Monday, June 19, 2006
Michael Barone seeks to explain why the Democrats have not been successful in elections against George Bush. HIs explanation in the end is that the Democrats have behaved badly. He may be right, but to me the more important point from his article is how strong a case he makes for the moral impropriety of the Democrats' behavior. Here is Barone's description:
A substantial part of the Democratic Party, some of its politicians and many of its loudest supporters do not want America to succeed in Iraq. So vitriolic and all-consuming is their hatred for George W. Bush that they skip right over the worthy goals we have been, with some considerable success, seeking there -- a democratic government, with guaranteed liberties for all, a vibrant free economy, respect for women -- and call this a war for oil, or for Halliburton.
Successes are discounted, setbacks are trumpeted, the level of American casualties is treated as if it were comparable to those in Vietnam or World War II. Allegations of American misdeeds are repeated over and over; the work of reconstruction and aid of American military personnel and civilians is ignored.
In all this they have been aided and abetted by large elements of the press. The struggle in Iraq has been portrayed as a story of endless and increasing violence. Stories of success and heroism tend to go unreported. Reporters in Iraq deserve respect for their courage -- this has been an unusually deadly war for journalists, largely because they have been targeted by the terrorists. But unfortunately they and the Bush administration have not done a good job of letting us know that last pertinent fact.
We are in an asymmetrical struggle with vicious enemies who slaughter civilians and bystanders and journalists without any regard for the laws of war. But too often we and our enemies are portrayed as moral equivalents. One or two instances of American misconduct are found equal in the balance to a consistent and premeditated campaign of barbarism.
Sadly, this description of the moral impropriety and, in some cases, the moral depravity of those on the left is on the mark. Now, I am not saying that these people should be put in jail. But that does not mean we need to respect their views or character.
So I am not misunderstood: I am not saying that all critics of the war or the Bush Administration fall into this camp. There are many legitimate criticisms of the war. But such legitimate criticisms do not include rooting for the other side -- including rooting that one does internally but does not admit to most other people.
There was plenty of this during the Cold War, which was reprehensible enough, but at least those people had convinced themselves that communism was not really bad. Few on the left believe that Islamo Facism is desirable.