Friday, September 21, 2007


Liberal Helpings

Two commentaries today starkly highlight the truth of the old proverb, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” As long as you can give the benefit of the doubt as to the quality of the intentions of the Left, that is.

W. Thomas Smith Jr., writing at The Tank, takes note of Victor Davis Hanson’s taking note of how many veteran Jihadists have made their way to Iraq only to end up dead, and further observes:

War is all about finding, fixing, and destroying the enemy; and that often means maneuvering around him, thrusting, feinting, luring, forcing him to turn, withdraw, or perhaps move to a position that he believes is the best ground from which to engage us. When in fact, we have — by virtue of our own positioning — forced the enemy to that ground he wrongly believes is best-suited for him. That is exactly what we have accomplished (among other things) by invading Iraq.
The Left says we are in a quagmire in Iraq. For Heaven's sake, Al Qaeda is in a quagmire. AQ is suffering huge losses in that country, and it is having an enormous impact on their ability to wage war against us elsewhere in the world.

Smith likewise acknowledges what so many on the Left cannot, that Al Qaeda can’t afford to lose in Iraq, that the humiliation, ideological and moral bankruptcy revealed to the world with that defeat would be a disaster.

Which logically leads Smith, as it leads me and so many of my Veteran colleagues, beyond political disagreement to anger at an Opposition that is anything but loyal: not our country or the sacrifices of our armed services, and not even loyal to their erstwhile political allies:

No thanks to the gutless, propagandizing Left in this country, who I've now grown beyond the stages of simple intellectual disagreement. I'm now truly angry at them because they've hurt the American military effort in Iraq. They've constantly condemned it: Said it was a "failure," a "disaster," and "lost," even as Anbar was turning around (and we now see the success of Anbar is spreading to other provinces). They've mercilessly ridiculed the commander-in-chief. Accused the senior commander on the ground in Iraq of "betrayal." And attempted to publicly convict the rank-and-file riflemen — of whom Jack Murtha said killed innocent civilians in "cold blood" — prior to any charges being leveled against those riflemen in a case that is still being argued.

If it were the case that our enemies and our domestic opposition “merely” shared a common animus or political doctrines or isolated beliefs, that might be one thing. I suppose. But the fact of the matter is, the behavior, rhetoric, and misplaced anger of the war’s opponents has a far more tangible impact on how the war goes. Smith explains:

In that sense, the Left has stiffened the backbone of the enemy. Made him fight harder than he should have. Made him believe there is hope for his own success at driving us out of Iraq, when the enemy should ALWAYS be made to feel there is no hope of defeating the United States anywhere on earth.

I cannot understand how an American, no matter his politics, thinks it morally correct and justified to actively seek to cause demoralization and lack of will in the hearts and minds of America’s military in a time of war, whatever their personal view of that war. But for opposition demagoguery to embolden and encourage our enemies, isn’t that the very definition of treachery?

Grudgingly I accept that Progressives can be against the war on principle. No doubt, an enemy with guile will use anything at his disposal to win the PR war, and especially the otherwise legitimate criticisms and complaints of US internal politics. That Bin Laden and Ahmadinejad echo the rhetoric of domestic opponents of US Foreign Policy doesn’t make those opponents disloyal.

But there are times, surely, when the full expressions of logical thought and discourse from both our enemies and Progressives parallel what must be shared assumptions.

I’m not just talking about the obvious shared assumptions: the US is an imperial power, George Bush and Dick Cheney are fascist oppressors, and the US and our Zionist ally Israel want to wage genocidal war against all Muslims. Beyond those points of agreement, Progressives and Islamofascists share many of the same attachments to methods, goals, and beliefs.

Jeff Goldstein, writing at Protein Wisdom, makes a provocative case for the commonality of beliefs:

Who is the source of the following quote: “This is why I tell you: as you liberated yourselves before from the slavery of monks, kings and feudalism, you should liberate yourselves from the deception, shackles and attrition of the capitalist system.” Karl Marx? Hugo Chavez? Noam Chomsky? In fact, the words are Osama bin Laden’s, spoken on a video that appeared shortly before the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. The al Qaeda chief went on to denounce in great detail the excesses of unbridled capitalism and “global warming” before inviting all Americans to convert to Islam. Bin Laden offers some kind of “counter-globalization”: The security the Muslim Umma promises, the global village of all believers.

American progressivism — because we can’t see its “enlightened (though not “Enlightenment”) end point — does a better job of hiding its inexorable political denouement than does the bald and explicit totalitarianism of theocratic Islamism. But make no mistake: the kernel assumptions and sub-structural imperatives of the current “progressive” movement — the privileging of a given interpretive community in defining “truth” and “meaning”; a consensus, group-driven conception of “reason” and “authenticity”; a repudiation of individualism; a willingness to invert the concept of “free speech” until it becomes state-sanctioned speech; the re-framing of “tolerance” as punitive rather than accommodating — provide the preconditions for the kind of soft totalitarianism that western, transnational progressivism aims to erect as a governing paradigm.


None of which is to say that progressives believe themselves actively in cahoots with al Qaeda, of course. Nor are they, for the most part — though in practical effect, their political maneuvers have demonstrably aided the jihadists, enough so that bin Laden was willing to scold them for not following through on their political promises.

Rather, it is simply to point out that, philosophically, at least, there is a vast area of intellectual overlap between the foundational principles informing most every totalitarian movement — and that, to many Muslims, bin Ladenism is a form of “progressivism,” though when placed in the paradigm of Islamic thinking, that “progressivism” leads backward rather than forward (and so to western eyes appears reactionary rather than radical — one of the reasons, one can argue, that it is frequently tied to social conservatism). Still, it is a kind of reform movement aimed at the excesses of capitalism and western liberalism — a way to control the natural diversity of outcome brought about when freedom is allowed to govern in fact (instead of being worn like a friendly facade) — and in its core foundational assumptions finds common cause with other material manifestations of those same principles. (Via Instapundit)

I find this one thought persuasive, and intellectually disturbing: that radical Islamic “jihadism” (alt. bin Ladenism, Islamofascism) and “progressivism” as currently understood and practiced seek “a way to control the natural diversity of outcome brought about when freedom is allowed to govern in fact.”

Jihadist revolutionaries abhor Western culture and its libidinous and other social excesses, and thus want to squelch the freedom of society to sin against believers. They seek the purification of society through enforced religious observance.

Progressive activists abhor Western market forces and capitalist excesses, and thus want to deprive society of the liberty that allows these forces to sin against believers. They seek the purification of society through enforced secular observance.


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