Friday, December 29, 2006
the public are shocked by the state of society, but as for you, you're a breath of purity:
Did I ever tell you about the time I met Joe Lieberman? He attended an off-the-record lunch at The New Republic around New Year's 2004 to argue for the magazine's endorsement, which he ultimately got. (Against, for the record, the overwhelming recommendation of the staff.) Knowing he was in friendly territory, Lieberman felt no need to strenuously make the case for himself. But I had attended a New Year's party in which -- surprise, surprise -- a great deal of antipathy for the man bubbled to the surface, and so I asked him what he made of that. His response is off the record, and I intend to respect that, but suffice it to say he didn't care what the liberals thought. Whether that was pandering to what he figured TNR wanted to hear, I can't say, but it made quite an impression on me.

So given that Lieberman isn't very interested in the world outside of his mind, we get this, in his op-ed backing escalation today:
I saw firsthand evidence in Iraq of the development of a multiethnic, moderate coalition against the extremists of al-Qaeda and against the Mahdi Army...
Bullshit. Name them. Who are they; what sect do they belong to; what do they benefit by telling you what you want to hear; etc. I'm sure there were many valiant South Vietnamese politicians and military officers who impressed visiting U.S. senators with their dedication, patriotism and resolve. Lieberman's entire argument is based on bolstering the "forces of moderation" that he gives no effort to identifying. He uses the phrases "victory for Iran" and "setback" with blithe abandon, with no attempt to think through what they might look like or ultimately mean. For instance:
Hezbollah and Hamas would be greatly strengthened against their moderate opponents.
Ah, the undifferentiated Islamist menace, spreading like a cancer, on the nefarious march. I would ask Lieberman to give an iota of effort to explaining how a U.S. withdrawal strengthens Hamas to the detriment of the United States. But to him all this is surely self-evident.
--Spencer Ackerman
While nodding in agreement with the latter half of your post, I was struck by the description of the meeting with Lieberman in the first half. Over at the Plank, Marty told me I spoke from utter ignorance when I called Lieberman his "bestest friend" (MP's not quick to recognize sarcasm, apparently). He did say this about Lieberman, however:

Just for the record, I have never spoken with him "one-on-one." The only time I've seen him was in a crowded room.

Is this even true, in light of the editorial meeting? I can't imagine he didn't play a role in the editorial decision in 2004.
Blogger jfaberuiuc | 8:13 AM

It's a common misconception about Marty and Lieberman. Without speaking for Marty, I can tell you that he absolutely did not endorse Lieberman in 2004. This was mostly a Peter decision, as I believe he explained on CNN when the endorsement came out. It's not for me to say who Marty actually backed, but it definitely wasn't Lieberman.

Now, are Lieberman's views on many issues substantively similar to Marty's? Probably fair to say.

I have no idea if Marty and Lieberman have ever spoken one-on-one, but if Marty says they haven't, I have little reason to disbelieve him. Truth be told, I can't even remember if Marty was at the Lieberman lunch.
Blogger spencerackerman | 8:24 AM

Wow, I almost have more respect for Marty (no, on second thought I still don't), but boy does that reflect even worse on Beinart (I missed his CNN piece apparently). I can only hope that someone over there has the good sense to point out Holy Joe's increasingly nonsensical notions of who is fighting whom over there (Chotiner, Plumer?), because their favorite Senator is going off the deep end. Someday, someone will explain to me, and hopefully to them, why the idea of Republican Catholics fighting Loyalist protestants in N. Ireland is instantly clear to some people, but Shi'ite Iran vs. Sunni/Wahabi al Qaeda is so hard to grasp.
Blogger jfaberuiuc | 8:46 AM

Reading the Lieberman piece warning about consequences of defeat I kept saying "you should have thought of that before".

The war has strenghtened Iran. Whose fault is that? Lots of sane voices warned of that happening BEFORE the war. Lieberman and his neocon friends ignored the warnings. Why should we listen to them now?

The more interesting question is whether the WP editorial page will come out in favor of escalation and they are using the Lieberman piece as warm up. Lieberman and WP editorial page have had identical views about Iraq. So I wouldn't be surprised if the WP came out in favor of escalation.
Blogger Miri11 | 10:50 AM

I don't have much to add other than:

"the stupid, it burns"

And miri is quote correct in this:

Reading the Lieberman piece warning about consequences of defeat I kept saying "you should have thought of that before".

Not especially productive to say 'I told you so' over and over again, unless the first order of business is getting the drunkard in the monkey suit to get out of the driver's seat. Then you might try and get directions, but the imperative is not actually driving into a deep gorge first.
Blogger Pooh | 1:34 PM