similar foreign policies. They do come from very different impulses, I think everyone can agree.
Well that‘s certainly true. The idea, however, that at this moment in history one could still regard a Bush-Carter foreign policy comparison as unflattering to Bush is preposterous. Both arguably “projected an image of weakness.” In Carter’s case, however, at the very worst this came down to a handful of people being held hostage for a long time. Bush, by contrast, has gotten thousands of American soldiers killed, ten of thousands more maimed, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians killed all in the course of wars losing multiple simultaneous wars. It’s a completely unprecedented fiasco.
UPDATE: Speaking of Carter, I do agree with Jonathan Zasloff about this. It should be noted, however, that while Carter’s Afghanistan policy looked bad, it was actually extremely effective.