Media Matters economist Duncan Black set off a mini-firestorm among lefty bloggers three weeks ago when he asked, after a few choice expletives “Why is there a foreign policy community?” The premise of that question is that, since so many of the experts, even on the left, argued passionately for intervening in Iraq and for continuing a failed strategy long after amateur pundits in the blogosphere had soured on the war, why should we take their expertise seriously? . . .

While there are several substantive issues within the debate that interest me, what is most striking is that the basic premise – that most foreign policy public intellectuals supported the Iraq War – didn’t comport at all with my recollection of the contemporaneous debate. During that period, I was working as the foreign affairs acquisitions editor for a D.C. area publishing house and reading the literature and attending conferences and think tank presentations on a constant basis.

I recalled a security policy community dominated by Realists were almost universally opposed to the war. . . . What’s striking, though, is how “business as usual” the article selection remained throughout the entire period. Entire issues went by without an article on Iraq or even the Middle East and most issues continued to have the standard mix of articles on Africa, the global economy, environmental issues, human rights, and so forth. Indeed, it might have escaped the attention of a casual observer glancing at the covers (which list the prominent articles in each issue) that the country was at war.

That’s okay. In a decade or two we’ll get a new revisionist history in which America was united against the threat, much like we’re hearing today about the Cold War.