Our various reactions to the increased violence leading up to the elections in Iraq are instructive. All are equally horrified and saddened by the deaths of our troops, Iraqi nationals fighting for freedom and Iraq's officials, but some view these as a reason to quit, while others recognize it's why we must march on.
The suicide bombing massacre of our troops and Iraqi allies in Mosul, coupled with the assassination of three Iraqi election commission members in broad daylight on a Baghdad street this week were particularly gut wrenching. These are events that try men's souls.
Ironically, these attacks should strengthen our resolve by reminding us of the gravity of what is at stake. Yet, tragically, those who have been against the war from the outset believe they are vindicated with every American and Iraqi setback.
But remember this: The anti-war Left wasn't primarily opposed to the war against Iraq because we would have difficulty winning it -- though that is always one of their many uttered mantras. They were opposed ostensibly for moral -- or what they consider "moral" -- reasons.
Though it is difficult to follow their logic, they seemed to believe that Saddam Hussein represented no threat to the United States and hadn't directly participated in the 9-11 attacks against America, so there was no just cause to forcibly remove him from power.
Of course, they were also against going forward because they believed -- astonishingly -- that President Bush was motivated to benefit Halliburton and to steal Iraqi oil. Moreover, the moral arbiter of all moral arbiters, the United Nations -- and the ethically and culturally enlightened French and Germans -- believed that we ought to give sanctions one more chance (1,000 more times, if necessary) and continue the inspections, presumably until Saddam had amassed a robust nuclear arsenal with scores of ICBMs to deliver them.
For us to attack Iraq would be an egregious violation of international law, a criminal transgression against the secular Muslim tyrant's autonomy. Even the pathetic Iraqi people, the Left apparently believed, were basking in their ignorant, enslaved bliss and would reject us as invaders and occupiers rather than "greeting us as liberators."
At first I was repulsed by the Left's hackneyed Vietnam analogies, which they invoke every time our military suits up for any mission beyond a routine Meals on Wheels delivery. Now I realize there are parallels between the Vietnam era and today having nothing to do with quagmires, but with the Left's recurring refusal to champion freedom and democracy and their perverse attraction to evil regimes.
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