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Selling the War
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I watched the season premiere of Bill Maher's Real Time on HBO this weekend. He pretty much pandered to Wesley Clark in the one-on-one interview, while telling Al Sharpton to "shut up" during the round table, and also muttering "you won't be elected anyway" at one point. Pure class.

Ron Silver tried to commandeer the roundtable discussion by reading hawkish statements by Bill Clinton on Saddam Hussein, and I don't think his frantic seriousness won anybody over. Still, he brought up a point that I've been trying to make recently: That on humanitarian grounds alone, the Iraq War is far more justified than our intervention in Bosnia.

Bill Maher and Al Sharpton both immediately objected that "it wasn't sold to us that way". And Ron Silver said, "What do you care about PR?"

Both sides have some problems here. First of all, PR does matter, and it does matter how the President presents the case for war. It's not irrelevant. And the President and his cabinet, although repeatedly mentioning the humanitarian case, stressed the threat aspect.

But there's nothing intellectually disingenuous about criticizing the stress of the case for the war while supporting the war itself (as many of the liberal hawks in last week's roundtable showed).

No, Maher and Sharpton and many, many on the Left have the much more morally and intellectually bankrupt position here, if there argument is simply, "It wasn't sold to us that way."

This implies that perhaps you are simply too stupid to make a determination about the justifications for the war on your own, that you are incapable of analyzing facts and history beyond what comes out of the Administration's mouth. Is that really what Sharpton and Maher, and so many others, are saying? If so, it makes them look like utter fools.

I feel like I probably already know the answer to this question, but I'm interested in seeing some of the responses. Please try to be intellectually honest here. Knowing that Hussein was far worse in terms of genocidal behavior and gross violations of human rights than Milosevic:

If the Bush Administration had sold the war primarily on humanitarian grounds, would you have supported it?

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