So far, I've had five pieces of non-comment-box correspondence about the “Oliver Kamm Is Getting Sloppy” post.
One, from a non-partisan US voter, might best be summed up as “ouch”. To which my answer is: if Oliver Kamm wants to go around beating up the idiots in school, he'll have to deal with it when the class clown points out that Oliver's forgotten to put his trousers on.
An instinctive Bushie wrote to say nice things about the post and agree with its main point. She also expressed disappointment that the original piece in The Times did nothing to back her instincts with any worthwhile argument. To which my answer is: I feel your pain—but I don't share it.
Yesterday morning, a Kerry supporter wrote to express his disappointment that I didn't make the case for Kerry, and, in his email, made a reasonably good case himself. He subsequently wrote to make a kind, but completely unneeded, apology for his earlier message. I must answer his question of why I haven't declared for the challenger.
I believe that, if I were an American citizen, I would probably vote for Kerry—with reservations.I believe that the presidential race will not be as close as it looks now, and that Kerry will win it. (Even Mark Steyn has been reduced to saying in an uncharacteristically pleading way “I still think Bush will win” [free and worthwhile registration]) I believe much of what I wish Kerry hadn't said during this campaign can be dismissed as posturing. I believe that the Right-leaning 'Blogosphere writes a lot of shit about Kerry. (You only have to go back to the intern-story-that-wasn't to see how things were going to run on the Web and the old media.)
Would I be able to defend these beliefs in open debate? No. So I'm not going to tell my American readers how to vote. I'm just going to hope you don't make fools of yourselves exercising your right to do so.
I would also like to make a clarification in the light of GSTQ's gracious response. I apologize in advance for doubling up my tenses, but I want to make sure everyone understands that I was wise both before and after the event and I will continue to be wise, even if a loaded, second-hand Minuteman silo is found hidden under Saddam's empty Winnebago. [Hey, kids, check out the Cold War theme park!]
I did not and do not discount all arguments for war on Saddam relating to WMD. My problem was and is with certain logically flawed constructions and the unjustified confidence with which certain people built on them. I have been a longstanding supporter of pre-emptive, humanitarian military action. Members of the anti-war lobbies have re-written history to exaggerate the importance of WMD arguments in public justifications of intervention in Iraq, but many in the pro-war lobbies offered the “Stoppers” easy points by failing to look at parts of their own case as critically as they did aspects of their opponents'. Ironically, one of the main reasons for this was that their opponents failed to see those real weaknesses themselves. This saddens me because it has made it that much harder for us to do the right thing in the future.
The fifth email said “Thank you”. It wasn't from Oliver Kamm.
And finally, on the subject of the rigorous and mature discussion of WMD and the Iraq war, I would like to take this opportunity to say “Wankers!“