Tuesday, July 04, 2006

ARTICLES OF FAITH Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) is fond of telling audiences that on Iraq, he's standing on principle.

But what principle is it?

Back in 2003, reasonable people disagreed about whether invading Iraq was a good idea. But Lieberman isn't in trouble with Connecticut Democrats because of his 2003 stance. He's in trouble for what he's been saying lately.

And for the questions he hasn't been answering.

In retrospect, was invading Iraq the most effective way for the United States to achieve its foreign policy goals? Has it been an effective use of our human, financial and political capital?

These are questions about the past--yes. But they're questions about Lieberman's current attitude toward the past.

And fundamentally, they're questions not about principle but judgment: Given Lieberman's original support for the war, does he have the intellectual objectivity to weight the war's costs and benefits? Or is his stance on a continued military presence in Iraq a product of stubbornness, immune to revision?

There's nothing in Lieberman's recent remarks to suggest he understands these concerns. It's hard to see him making any headway with his detractors on the left until he does.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.