Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ackerman on Beinart on Iraq

Former TNR writer Spencer Ackerman comments on Peter Beinart's explanation for why he supported the Iraq war, calling it "one of the most honest, reflective, and insightful things I've read in a good long while."
Peter explains his support for the war through his admiration for the Iraqi dissident Kanan Makiya. Kanan, one of the most guileless and brave people I've ever been privileged to meet, is someone I hold in similar esteem. (It probably says something about the times we live in that Cruelty and Silence -- an overview of Iraqi desperation and its apologists -- appears more apt and poignant than Republic of Fear does.) If there's anything I'd add to Peter's column, it would be this: it wasn't Kanan's fault that anyone supported the Iraq war -- wait, wait, hang on, let's make this more personal. It wasn't Kanan's fault that I supported the Iraq war. It was for wanting to believe so badly in the righteousness of America's terrible swift sword. I wanted to be worthy of the respect of such a brave man as Kanan that I ended up unworthy of it by abandoning rigor.

One final thing. Many of you out there really, really dislike Peter Beinart. I hope you'll read his column and see him as I see him: a scrupulous, honest writer who doesn't stop challenging himself. If he falls short, he acknowledges it and tries to learn from the mistake.

Ackerman's blog is titled "toohotfortnr," which points to the circumstances of his departure from the magazine. Both Ackerman and Beinart speak for me on this issue, and I urge everyone to read both of their pieces.

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