Jonah Goldberg

You may not remember this, but during the lead up to the Iraq war, lots of folks on the far right and left insisted that those in favor of war were acolytes of Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky in pursuit of a global "permanent revolution."

Now, I'm not going to get into all of that again here because I thought it was all a grab bag of asininity at the time and still do. So why dredge it up now?


You see, just as the notion that conservatives are driven by a desire to emulate the thinking of one Bolshevik theorist is starting to evaporate, a few conservatives - and a lot of liberals - are adopting the doctrine of another Bolshevik: V.I. Lenin.

In the May 11 New York Times, columnist (and friend) David Brooks - who was once considered a leading Trotsky-con - wrote an influential op-ed headlined, "For Iraqis to Win, the U.S. Must Lose." What Brooks meant by this was that Iraqi nationalism and pride required satisfaction. "To earn their own freedom, the Iraqis need a victory. And since it is too late for the Iraqis to have a victory over Saddam, it is imperative that they have a victory over us."

Brooks, who now says the war was based on a "childish fantasy," doesn't want a military defeat of the United States. But he does believe Iraqis need to feel like they've "beaten" the Americans. To that end he wants earlier elections in Iraq - as do I. This way, Iraqi politicians can attack us with words, instead of RPGs.

Successful Iraqi politicians will undoubtedly traffic in anti-American rhetoric to prove their independence from the occupiers. Indeed, just this week, Adnan Pachachi declined the Iraqi presidency precisely because, as a politician, he knew it would end his career (and maybe his life) if he was perceived as "Washington's man" in Iraq.

And of course the mainstream of the Democratic Party holds the position that a superior American foreign policy would be one where we started taking orders from the U.N. Security Council - a.k.a. France's microphone. Setbacks that make this outcome more likely are no doubt seen as progress to Ted Kennedy. In Britain and Europe this sort of thinking is commonplace among "enlightened" liberals who believe America must Frenchify its outlook.

Jonah Goldberg

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