Looking back at it now, I see that in McCain’s October 11, 2002 Senate speech supporting the Iraq war resolution, he quoted Jeffrey Goldberg:
This is not just another Arab despot, not one of many tyrants who repress their people from within the confines of their countries. As New Yorker writer Jeffrey Goldberg, who recently traveled across northern Iraq, recently wrote in Slate:
There are, of course, many repugnant dictators in the world; a dozen or so in the Middle East alone. But Saddam Hussein is a figure of singular repugnance, and singular danger. To review: there is no dictator in power anywhere in the world who has, so far in his career, invaded two neighboring countries; fired ballistic missiles at the civilians of two other neighboring countries; tried to have assassinated an ex-president of the United States; harbored al Qaeda fugitives…; attacked civilians with chemical weapons; attacked the soldiers of an enemy with chemical weapons; conducted biological weapons experiments on human subjects; committed genocide; and… [weaponized] aflotoxin, a tool of mass murder and nothing else. I do not know how any thinking person could believe that Saddam Hussein is a run-of-the-mill dictator. No one else comes close… to matching his extraordinary and variegated record of malevolence.’
Here’s more of what Goldberg wrote in that specific Slate article:
There is not sufficient space…for me to refute some of the arguments made in Slate over the past week against intervention, arguments made, I have noticed, by people with limited experience in the Middle East (Their lack of experience causes them to reach the naive conclusion that an invasion of Iraq will cause America to be loathed in the Middle East, rather than respected)…
The administration is planning today to launch what many people would undoubtedly call a short-sighted and inexcusable act of aggression. In five years, however, I believe that the coming invasion of Iraq will be remembered as an act of profound morality.
Too bad McCain didn’t use that.
(Goldberg aficionados may also want to read a recent article by Spencer Ackerman about Goldberg and Stephen Hayes.)