Jim Henley joins the debate:
[It] doesn’t matter how awfully gleeful doves are or aren’t. It doesn’t matter how gleeful Larison and I were or weren’t about being right about the disaster the Iraq War became, or how happy the Leveretts are or aren’t to have the better case about the strength of the Green Revolution in Iran. It doesn’t matter exactly how much that intellectual pleasure is swamped by horror at the suffering of the victims. The premise of liberal society is that arguments stand or fall on their merits, not the state of the souls of the arguers. It is more important that the Iraq hawks were wrong then and the Iran hawks wrong now than how any of us feel about it. And it’s vastly more important that the hawks were and are wrong than how any of us in the policy argument feel about each other.
We do not intend to come across as callous in our work. We certainly do not take glee in anyone’s death, injury, or incarceration. Every death is a tragedy, especially when the life lost is a young one. But, in our view, our first responsibility as analysts is to be right. We would ask people to judge our work by its clarity, rigor, and whether the bottom-line judgments and supporting analyses stand the test of time.