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Liberal Hawks, RIP

- Abstract

The inauguration of a new pres-ident in January 2009 seemed to mark the close of an era for American foreign and security policy. Among the chief aims of President Barack Obama was an end to the war in Iraq. That conflict had become synonymous with the presidency of George W. Bush, whose supporters were widely blamed by liberals for what they viewed as a hopeless quagmire.

“The effort to bring about democracy in Iraq brought about instead a collapse in global public support for the United States.” So writes Michael Signer in his new book, Demagogue. Signer, a liberal Democrat now running for lieutenant governor of Virginia, writes of George W. Bush’s stated desire to end tyranny in this century, “It was a Platonic ambition for a decidedly non-Platonic time.” Signer is unlikely to make any pro-war speeches in his bid for lieutenant governor. But among pro-democracy liberals it was not ever thus. Only a few years ago, people like Signer were less “decidedly” sure of the Iraq War’s inadvisability. Indeed, Signer himself sounded an “emphatic yes” to the mission of ending Saddam Hussein’s rule in Iraq by force.

About the Author

Abe Greenwald is the senior editor of COMMENTARY and writes regularly for our blog.