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Speaking of Mindless Attacks…

Justin Raimondo is annoyed by accurate descriptions:

Hagel opposed the Iraq war when it wasn’t cool for Republicans to do so. He opposed the Afghan “surge” when even some alleged anti-interventionists supported that futile war. And while one insufferably priggish anti-interventionist, writing for a major conservative magazine, has described him as a “thoroughly conventional and hawkish internationalist,” this is laughable. Bill Kristol knows this, which is why he and his gang have gotten out the long knives.

I am the “insufferably priggish anti-interventionist” Raimondo is attacking here. Apparently, it’s insufferable to describe politicians correctly, instead of gushing over them when they get one or two things right. It’s priggish to pay attention to what politicians do when they are in office. All of this can get in the way of the latest bout of misguided hero-worship.

Hagel has been a conventional and hawkish internationalist during most of his public career. That happens to be the truth, whether Raimondo likes it or not. He is the chairman of the board of directors for the Atlantic Council, for pity’s sake. Obama has likewise been a conventional and hawkish internationalist. Kristol et al. have had their knives out for him for five years. Neoconservative hostility to someone does not mean that he isn’t firmly ensconced in the bipartisan foreign policy consensus. It means that neoconservatives are intolerant of any foreign policy views that do not align closely with their own. They target moderate Republican internationalists and liberal internationalists with the same ferocity that they attack everyone else.

I don’t dismiss Hagel as “just another Washington warmonger.” As I just wrote in the previous post, Hagel has been vindicated in his opposition to the “surge” in Iraq and the escalation in Afghanistan. One has to be exceptionally obtuse to miss that I have been making argumentsin support of Hagel for the last few days. There is someone out there wasting time obsessing over “sectarian criticisms of past errors,” but I’m not the one doing it.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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