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David Horowitz - Columnist

David Horowitz is a noted author, commentator and columnist. His is the founder of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture and his opinions can be found at Front Page Magazine. [go to Horowitz index]


Liberals Hand Terrorists A Victory
The Vietnam syndrome continues...
[David Horowitz]

Our Islamic terrorist enemies have won several big victories in recent weeks in Iraq, thanks in no small part to the "liberal" wolf-pack and its leader John Kerry who have done their best to turn every American failure into an atrocity that discredits our cause. General Ricardo Sanchez signalled the American retreat on Friday by issuing new guidelines for interrogation in American prisons in Iraq. In the words of the New York Times, "the top American commander in Iraq has barred virtually all coercive interrogation practices, like forcing prisoners to crouch for long periods or depriving them of sleep." The purpose of these practices is to get information out of terrorists and jihadists that will save American and Iraqi lives. But no matter, these are less important objectives it seems than appeasing the outcries of those who don't want us to fight this war in the first place.

Of course insufferably self-righteous liberals will take no responsibility for the fact that they have worked relentlessly since the liberation of Baghdad to cripple our efforts in the war. Attacking the cost of the war, the fact that there is a war, the credibility of the commander-in-chief, and so forth. Invoking Vietnam, they have in fact divided America's home front on a scale approaching that of the Vietnam War, a division that forced our defeat. Of course they pretend to do this now (as they did then) out of patriotic zeal. They claim that because we are Americans we have to live by a higher standard, which to them means that we have to denounce ourselves in terms appropriate to regimes like Saddam Hussein's. Senator Kennedy has even described us as having "re-opened Saddam's prisons."

Well of course we have to live by a higher standard than the barbarians we are fighting (not to mention those Middle Eastern tyrannies who are criticizing us). And we obviously do. And that's why we don't need 35 investigations, a howling media, and a hysterical political opposition to take care of this mess. In fact, we were taking care of it quietly and effectively months before the media savages at "60 Minutes" blew the whistle on us to make a buck. (Or have I missed some higher purpose here?)

If we lived in a country like Saddam's Iraq, or Arafat's West Bank, or Assad's Syria, then this noise would be justified. Because these were and are monstrous regimes that have no respect for human life. As it happens we don't. We live in a country that sets the standard for the rest of the world. The purpose of the outcry then is not to get the Bush Administration to take care of an incident that involved one prison -- actually one section of one prison and a few idiots. Its purpose is to tar and feather the Bush Administration and the American cause in Iraq. And it has succeed.

Every frontal attack on the Bush Administration and the war on terror encourages our enemies and makes defeating them that much harder. Do liberals realize this? Of course they do? But they have self-exculpating logic that absolves them of responsibility for America's defeats. Do you wonder why no liberal has mentioned that this is Clinton's army lately? When our Special Forces, marines and elite army divisions were conducting the swiftest and most successful military operation in history, all the anti-military Democrats, with Nancy Pelosi at their head were boasting how this was "Clinton's Army." Conservatives had complained that Clinton had gutted and demoralized the military. Obviously they were wrong. In fact, as in Afghanistan, it was only a small part of Clinton's Army, largely that part that had been insulated from the intrusions of Clinton's politically correct busybodies in the civilian command. The Marines never signed on to the gender norming (and troop demoralizing) standards that the other services did -- standards whereby women didn't have to meet the same requirements as men to achieve the same status and rank. A small elite force -- apparently too small for the task in Iraq -- achieved those victories.

Clinton's Army -- the one that allowed the disaster at Abu Ghraib -- was in fact a product of liberal hatred of the military: severely downsized, politically corrected and disrespected. Is anyone asking why under-trained reserves have been put in charge of highly sensitive and dangerous prisons? Does anyone wonder at the fact that in the center of this sexual mess is a boyfriend-girlfriend team of under-trained reservists -- hamburger flippers one week, gods of a prison block the next?

Rumsfeld's small fighting force, which obviously contributed to this policy is itself the product of thirty years of liberal attacks on the American military and on America's overseas role as a defender of freedom. Kennedy and Kerry along with their political allies have conducted a relentless campaign against America and its world role since 1971, when both led the attack on America's last ditch effort to save the people of Cambodia and Vietnam from the slaughter that awaited them with a Communist victory. Neither man is even aware of the catastrophe his advocacy produced, let alone remorseful about it.

But it is a feature of the leftist outlook to never look back and never take responsibility for anything. Jimmy Carter (backed by Kerry and Kennedy) pulled the plug on the modernizing and feminist Shah of Iran. This betrayal gave Islamic terrorists their first big victory -- control of a large and wealthy Middle Eastern state. The Iranian revolution, which was praised by the world left at the time, directly inspired Osama bin Laden and all the other Islamic radicals from Palestine to Afghanistan to begin their jihad against the West. In this case, as in others, the left is oblivious to its misdeeds. Instead it blames America for the creation of Osama bin Laden because he was one of the mujahideen we trained to repel the Soviet invasion. But what else could America have done since a Democratic Congress made sure that we could not send American troops to do the job?

On Saturday I watched General Myers try to rally our forces in Iraq in the face of a divided home front and a world full of critics of America and appeasers of Islamic terror. He told them we will win in Iraq because of their unflagging spirit and because of "the basic goodness of America" which inspires them. It occurred to me that this is really what our political battles at home are all about. They are about those among us who believe in the basic goodness of America (and therefore don't need to have a national flagellation over an incident like Abu Ghraib). And those among us who don't have this fundamental belief, and who therefore in their heart of hearts really want us to lose. CRO

This opinion piece first appeared at by permission of David Horowitz.




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