Monday, March 12, 2007

Road to hell

Every weekday the Washington Post website hosts topical discussions between its readers and various reporters and guest commentators, with topics covering a wide range of subjects from politics and media to entertainment and sports.

The quality of the discussions vary widely with the subject matter and the reporter, and while some have a tendency to be a bit flip when questioned, most seem to be making an honest effort to address their given issues.

And occasionally the discussion can give rise to what might be called a moment of clarity.

Such a moment arose today in a discussion with Tony Smith, chair of the Tufts University political science department, regarding the various Democratic Iraq withdrawal plans being floated in DC.

Washington: For the first time in world history, a nation that supports the values of democracy, freedom, and liberty dominates the scene. My view is that we need to do everything we can to ensure that those values are promoted and accepted throughout the world. It seems to me that most Americans from both parties share that view. We will make some mistakes in aggressively promoting democratic values and fighting tyranny, but our mission is noble. Why do you disagree?

Tony Smith: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. That is, these noble sentiments can cause far more harm than good when they mask ulterior motives of a will to power, are self righteous and demean others. that is the problem with the Bush Doctrine in my opinion. [Emphasis mine - CK]

Now, if he'd added a little lecture on the law of unintended consequences he might have been echoing my own view of the disastrous Bush Doctrine.

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