Not so superior now.
The smug Jonah Goldberg at National Review is trying to put to bed the issues revolving around his bet concerning the state of Iraq. Two years ago Goldberg was bragging that his powers of observation are superior and he knows that the Iraq war will turn out just peachy. He bet critic Juan Cole that within two years most Americans and most Iraqis would admit that Caesar was right and the war was won and life is wonderful.
Two years have come. Nothing remotely like the prediction, based on Goldberg’s superior intellect, came to be. Of course he is unhappy because “various leftwing pests are clogging my email box” wanting to know what he is going to do about the issue. His out is that Cole declined the bet. Poor Jonah thinks the bet is the issue. Only tangentially. The issue is that he didn’t know what the hell he was talking about two years ago! He still doesn’t.
Now, in his statement on the issue, he merely alludes to a bet on Iraq’s future. Very nebulous. He doesn’t say what he specifically claimed would happen. That would be a bit humiliating. Oh, hell, Jonah deserves a good humiliation for being so pompous and superior in defense of King George and the new American empire.
I’ve already posted the content of the bet but since Jonah avoids any mention of what he actually said I’ll repeat it.
Let's make a bet. I predict that Iraq won't have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it. I'll bet $1,000 (which I can hardly spare right now).
Of course since I mentioned his foolish statement “my judgment is superior” then I must be one of those leftwing pests he speaks about. Never mind I believe in more free enterprise than he does. Never mind I believe in private property and limited government. (Well considering the authoritarians who pretend to be conservatives today maybe I am a leftwing pest. If so I hope the buzzing keeps Jonah and superior judgment awake at nights.)
Jonah's reply is indicative of the infestation that the Ann Coulters have brought to the conservative movement. Anyone who dares ask Jonah about his superior judgment is dismissed as a “leftwing pest”. Instead of substantive content you get claims that because one is a "liberal" (or whatever group they are hating at the moment) that anything they say is unimportant and worthy of dismissal. Of course once you do that then you don’t have to grapple with the facts.
Jonah pontificates how he intends to give to “war related” charities. What are war related charities? Do you buy grenades or bullets? And to be quite honest I have trouble equating war and charity at all. Jonah says he won’t give any more than he was going to give and he won’t tell anyone what he gives or to whom. That’s fine. He doesn’t have to.
But what I’m waiting for isn’t him just saying he would have lost the bet had Cole taken him up on it. I am waiting for him to retract his claim of having “superior judgment” and waiting for him to admit that he was about as wrong on Iraq as one can get. But the smugness that caused him to offer the bet is the same smugness that will prevent him from acknowledging that he was spectacularly, totally wrong about Iraq and the results, and that, on this issue, his judgment is not superior to Cole’s but inferior.
Photo: Illustrating the paradise Jonah predicted Iraq would be enjoying this week.