The Moose urges moral clarity in the war against terrorism.
As a result of the political polarization stemming from the Iraq war, some have forgotten what the over-all war against terror is all about. It is the Moose's view that ultimately a confrontation with Saddam was unavoidable. In 1998, President Clinton almost came to a large scale military confrontation with Iraq. Even a President Dean would have eventually had to come to terms with Iraq that continued to challenge the post-Gulf War restrictions. After 9/11, no American President would have tolerated Saddam's behavior.
Granted, Bush went to war in the worst possible way with an unilateral arrogance and completely unprepared for the aftermath. Moreover, his Administration failed to come to terms with the errors of the occupation and significantly change course.
Clearly, however, opponents of the war have reason to believe that many of their misgivings were justified. After all, no weapons of mass destruction were found. But for many of the progressive proponents of regime change, WMD was not the central reason - there were other humanitarian and strategic justifications to not allow Saddam to remain in power.
Whatever one's position on the wisdom of Iraq regime change, there should be a general consensus that there remains a jihadist threat. That threat existed before the Iraq intervention and before 9/11. It existed before the Bush Administration. And this jihadist threat is contrary to all that progressives hold dear.
Stanley Crouch eloquently made that case yesterday in the New York Daily News. Crouch wrote,
"The recent terror attack in London should help Americans see much more clearly and understand much better what we are up against. This clarity is not impossible: The 19th and 20th centuries provided us with enough religious and political wars to perceive what happens when the idea of individual rights has no sanctity within a system...
"This is a war all right, but it is most deeply a war of ideas in much the same way that World War II was. However twisted up it might be by oil, a Palestinian homeland and other considerations, this is a conflict between civilization and barbarism, and those who do not understand that are truly fools."
And Christopher Hitchens also made this point,
"We know very well what the "grievances" of the jihadists are. The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy, which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London. The grievance of the existence of black African Muslim farmers, who won't abandon lands in Darfur. The grievance of the existence of homosexuals. The grievance of music, and of most representational art. The grievance of the existence of Hinduism. The grievance of East Timor's liberation from Indonesian rule. All of these have been proclaimed as a license to kill infidels or apostates, or anyone who just gets in the way."
Let us not succumb to the liberalism of fools. Yes, we should oppose the mendacity of the Bush Administration. It is outrageous that during this war this President has called on soldiers to make all the sacrifices while he has rewarded the most comfortable in this society. And the "flypaper" theory is absurd. Whatever the merits of the Iraq war, the front against the jihadists is not limited to one country - it is literally in the streets of virtually every nation.
Let us not lose sight of the real enemy which seeks to attack all that progressives hold dear in a free society. A progressive leader who understands this challenge is the British Prime Minister and that is why the Moose is a proud "Blair Democrat."
Crouch rightly described the choice - barbarism or civilization. --