« Markets in Everything: Textbook Desk Copies | Main

November 29, 2005

Kinsley vs. Kinsley, Round II

I was surprised to find in my inbox Michael Kinsley, writing:

Brad,

Seems to me that you wildly misinterpret both of the columns that you say demonstrate my intellectual inconsistency. The column a few months ago about the Downing Street Memo didn’t reject the possibility that Bush & Co had “fixed the intelligence” in order to justify a war they were already committed to. It said that this particular document (the DSM) was not the smoking gun that proved the case. Tthe column yesterday did not assert that Bush & Co had fixed, etc etc etc. It said that the Bush administration now concedes that much of the intelligence used was wrong, and that this undermines the justification for the war whether or not the administration “fixed” it.

Where is the contradiction?

Ps Could you post this on your site? (And by all means reply if you wish.) Thanks.

Let's just take Kinsley's first claim: that his "column a few months ago about the Downing Street Memo didn't reject the possibility that Bush & Co had 'fixed the intelligence' in order to justify a war they were already committed to." Here are the opening two paragraphs of that column:

No Smoking Gun : After about the 200th e-mail from a stranger demanding that I cease my personal coverup of something called the Downing Street Memo, I decided to read it. It's all over the blogosphere and Air America, the left-wing talk radio network: This is the smoking gun of the Iraq war. It is proof positive that President Bush was determined to invade Iraq the year before he did so. The whole "weapons of mass destruction" concern was phony from the start, and the drama about inspections was just kabuki: going through the motions.

Although it is flattering to be thought personally responsible for allowing a proven war criminal to remain in office, in the end I don't buy the fuss. Nevertheless, I am enjoying it, as an encouraging sign of the revival of the left. Developing a paranoid theory and promoting it to the very edge of national respectability takes a certain amount of ideological self-confidence. It takes a critical mass of citizens with extreme views and the time and energy to obsess about them. It takes a promotional infrastructure and the widely shared self-discipline to settle on a story line, disseminate it and stick to it.

Posted by DeLong at November 29, 2005 01:20 PM