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Jonah Goldberg Agrees: The French Were Right

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On Sunday, January 14, I was waiting in the Reliable Sources' Green Room. I couldn't find a public listing of the other guests before I got there, so I was pleasantly surprised when Jonah Goldberg showed up. His segment preceded mine.

Jonah's segment finished, and I still had a few minutes before I was scheduled. As Jonah wiped the make-up off his face (yeah, I had to have some put on me too, so I'm not mocking him for it - though the thought of a chickenhawk wearing makeup is eminently mockable), I approached him and asked him if he knew of my blog, CallingAllWingnuts.com.

He was aware of its existence, but not intimately familiar with it. Well, I said, my blog specializes in confronting the right and if I let the opportunity to ask him a few questions pass me by, my readers would never forgive me.

I had my IPod recorder with me, but somehow it failed to turn on. We all know Jonah is an honest sort of fellow, though, so I'm sure there won't be any dispute.

I asked Jonah if I could put him on the record. He assented, and it was off to the races. The following is paraphrased and reasonably accurate (nothing is entirely pulled out thin air - the questions were all asked and answered in the spirit they are presented here).

Me: Jonah, can I put you on the record?

Jonah: Sure, sure...

Me: Great... Listen, something that has always bothered me is that I don't think there was ever any real honesty in the whole lead up to the war or at any point afterwards from this administration. I just don't understand why you folks afford them so much credibility, over and over again... For example, the war was sold premised largely on the idea that Saddam with WMD was an intolerable risk... that the nuclear threat, in particular, was impossible to ignore and required action...

Jonah: Yeah...

Me: But then when we took Iraq, it took us weeks to secure the largest known nuclear site, Tuwaitha, and in fact, by the time we got there, all the UN seals had been busted and the entire facility had been looted. Why didn't you folks on the right immediately begin to question your leadership? This was summer of 2003 - accountability then would have meant something...

Jonah: Well, I'm not intimately familiar with the details of that incident, but, it's war...

Me: Well, when we took Baghdad, we surrounded the oil ministry with over 50 tanks and had snipers stationed on every floor in order to keep it well protected - meanwhile the rest of Baghdad was looted - including the Ministry of Defense and Intelligence... Don't you think if the war was really about WMD, we might have been concerned about preserving records in those buildings? Why would we only protect the Oil Ministry?

Jonah: Well, I obviously wasn't a General in Baghdad and had nothing to do with war plans, so I can't really speak to the issues they faced. But I've been more than willing to say that there has been an incredible level of incompetence tolerated in the planning and waging of this war - that there are all sorts of choke points that could have and should have been managed better...

Me: Well, I'd begin that retrospective with the idea of going to war in the first place. I was one of the protesters in NYC in Feb 2003 - I knew we were going to war then and I knew it wasn't necessary. The French, for example, were advocating beefed up inspections. Now, I'm not sure exactly what they had in mind, but for me, that means you give the inspectors some serious military support - you give them a team of apaches, light armor and air support. They surprise whatever facility they want to inspect, demand entry within 15 minutes, and convey that the consequences of non-compliance would be that the facility would be bombed to dust. Either way, in the end, you would know if Saddam had WMD...

Jonah: Sure...

Me: And we wouldn't have 150,000 troops in an intractable situation...

Jonah: sure...

Me: So the French were right!

Jonah: Yeah, yeah...

Me: Wait a minute Jonah - I just want to repeat what I just said and remind you that you are on the record - I said the French were right... You agree...

Jonah: yeah, yeah, yeah, the French were right... but that was then...
...

Me: Wow... well thank you - this interview was really worth it!!