Clueless Joe

Time’s Joe Klein breezily dismisses the criticism of Glenn Greenwald and others that things haven’t been going so well among the foreign policy Brahmins.  He relates a tale of fellow CFR-types criticizing then-Deputy NSA Stephen Hadley about the Iraq invasion in early 2003, and concludes, “the foreign policy/think tank Priesthood,” despite being “smug and hidebound,” “is too…diplomatic…to be anything but painfully judicious–and it has, more often than not, been a brake on the foaming mouth militarism favored by the neocons.”

Klein has no idea of the proper role and responsibility of a journalist.

First off, what a naive and self-serving view of how things work in the world— as though registering an intellectual point at dinner one time can counteract the impact of one’s arguments, or lack thereof, in Time and sees on the Chris Matthews Show.

And second,  regardless of how devastatingly Klein questioned Stephen Hadley behind closed doors that one time, we still invaded Iraq.  Maybe if he had written about it at the time, repeatedly, things would have been different.  It would have increased the chances that we would have avoided it, or planned better for the aftermath, if critical voices were more widely heard.
The critique of the foreign policy community wasn’t that they were all in favor of the war— it’s that those who weren’t didn’t make their objections heard.  This self-serving bit of meaninglessness from Klein helps make that case.

It brings me no particular joy to criticize this guy.  I’d much rather be praising him for his fine work.  But he has this strange, all too common idea that “bipartisanship” is the highest virtue, and that it is always to be obtained by Democrats giving in.  That may well have made good sense in 1972, or whenever he hit upon this formula, but it’s just not what the situation is today.  The Democrats have been a centrist party for the past decade plus, and the Republicans have been extreme and run by vicious partisans like DeLay, Gingrich, Rove, and Cheney.

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