Penitence

It seems to be mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa week across a chunk of the World of Blogs, as a couple of excellent liberal bloggers out there have decided to make this the time to discuss their transition from pro- to anti- on the matter of the war in Iraq in more detail than they have hitherto.

It started when Belle Waring posted this piece at Crooked Timber, which then led to this one back at John and Belle’s, which in turn managed to bring Nasi Lemak back from the ranks of the blogdead for further comment.

(Repentant hawks also include Gwyddion the Magician, or whatever he’s called, who has also clambered out of the blogcoffin just recently, and Matthew Yglesias, who offered a brief endorsement of Belle’s piece.)

Most interesting snippets, at least to me:

(1) Belle: “I should have let partisan opposition to Republicans guide my thinking more than I did. My mom, for example, said that even if I was right and the invasion was a good idea, that these bastards would screw it up. I guess I was lost in some post 9/11, spanning the political divide bullshit haze”. A commentator then glosses this nicely in the discussion that follows: “My desire not to let my dislike of Bush cloud my judgment on this war ended up, ironically, clouding my judgment in favor of the war.”

(2) Nasi Lemak: “I think this mistake was actually driven by my being a political scientist. I didn’t have to be an especially strong rational choice proponent to believe that elected politicians tend to try to avoid disaster, and that electorates tend to try to punish politicians who end up leading them into trouble. I thought these two things to be probably truths both as regards the US and UK governments”, which is followed by an excellent discussion of how both of these assumptions seem to have collapsed over the last 18 months.

No discussion of this kind of thing is complete without reference to at least three D-Squared posts, so I’ll put them here, here, here and here, all of which are ageing well.

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