Liberals Hate Evil — But Hate Bush More
Kevin Drum quotes from Peter Beinart’s new book:
A November 2005 M.I.T. study…found that only 59 percent of Democrats — as opposed to 94 percent of Republicans — still approved of America’s decision to invade Afghanistan. And only 57 percent of Democrats — as opposed to 95 percent of Republicans — supported using U.S. troops to “destroy a terrorist camp.” George W. Bush, in other words, has used the war on terror to cover such a multitude of sins that for many liberals the whole idea of focusing the nation’s energies on defeating global jihad (whether you call that effort the “war on terror” or something else) has fallen into disrepute. Just as Vietnam turned liberals against the cold war, Iraq has now turned them against the war on terror.
Drum concedes, “Now, maybe he’s right about this. I don’t think the evidence is quite as damning as Beinart makes it out to be, but poll after poll makes it clear that at the very least the war on terror doesn’t rank very high on the list of things liberals care about these days.”
So, what’s the problem? Well, one can’t simultaneously speak out against the evils President Bush rails against, be they terrorists or Iranian mullahs, without aiding and abeting Bush’s cause:
[L]ike it or not, my words — and those of other liberals — would end up being used to advance George Bush’s distinctly illiberal ends. And I’m simply not willing to be a pawn in the Bush administration’s latest marketing campaign.
I don’t have a very good answer for this dilemma. And I’m not very happy about it.
While I understand the point, the solution strikes me as tantamount to cutting off one’s penis to prove one’s fidelity.
Isn’t there a middle ground solution, whereby one simultaneously agrees with the president that nuclear armed crazies is unacceptable and points out that military action is unlikely to solve the problem? Or that, while a democratic Iraq is a laudable goal, military force is a poor way of achieving it? Or that destroying terrorist camps is a worthwhile application of military force but that extreme care must be taken to avoid killing innocents and thus creating more recruits for the terrorists?