Jonah Goldberg

Indeed, the notion that there is a single, authentic black perspective strikes me as fundamentally racist in its essentialism. And the idea that women adhere to a female logic unique to them strikes me as definitionally sexist. But the left doesn't care, because this perspective is indispensable for attacking "inauthentic" blacks or other supposed traitors. What was it that Harry Belafonte said the other week? That blacks who work for the Bush administration are, in effect, "house slaves," akin to the high-ranking Jews in the Hitler regime (never mind that no such Jews existed).

The chickenhawk charge is the misapplication of the same faulty logic. There are war heroes who oppose the war, and there are war heroes who supported it. John Keegan is the greatest living military historian, and he never saw a day of battle. George McGovern flew 35 combat missions in World War II. I'll take Keegan's guidance on military matters over McGovern's any day.

Recently, desperate Democrats championed the campaign of Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran running for Congress in Ohio, because he opposed the war and called the president an S.O.B. Just as others had done before with Wesley Clark and Max Cleland, Hackett's supporters suddenly declared that their hand-picked veteran had the indisputable, irrefutable moral authority to say what other anti-Bush liberals had been saying all along. But how does that make the content of those charges any more - or for that matter, less - accurate?

Maureen Dowd wrote of Sheehan in The New York Times this week that "the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute." This is either a sincere but meaningless platitude or it's a charge made in grotesquely bad faith. Surely Dowd recognizes that there are a great many mothers of fallen soldiers who believe the war was worthwhile. Is their moral authority absolute, too? If so, then moral authority can't really be very relevant to public debates. Or does Ms. Dowd claim that only those moms-of-the-fallen who say things critical of George Bush have absolute moral authority?

If that's the case, does Dowd truly believe - as Sheehan seems to - that this war was fought to line the pockets of Texas oilmen and to serve the interests of a treasonous Zionist cabal inside the United States? I think that's batty, and I'd need proof to believe it. Mrs. Sheehan's word isn't good enough for me on anything - save the fact that she loved her son.


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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