Gustav Seibt wrote about German intellectuals who supported the Iraq war. Sign and Sight provides a translation of his Sueddeutsche Zeitung article from February 2007:
The motivations behind the powerful intellectual support of the war should be analysed in retrospect, and not only because the hopes that were invested in the Iraq War were so disastrously disappointed. We should be concerned, for one, with monitoring the success rate of our prognoses but more importantly, with exploring the argumentative basis of our war confidence in the West. Only then will the "war of ideas" between the Western public and the Islamic world that the essayist Paul Berman been demanding since 2001, seriously begin.Andrew Hammel makes an observation concerning Seibt's article in German Joys, which I believe is true for many debates:
It's already started, here and there – even though it's a particularly internal conversation in the West, for example on the Internet site www.perlentaucher.de, where a noteworthy debate (English version here) on universalism and multiculturalism has been waged in the last few weeks, to which Ian Buruma, Timothy Garton Ash, Pascal Bruckner and Necla Kelek have contributed. But the discussion is concerned principally with the inner constitution of a liberal society, and not the civilisational conflict between the West and the entire Islamic world that the Iraq War has plunged us into, whether we like it or not.
But in this field in particular, the rubble of the Iraq War has to be cleared away before we can carry on with a modicum of credibility. Nobody should take pleasure in the fact that authors like Wolf Biermann and György Konrad, essayists like Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Hans-Ulrich Gumbrecht and Karl-Otto Hondrich, "liberal hawks" like Paul Berman and Michael Ignatieff, and even considered observers like Ralph Dahrendorf and Herfried Münkler were wrong on so many counts. In fact, many of those named, and Konrad and Gumbrecht in particular, should be credited for admitting their mistakes. (...)
Defeats are known to give rise to reflection, and lessons are best learned from stories that don't end the way we expected them to. A lesson from this recent history is, the more expansive the historical analogy, the more likely it is to be misleading. Another lesson is: little bits of conventional wisdom can be helpful. Two examples: If you're planning to occupy a large country, take a lot of troops. And if you're going to dissolve an army, be sure to keep the weapons and give the men work.
I noticed the same pattern as Seibt did. I think part of the explanation is that the hawkish intellectuals who supported the war engaged not with the serious critiques from war opponents, but with the goofy arguments of the weird left. They then built their case for war on a refutation of those silly arguments, rather than a carefully-reasoned argument why the war itself was necessary or desirable. "Because the anti-American, anti-Semitic wacko left is strongly against this war, and because I despise those people, the war must be a good idea. How can those people, whom I've spent my life criticizing, be right about anything?"