Sunday, May 16, 2004

Trade Bush for Iraq?

Jonah Goldberg is another who, like me, would trade a George Bush defeat for an Iraq victory. He also points out some other sane people on the libera/Democratic side, and he points out the ridiculous double-standards of partisanship.

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 [Ted] 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?

And, for that matter, if Clinton's aviodance of military service in the Vietnam era was insufficient to disqualify him as a modern leader of America, why is Dubya's avoidance of combat duty (by a different route) suddenly so damning? John Kerry served ably and well, by most accounts. Yet it sounds like some Democrats this year have taken up the absurd and frightening notion that only a veteran can be a leader. If they thought for just a second about the long-term prospects of their party, they'd cut that line. But they have stopped thinking.

I didn't vote for G.W.B. the first time, and I don't know whether I will in November. Whatever I feel about him or his party is far outweighed by what I feel about the ability of sanity and civilization to defeat murderous fundamentalist religious cults, and the mission to rebuild Iraq. If those goals can be accomplished, I don't care whether Bush becomes the greatest president, or is dumped in history's dustbin.

Unfortunately, however, only one other option presents himself, and his comments so far do not incline me to think John Kerry is going to answer my purposes better than Bush. He still seems to favor the legalistic approach to fighting terror, which, as Andrew C. McCarthy demonstrates, doesn't work.