Man they dont call

Man, they don’t call ’em hawks for nutin’!

The Weekly Standard has two pieces this week — one scrapbook item and one article by Stephen Hayes — both aimed squarely at The New Republic’s article by Spencer Ackerman and John Judis.

Hayes’ piece is a systematic attempt to refute Ackerman’s and Judis’ catologue of the various misrepresentations, distortions, and outright lies the Bush administration put out in the lead-up to the war with Iraq.

First, let’s stipulate that I find Hayes’ refutation, well, let’s say singularly unconvincing — particularly so on the bogus Niger uranium documents (we may get more into this later.)

But this factual disagreement isn’t my primary concern here. I’ve made my own views on this point clear enough. Read both pieces and decide for yourself.

The key is Hayes’ description of TNR as “previously hawkish” on Iraq. (The scrapbook item makes the same point.) But TNR joined their publication of the Ackerman/Judis piece with an editorial deploring the administration’s misrepresentations but still supporting the war, albeit much less on the basis of some of the more outlandish WMD claims.

Does this count for TNR being “previously hawkish.” I know Judis never favored the Iraq war — a fact that put him somewhat at odds with the editorial line of the magazine, which has been consistently pro-war.

Now, generally speaking, being a ‘hawk’ in whatever context means being a hardliner, a maximalist, someone who’s not afraid of throwing their weight around and getting the job done — someone who won’t get squeamish or put up with any shilly-shallying. In short, it means being tough.

In this case, according the Weekly Standard, to be an Iraq hawk you have to a) support the war before shooting started b) support the war after the shooting ended and c) keep sitting still for the administration’s agitprop even when much of it’s being exposed as gross exaggerations, manipulations or outright lies on a more or less daily basis.

That’s tough. Real tough.

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