In 16 words.
"Some people were critics of the war for negative political reasons. Hagel was a positive critic."
-- David Brooks, 01/09/13
Here is Mr. Brooks' entire quote. Note the clear, bright line with which Mr. Brooks divides the world into those with "courage" -- Chuck Hagel, Republican -- and Dirty Fucking Hippies who opposed the war merely for "negative political reasons" and who rudely used Chuck Hagel's opposition to "bash Republicans in newspaper ads."
Some people were critics of the war for negative political reasons. Hagel was a positive critic. Generally speaking, he was offering advice on how to make things better. Plus, he showed some courage. There is nothing harder than being unpopular in your own workplace. By the end of this period, Hagel had taken some positions that put him out of step with the Bush administration. Liberal groups were using his picture and his quotations to bash Republicans in newspaper ads. I went to see him one morning when full page ads appeared in The Times and The Post. He was pained, because he knew his colleagues were hating him at that moment, but he really was putting the interests of the troops first, at least as he saw them.
No, Mr. Brooks, only someone who has spent his entire career getting high huffing the last sweaty phonemes of Conservative jargon out of Bill Buckley's underpants and then jotting down his vision-quest ruminations for a living could possible believe that "[t]here is nothing harder than being unpopular in your own workplace."
Some things that are harder than being unpopular in your own workplace?
- Seeing your friends die in a war that people like you lied us into and then botched.
- Losing your job and your life's savings because the Great Republican Recession destroyed the economy.
- Losing your home because you lost your job and your life's savings in the Great Republican Recession.
- Going bankrupt because the expenses from a single a accident or illness wiped your family out thanks to decades of intractable Republican opposition to civilized health care reform.
- Finding out after you've been raped that the Jesus Party in the state where you live has made it virtually impossible to get an abortion under their new "Well, slut, that's just too fucking bad isn't it?" law.
It's actually a very long list with which you the reader are probably all too familiar and which, in any event, isn't even the real point.
The real point is, considering Mr. Brooks' long, ugly and very public record on Iraq -- and every other public policy issue for the last 30 years -- , you'd think that re-litigating the question of who was right and who was a crass, careerist, armchair warpimp who used saber-rattling, demagoguery and good, old-fashioned bullshit-slinging to land himself a job-for-life at the "New York Times" is something that Mr. Brooks would instinctively shy away from.
Then again, since Mr. Brooks has obviously figured out precise combination of flattery, extortion and fealty to the Big "Both Sides Do It" Lie necessary to keep him so popular at his workplace that the entire Beltway Establishment has agreed to never bringing up his deeply inconvenient past, I guess he has very little to fear from the actual realities of his actual past.