Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 23, 2002
WAR: David Brooks on the anti-war Left
David Brooks of The Weekly Standard has the definitive account of the anti-war Left's critical flaw -- its total abdication of responsibility for dealing with the actual threats at hand. There are too many gems in this piece to excerpt; here are just a few:
"When you read through the vast literature of the peace camp, you get the impression that Saddam Hussein is some distant, off-stage figure not immediately germane to matters at hand."
On the "Not In Our Names" advertisement taken out by a bunch of what Brooks charitably calls 'peaceniks':
"In the text of the ad, which runs to 15 paragraphs, Saddam Hussein is not mentioned. Weapons of mass destruction are not mentioned. The risks posed by terrorists and terror organizations are not mentioned. Instead there are vague sentiments . . . The entire exercise is a picture perfect example of moral exhibitionism, by a group of people decadently refusing even to acknowledge the difficulties and tradeoffs that confront those who actually have to make decisions about policy."
On Chomsky and his ilk: "Their supposed demons--Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Doug Feith, Donald Rumsfeld, and company--occupy their entire field of vision, so that there is no room for analysis of anything beyond, such as what is happening in the world. For the peace camp, all foreign affairs is local; contempt for and opposition to Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumsfeld, et al. is the driving passion. When they write about these figures it is with a burning zeal. But on the rare occasions when they write about Saddam, suddenly all passion drains away. Saddam is boring, but Wolfowitz tears at their soul. . . This is the dictionary definition of parochialism--the inability to consider the larger global threats because one is consumed by one's immediate domestic hatreds. This parochialism takes many forms, but all the branches of the opposition to the war in Iraq have one thing in common: Iraq is never the issue. Something else is always the issue."
One more, on the Dems: "Among some Democrats in Washington, a second form of parochialism has emerged. They see the Iraq conflict as a subplot within the midterm election campaigns. . . .What's fascinating about this wag-the-dog theory is what it reveals about the mentality of the people who float it. These are politicians (far from all of them Democrats) who have never cared about foreign affairs, have no history with the Cold War, have no interest in America's superpower role. One sometimes gets the sense that these people can't imagine how anybody could genuinely be more interested in matters of war and peace than in such issues as prescription drugs, Social Security, and Enron. If the president does pretend to care more about nuclear weapons and such, surely it must be a political tactic. For them, the important task is to get the discussion back to the subjects they care about, and which they think are politically advantageous. . . . The president must "make the case," many Democrats say, as if they are incapable of informing themselves about what is potentially one of the greatest threats to the United States. "
Read the whole thing. It's more than worth it.