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Monday, December 01, 2003

Posted by Jake
Op-Ed Columnist: The Chant Not Heard

Believe me, being a liberal on every issue other than this war, I have great sympathy for where the left is coming from. And if I didn't, my wife would remind me. It would be a lot easier for the left to engage in a little postwar reconsideration if it saw even an ounce of reflection, contrition or self-criticism coming from the conservatives, such as Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, who drove this war, yet so bungled its aftermath and so misjudged the complexity of postwar Iraq. Moreover, the Bush team is such a partisan, ideological, nonhealing administration that many liberals just want to punch its lights out — which is what the Howard Dean phenomenon is all about.

But here's why the left needs to get beyond its opposition to the war and start pitching in with its own ideas and moral support to try to make lemons into lemonade in Baghdad:

First, even though the Bush team came to this theme late in the day, this war is the most important liberal, revolutionary U.S. democracy-building project since the Marshall Plan. The primary focus of U.S. forces in Iraq today is erecting a decent, legitimate, tolerant, pluralistic representative government from the ground up. I don't know if we can pull this off. We got off to an unnecessarily bad start. But it is one of the noblest things this country has ever attempted abroad and it is a moral and strategic imperative that we give it our best shot.

...

For my money, the right liberal approach to Iraq is to say: We can do it better. Which is why the sign I most hungered to see in London was, "Thanks, Mr. Bush. We'll take it from here."


Hey, Tom, I am happy to agree with your sentiment that this is a big deal, but here is my response to your little piece: F&*@# off you condescending bastard!

If we were letting you run things we would still be debating bureaucratic nonsense in the UN while Iraqi children were starving to death. You needed Bush to do this thing because you don't have the balls to confront the people who were trying to screw us to stop it.

And don't give me that "we could have done a better job" crap. Everyone involved with this knew that it would be difficult, and they recognize that it remains difficult. But it is piece of truly liberal condescension to suggest that only administrations run by Texans are plagued by bureaucratic infighting or by foriegn policy setbacks. France, Germany, and Syria would have been just as intrasigent to our thwarting their interests if Gore had been in office.


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