Dowd and Courage

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Glenn Reynolds tells us he never really was that keen on Bush, always felt sorry for him really, never joined the enthusiasm (apart from voting for him twice), and always embraced the "sensible" case against torture. This profile in reason is, of course, far more admirable than one Matthew Dowd who took this long to figure things out, and mixes the idea of personal responsibility with public issues like beating detainees to death and subjecting them to Khmer Rouge techniques. Really, calm down, Matthew. You're too excitable and too late. One reader comments:

I'm surprised by your characterization of James Moore's Huffpo blog as a screed from the "The Bitter Left."

The Matthew Dowd article made me angry for the same reason that watching Robert McNamara in "The Fog of War" makes me angry. I've had it with people who develop courage long after they have a chance to influence history. You yourself "woke up" to Bush in 2004 - are you saying that Dowd wasn't smart enough to understand the true nature of the Bush Administration during the "Swift Boat" election?

Robert McNamara knew the Vietnam War was a tragic mistake in 1966, but didn't have the courage to tell the truth to Lyndon Johnson. 40,000 more American soldiers died. Colin Powell didn't have the courage to tell the United Nations that, however evil he was, Saddam Hussein was not an imminent threat to the world, despite the unsourced, cooked up "intel" Dick Cheney and George Tenet forced on him. Matthew Dowd didn't have the courage to turn down a big paycheck from Karl Rove in 2004. He gets absolutely no sympathy from me, and I don't think it's a "Left-Right" issue.

I think you'll agree - what America needs right now is "courage in real time" - truth telling when it makes a difference, not in a memoir 5 years after the fact.

I agree with the larger point. But I don't see why genuine contrition and reflection should be spurned, whenever they emerge. But then I'm an unstable hysteric who backed Kerry in '04, didn't like the Swift Boat smearing, and take the non-sensible position against torture, i.e. that we're doing it, the president is lying about it, and it's actually, you know, wrong.

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