Fighting "liberal prejudice"
One would think the term "liberal prejudice" would be an oxymoron--but then, one would be wrong. Liberals are hardly immune to prejudice, as this article, appearing, surprisingly, in The Guardian (courtesy LGF) concedes--that is, if the prejudice happens to be dislike of Bush and his merry band of neocons.
I applaud the author of the article, Max Hastings, as I applaud anyone who dares to consider giving credit where credit is due even if it might be due to someone he/she has been reviling lately. It takes courage to do this, especially if Hastings' fellow broad-minded liberals end up extending their "liberal prejudice" to Hastings himself.(* see below) It's been known to happen.
I can't say that Hastings doesn't flinch. He does; there are some hemmings and hawings and throat-clearings and caveats. But despite this (or perhaps because of it) he allows himself to get around to saying what needs to be said--which is that liberals should consider the possibility that Bush may have been right (in his hedgehoggy way) about certain "big things" in the Arab world and the Middle East:
....scepticism, however, should not prevent us from stepping back to reassess the progress of the Bush project, and satisfy ourselves that mere prejudice is not blinding us to the possibility that western liberals are wrong; that the Republicans' grand strategy is getting somewhere....
It seems wrong for either neocon true believers or liberal sceptics to rush to judgment. We of the latter persuasion must keep reciting the mantra: "We want Iraq to come right, even if this vindicates George Bush....
We must respect American power, and also acknowledge that the world sometimes has much need of it. As Sir Michael Howard, wisest of British strategic thinkers, often remarks: "If America does not do things, nobody else will."
* A caveat of my own is due here: after writing this, I decided to do a little research on the topic of the author. After all, although I am quite familiar with the ultra-liberal--even leftist, at times--slant of The Guardian, I really had no particular knowledge of the politics of Max Hastings. From the article itself, I assumed he was typically liberal (he certainly identifies himself as such), and had been against the Iraqi war from the start.
But when I started checking him out, it turns out that the situation got "curiouser and curiouser," as another Brit might say. It turns out Hastings is a far more complex figure than that. Here is Hastings himself, writing on the topic of his own views:
I am more instinctively supportive of institutions, less iconoclastic, than most of the people who write for the Guardian, never mind read it. I am a small "c" conservative...
So, Hastings seems to be more middle of the road in his political stance, having once been editor of the Telegraph, and also, apparently, having been an early supporter of the war. As best I can tell, he is the British equivalent of Andrew Sullivan--neither stylistically nor sexually, that is, but in terms of a hyper-reactivity and changeability on the war when the going got rough. British journalism and journalists is a topic that is way way way outside any area of expertise I might be said to have, of course. But I still decided to publish this post, as an object lesson in the principle "things are usually not quite exactly as they seem at first glance," and because I am impressed by Hastings's (or anyone's, for that matter) ability to say "Perhaps I was wrong."