It seems that there are many on the left who want Bush to lose in Iraq. “The United States needs to lose the war in Iraq as soon as possible,” Gwyne Dyer writes in a recent book. Michael Moore claims that “the Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘the enemy.’ They are the Revolution, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow—and they will win.”
Moore may be right, but what’s striking is that he appears to be cheering them on. He is not unique in his sentiments. “I have a confession,” Gary Kamiya wrote on salon.com after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. “I have at times secretly wished for things to go wrong, wished for the Iraqis to resist longer. Wished for the Arab world to rise up in rage.”
Indeed there are many on the left who seem to hope and work for the war in Iraq to end in dismal failure. Susan Watkins, editor of the New Left Review, affirms that “U.S.-led forces have no business in Iraq” and “the Iraqi people have every right to drive them out.” Political scientist Robert Jensen argues that the U.S. is losing the war in Iraq “and that’s a good thing. I welcome the U.S. defeat.” Sentiments such as this have been expressed by leftists like Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and Markos Moulitsas.
If you assume that these people want the war on terror to succeed, their rhetoric and actions become incomprehensible. If you assume they’re on the side of Bin Laden and the insurgents, their actions make perfect sense. And while the left was at one time far removed from the corridors of power, its activists are now whispering daily into the ears of Pelosi, Murtha, Rangel and Kennedy. And since the left has the activists and the money, it is influential enough to force the Democratic presidential hopefuls into a competition to see who can do the most to block Bush’s war on terror and engineer the most rapid retreat from Iraq.
But in a deeper sense, the behavior of the left and its political allies is a mystery. After all, the Islamic radicals are the most illiberal forces in the world. At least the socialists and the communists claimed to speak for liberal values, such as sexual and economic egalitarianism. It’s understandable why misguided college students might go around sporting Che Guevara T-shirts. But even American leftists don’t go around with Bin Laden or Khomeini T-shirts. Leftists know how the Bin Laden and Khomeini types feel about Hillary Clinton and Barney Frank. So why doesn’t the left want to fight the broadest and most aggressive campaign possible against a sworn enemy of liberal values?