The reliably dreadful Andrew Sullivan quotes Stephen Mearsheimer on the establishment stifling alternate viewpoints-
The left is great at portraying themselves as bravely speaking truth to power, fighting the establishment, blah blah blah. But the idea that the war in Iraq wasn’t widely and strongly supported, by the New York Times, and Andrew Sullivan!, is one of the more glaring examples of selective amnesia we see.
The aftermath of the Iraq War has been mostly ugly recriminations. No one has sidled out the door, after sinking knives into the backs of his boss and colleagues, more skillfully and stealthily than Colin Powell. He used his great personal authority and prestige to make the case before the assembled UN- I remember the day well- and if he didn’t convince the UN, he convinced America.
As it turned out no significant quantities of WMDs were found in Iraq. When or how they were disposed of, and why Saddam Hussein didn’t show this to UN inspectors, is not known. The presence of WMDs was only one of a variety of reasons for invading Iraq and overthrowing the government, if it can be called that, of Saddam Hussein. But opponents of the war seized on this to attack the Bush White House, while mysteriously leaving the State Department and CIA out of the picture.
This would have been a great opportunity to man up for Colin Powell. He could have gone on TV- 60 Minutes or maybe one of the Sunday morning shows- and said, “It turns out there were few WMDs left in Iraq. I had access to the best intelligence the US intelligence community could produce, and I was convinced there was. Why this judgement was wrong we must look into and come to understand. Nonetheless, whether he had a current stockpile of WMDs or not, Saddam Hussein and his regime represented an unacceptable threat to his neighbors, his people, and the world at large. Invading Iraq and overthrowing his government, and establishing one that met the basic requirements of human decency, would have had to be done at some point, and better at a time of our choosing than after he had started another war.”
But as Homer Simpson tells us, “Being able to weasel out of things is what separates us from the animals- except the weasel.” I don’t know if Colin Powell actually has weasel DNA, as part of some experiment gone hideously wrong, or is just the 100% human world champion of weaseling. You don’t get to be a general in the US military by manning up about anything, you get to be a general by pointing the finger at the other guy if anything goes wrong. Had he confronted this issue US politics in general would have been less poisonous and more constructive over the last five years- the ugliness over the war having bled over into everything else- but no such luck.
But the complete lack of ability of the establishment to take responsibility for anything is one of its defining characteristics. Responsibility is for suckers.