Peter Beinart has been at The New Republic since 1999, where he is a journalist and editor-at-large. He is also a contributor to Time magazine and writes a monthly column for the Washington Post. Beinart graduated in 1993 from Yale University, where he was a member of the Yale Political Union. In 1995, he received his MA in international relations from Oxford University, which he attended on a Rhodes Scholarship. Critical of the Bush administration's handling of the war and its aftermath, Beinart was nonetheless a vocal supporter of the war itself, defending that position on the PBS show Buying The War, with Bill Moyers. However, in Beinart's book, The Good Fight: Why Liberals-and Only Liberals-Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again (2006), which he expanded from an essay as a guest scholar at The Brookings Institution, he renounced his position, claiming that if he'd known then what he knows now about the capitulation of the War on Terror, he wouldn't have supported it in the first place. Beinart is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Question: What were the surprises that came out of your Socrates experience?
Peter Beinart: I think it was striking to me the degree to which, although people didn’t feel that their lives have been personally changed by the Iraq war, they did felt that it changed their perception of their government, and of America’s role in the world; that those . . . that those changes . . . people felt those changes quite profoundly; that it . . . Even people who were mostly not involved in the political world professionally, that it had had a powerful impact on the way they see quite basic questions; not just American foreign policy in the Middle East, but more basic questions about what America should be doing in the world; what makes people in other societies tick; and how our own government operates.
Recorded on: 9/12/07