War as a Reason to Go Democratic in 2008


Reason contributing editor Brink Lindsey, a former Iraq war hawk, explains why he's seriously thinking of going Democratic for president in 2008. He says, among other things, that he's "completely lost faith in preventive war as a way of dealing with nuclear proliferation. Consequently, my sense now is that military action against Iran would backfire badly, perhaps disastrously."

Why Brink used to think the Iraq invasion was a good idea, from a debate with John Mueller in the January 2003 Reason.

His announcement of his change of mind.

Brink's excellent new book (not about foreign policy or electoral politics) The Age of Abundance–look for an excerpt in a forthcoming issue of Reason.

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  1. There are comments over there … should we comment here or there? Maybe we should use this board as the place to comment on Brinks’s history and the board over there as the place to discuss whether Brinks is right, on balance, that libertarian ideals at home should be postponed while we implement a laissez-faire foreign policy. Or maybe we should just comment about Urkobold’s thoughts on classic science fiction – while stoned.

    Since I’m not stoned today I’ll take a shot at the first one…

    I think that it would be bad for American interests if the Straits of Hormuz were to be held to ransom by one or more nuclear powers with access to the Persian Gulf. I also think it would be easier to intervene if we had bases in Iraq (or at least Kurdistan & Kuwait) than if we didn’t.

  2. There is no good reason to vote for someone who is unilaterally opposed to 75% of what you hold dear. And, in case anyone forgot, we have a long history of war brought to fruition by, whoops, the Democrats.

    The lesser of two evils is still evil regards, TWC

  3. Wow. Thanks for pulling up that 2003 debate: it shows how little credibility Mr. Lindsey should be accorded on foreign policy matters. He conflated Saddam and his Ba’athist dictatorship with Islamist extremism! I mean, cripes.

    Does he know anything about American economic history, or does he just make stuff up that furthers the legislative agenda of Cato’s funders?

  4. The lesser of two evils is still evil

    But also lesser. And in the real world, the least bad option is the one to go with.

  5. Team Red and Team Blue seem equally bad to me. It’s nice to pretend that Team Blue is pleasantly non-imperialist, but history suggests otherwise.

  6. I have a feeling that by the end of the year, the Republicans are going to sound a lot like a reverse John Kerry flip-flop.

    ” I was for the war before I was against the war”

  7. Reading Lindsey’s arguments in the 2002 debate, I can only conclude that it isn’t adherence to a certain ideology that got us into this war, so much as an arrogant certainty. Bruce Lindsey, Bill Kristol, Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan Chait have very little in common in terms of their political beliefs, but they all fell into the trap of assuming that they must be right about the war, because only people who agreed with them about the war could possibly be serious about security and foreign policy.

    Lindsey in that piece is a pretty good stand-in for the entire War Party during that period. He couldn’t be bothered to actually consider or refute Mueller’s ideas, so much as sneer at them for being so obviously wrong and naive.

  8. ChrisO,

    It depends on the Democrat. And that’s the difference between the two parties; you can actually find people opposed to imperialism among Democratic officeholders. With the exception of the Honorable Congressman Ron Paul, you simply cannot say the same about their opponents.

  9. First, on Iraq, my support for the invasion was based on the assumption of active biological and nuclear weapons programs.

    Which shows he wasn’t paying close enough attention at that time. But he should have had an inkling, what with misreprepresantations made to garner support for previous actions.

  10. Preach it, uncle sam.

    After you catch the car salesman in his third or fourth lie, you need to admit that the car is a lemon. Even if you really, really want it to be a creampuff. If it was a creampuff, he wouldn’t be lying like that.

  11. But also lesser. And in the real world, the least bad option is the one to go with.

    RC, it has been 182 days since the Democrats came to power. The war has not ended. The Patriot Act remains in place. The Department of Homeland Security is still intact.

    That, my friend, is the real world that you describe as the least bad option. If the Democratic Party was serious about ending the war, it would be over.

    Sorry boys, I’ll stick with the loser LP. They ain’t getting elected but when the votes are all counted and the champagne is gone, you ain’t getting anything you want neither.

  12. Voting for the lesser of two evils is a false choice.

    There is a clear voting heuristic that offers a way out of the conundrum.

    Reason and Cato , among others, have offered the clearest support for this voting strategy.

    It is simple. It is easy to understand. It is practical.

    Just vote for divided government.

    Every time. All the time.

    It works.

  13. “””If the Democratic Party was serious about ending the war, it would be over.”””

    Not true at all. The Democrats do not have enough votes to override a veto. Haven’t you been paying attention?

    Don’t confuse the amount of power that the Republicans had when they owned 2 of 3 branches of government with the power the Democrats have now. The Dems are not that powerful right now, but more so than last year. It’s only a so-so improvement.

    Don’t believe the hype!!!

  14. I really thought this was a Mr. Weigel post.

  15. “completely lost faith in preventive war as a way of dealing with nuclear proliferation.”

    Well that just makes no sense. We’ve launched a preventive war against Iraq, and they don’t appear to have nuclear weapons, now do they?

    Seems to me it worked just great.

  16. I met Brink Lindsay at a Cato event in manhattan a while ago – nothing pleases me more than meeting another person named Brinck, even if his is in the barbaric German spelling rather than the self-evidently awesome Dutch.

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