Jonah Goldberg

Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Kennedy's rhetoric makes him tantamount to a cheerleader for American defeat in Iraq. Last month, he chose the worst days of the insurgency as the perfect opportunity to declare Iraq "George Bush's Vietnam," which almost instantly became Muqtada al-Sadr's talking point. Since then, Kennedy has taken every opportunity to make the old adage about leaving politics at the water's edge into proverbial toilet paper.

Now, there are plenty of prominent liberals who do see winning the war as more important than hurting Bush, which is not to say they wouldn't cheer if Bush lost. My short, but not exhaustive, list includes: Sen. Joe Lieberman, the editors of The New Republic, Christopher Hitchens, the Washington Post editorial board, Michael Ignatieff, Tom Friedman, Sen. Zell Miller and a few others.

But when things go badly in Iraq, particularly in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal, there's a detectable, albeit restrained, glee from the likes of Kennedy and Paul Krugman of The New York Times and others.

Hundreds of liberals have e-mailed me saying, in effect, their partisanship is "payback" for how conservatives undermined President Clinton. There are two responses to this. First, shame on you. If you thought it was wrong to "undermine" Clinton during peacetime, why is it right to do it to Bush during a war?

Secondly, conservatives didn't commit the wrong Bush-haters claim. Many Republicans, as well as National Review, the Weekly Standard and The Wall Street Journal - the alleged trinity of Clinton-hating journalism - all supported Clinton on NAFTA, Yugoslavia and even on the "wag-the-dog" attacks in Iraq, Sudan and Afghanistan. After the famous Afghanistan and Sudan strikes, Newt Gingrich spoke for the GOP leadership when he said, "I think, based on what I know, that it was the right thing to do at the right time."

Marching against a president you oppose is fine. But it's not worth trampling American security to do it.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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