This week the Washington Post gleefully reported that serious fault lines are developing among conservatives over President Bush's foreign policy. While I don't deny the president has been under strong criticism from the right and that significant disagreements exist among conservatives, the rifts are far from fatal.
The antiwar right has long since given up on Bush, but the Post is talking about attacks from so-called "neoconservatives," who, until recently, have been among Bush's staunchest supporters on the Iraq war.
Lately, however, they have criticized him for not being aggressive enough in Iraq and, more recently, toward Iran and North Korea. And they are upset by his guarded response to the attacks against Israel.
The Post, while delighted, seems perplexed by these divisions. It refers to this criticism of the administration "from its own side of the ideological spectrum" as "an odd irony for a president who has inflamed liberals and many allies around the world for what they see as an overly confrontational, go-it-alone approach."
It is not an "odd irony" at all. It's just that liberals have mischaracterized the president as an extreme, war-hungry imperialist, when, in fact, he is motivated not by any desire to expand America's global influence but a duty to safeguard our national interest.
Indeed, all of those who have glibly labeled President Bush a "neocon" or a puppet of the "neoconservative cabal," present company excluded, have egg on their faces. I've long said that President Bush didn't fit into that category. He attacked Iraq because he believed it to be a threat to our national interest, a menace to world peace and a habitual violator of its post-war treaties. He talked about the domino effect of a democratized Iraq as a collateral benefit of our deposing Saddam Hussein, but he never would have attacked it solely to spread democracy in the Middle East.
In fairness, neoconservatives would probably not be in favor of initiating wars against nations not perceived as posing any threat to America's interests either. But they do appear to favor a more aggressive approach toward countries they believe to be inevitable threats to the United States in the foreseeable future, like North Korea, Iran and perhaps Syria. And they tend to be more convinced of the inevitability of these threats. They also have less patience for diplomatic avenues, especially when these rogue states use "negotiations" to take us off guard while they proceed with further mischief.
Unhappily for the Post and other liberals, the differences between President Bush and neoconservatives are of degree rather than kind. They each share the same jaded perception of our enemies and have the same goals. Neoconservatives may be disenchanted with President Bush sometimes, but they will always support him against our enemies and never undermine our cause in this global war.
The same cannot be said of the antiwar left, which refuses to appreciate the depraved nature of our enemy and reserves its ire for President Bush. The strike against Israel should be a wakeup call for those oblivious to the terrorist mindset.
The left is always quick to excuse naked acts of terrorist aggression against Israel as morally equivalent to Israel's actions in defending itself. The terrorists and their sponsoring states greatly benefit from this moral and intellectual recklessness. For no matter how many times terrorists have proven that acts of appeasement -- such as ceding land for peace -- simply whet their appetite for further aggression in their quest to wipe Israel off the face of the map, the left continues to apologize for the aggressors.
The terrorists' primary motivation is their unmitigated anti-Semitism, a malignant force that has terrorized Jews for thousands of years. Earlier this week, I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and saw disturbing evidence of it.
Among the displays was a haunting reminder from General Dwight D. Eisenhower on April 15, 1945, as he recorded the horrors he witnessed at the Nazi concentration camps. Eisenhower wrote, "The things I saw beggar description … The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were … overpowering … I made the visit deliberately in order to be in a position to give firsthand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to 'propaganda.'"
One of the principal ringleaders against Israel today, Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is denying the Holocaust just as Eisenhower predicted, as he prepares to launch another one, and in the meantime feeds his fellow terrorists currently attacking Israel. Let us heed Eisenhower's sober warning and resist the tendency to charge these allegations merely to "propaganda."