Shuggy posts a characteristically lucid and on-target response to Johann Hari. I won't attempt to summarize it; I simply commend it to your attention. I do, however, want to comment on one point that Shuggy mentions. This is Johann's 'amused' riposte to my having 'accused [him] of being "religious"'.
Talk about getting the wrong end of the stick. Apart from the fact that being religious is not something I would 'accuse' anyone of since I don't regard it as either a crime or a misdemeanour, my reason for focusing on Johann's talk of recantation was to get at something that is not a uniquely religious phenomenon but commonly found amongst the non-religious as well when attached to ideas of doctrinal purity and correctness. That is why I drew attention to a sorry aspect of the past of the left:
Of course, it may be said that all Johann means by 'recantation' is change of mind. But the word has, whether he likes it or not, religious connotations, as well as sordid associations with the history of the left. It evokes the taint of heresy and of wanting to be saved; it evokes humiliating rituals of self-criticism - comrade.Just something to think about. Within the anti-war camp there was always a distinction between those who, disagreeing with supporters of the war, nonetheless recognized that we had serious reasons for our support, and others who were quickly ready with the language of excommunication and apostasy. Likewise now amongst those who have come to regret their support for the war.