There is such a policy incoherence -- such a disconnect -- among the national brotherhood of Bush-haters that an objective observer might conclude that the throng could benefit from a little group therapy.
More to the point, given the particulars of his supporters' complaints against President Bush, it's difficult to see how John Kerry will make an intelligible case for his candidacy concerning Iraq if the time ever comes in the campaign when he is forced to do so. After all, it's not as though Senator Kerry has a plan to extricate us from what his multitudes regard as a quagmire.
Let me illustrate a bit of the confusion that clouds the lovable Bushophobes. On "Hannity and Colmes" Alan Colmes pointedly inquired of a Republican guest why a recent poll showed that some 92 percent of Iraqis viewed Americans as occupiers rather than liberators.
It appeared that Alan could barely contain his glee with this news and as if he were dying to say, "See, I told you they don't like us. And they shouldn't like us -- because we're imperialist pigs."
I'm not trying to pick on my friend Alan, who I assume was merely spouting his party's line. But let's look at what anti-Bush diva Maureen Dowd had to say in her New York Times column on this subject. Dowd wrote,
"If Americans needed any more confirmation that they're viewed as loathed occupiers, not beloved liberators, it came with the sad little spectacle of a hasty, heavily guarded hand-over that no Iraqi John Trumbell will memorialize in an oil painting of the Declaration of Iraqi Independence."
Is it just me, or is MoDo gloating at the prospect that America is not being well received in Iraq? Does her antipathy for Bush cause her actually to root for American adversity in Iraq -- to the point that she even finds negativity in our transfer of power to the Iraqi people? And speaking of disconnects, isn't it curious that Dowd is simultaneously denouncing both our "occupation" and our restoration of sovereignty to the Iraqis? Could therapy even help such a double-minded condition?
Beyond that, here's what I mean about the incoherence of the Bush-bashers. All of their complaints about Bush's Iraq policy, if addressed and remedied, wouldn't make the slightest difference in how we are perceived there.
Do you think the Iraqis care, for example, how many nations joined our coalition? Do you think it matters to them whether we allowed Saddam to violate 20 United Nations resolutions instead of 17? Do you think it matters to them whether we have located stockpiles of WMD? Do you think they would prefer to be oppressed by Saddam Hussein's regime?
Besides, do the anti-Bushers think polls of the Iraqi people should dictate our foreign policy? Even if the answer is yes (God forbid), do they believe the Iraqis would like us better if John Kerry were president?
Well, Kerry voted for the resolution to attack Iraq. And he has since stated, despite his schizophrenic failure to vote for the $87 billion supplemental appropriation for rebuilding Iraq and for our troops, "Whatever we thought of the Bush administration's decisions and mistakes -- especially in Iraq -- we now have a solemn obligation to complete the mission, in that country and in Afghanistan."
Indeed, Kerry has indicated that far from withdrawing he might expand the operation with more troops (preferably with more from our allies, presumably by using a gentler tone of voice in asking for their support).
But would the influx of more troops make the Iraqis view us less as occupiers? Of course not. As most reasonable people will concede, no nation relishes being occupied. So again we are entitled to ask, what is the relevance of the complaints of Kerry's supporters? Zilch, because if they succeed in electing Kerry, unless Kerry is fibbing, they'll just get more of the same.
One wonders whether they've really thought it through -- to the point of realizing that their own candidate has not promised to do anything appreciably different, prospectively, in Iraq.
Probably so. But to them, this isn't really about Iraq. Nor is it about the alleged discontentment of the Iraqi people, because if it were, they would be praising President Bush for liberating them from Saddam.
Nor is it about invading a sovereign nation without justification, for if it were, these same people would not have so unreservedly supported President Clinton's policy to take out Serbia's Slobo when he represented no conceivable threat to the United States.
What it is about is regime change, not in Iraq, but in the United States.