I think we were right to attack the former Iraqi regime because:
• That Iraqi regime had a terribly unfriendly, oppressive, opaque, and scientifically skilled government with plenty of money.
• Modern technology gives any such government global reach f or terror of the most horrific variety.
• Unlike some regimes satisfying the first two, this regime was both located in a strategically significant region and was vulnerable—they were a soft spot to begin to attack a larger problem. (One should note that there is an available distinction between a “war for oil profits” (which doesn’t seem to be going on) and a “war over the globally significant control over energy resources” (which, in small part, does seem to be the case).
Game over. The risks of not r esponding to those conditions exceed the risks of responding, big-time. More than a decade was spent trying lesser responses than the current offensive and, at the policy level, our nation’s patience was exhausted and trumped by simple prudence.
As far a s I can tell—yes, the current administration played quite fast and loose with the truth in an effort to build political support for the war. Whose fault is that? I blame the Left who gave the administration no other option because of the Left’s predictable, consistent, and mindless (yet ruthless and tactically nasty) resistance to anything and everything that the Right might have put on the table. In our collective interest, the Right had to lie to the Left in order to save the asses of both the Left and Right.
To borrow a sentiment from Christopher Hitchens: “The Left” should be embracing and applauding this war since it is an efficient, responsible, and proactive answer to the oppression which the Left so relentlessly (and virtuously) criticizes. (Wasn’t it the Left who used to chant “up against the wall, M.F.”?) The Right’s calls for civility and their indignance at the Left’s response is entirely understandable in this light. Meanwhile, the Left’s tiring rehearsals of weak criticisms of the Right’s t actical deceptions along the way do little but give unexpected credence to rightist comments about “latte liberals.” Far, far, too much of the criticism from the Left seems to come from a sheltered, passive, and ultimately selfish perspective—not “progres sive” at all when seen that way.
Here are some suggestions for members of the Left who are unable to reconcile themselves to their recent political disadvantages: start volunteering. Volunteer for military service. Volunteer for “blue star” support services. Volunteer on homeland security issues. Volunteer on domestic economic issues. If the Left is to restore itself, politically, such grass-roots efforts are the surest foundation on which to build public support and I can not imagine a single non-petty reason why these would be bad ideas. Moreover, volunteerism will help to ground the Left back among “the people” about whom the Left generally claims to have such an important perspective.
Take your lumps, latte liberals, and move on. Wake up and get wit h program. Get on the march and embrace those values the Left and right have in common.
Tom Lord is a Berkeley resident.