July 27, 2005
Holding the Left to AccountBy Rachel Neuwirth
In the ideological civil war in America, the Left can only play the role of cynical spoiler, while conservatives continue to bungle and cannot even pose key questions to expose the hypocrisy and weaknesses of leftist positions.
It seems that the political Left in America senses an enhanced opportunity and is mobilizing to drive President Bush from office and, in effect, overturn the last presidential election. Their battle cry has long been 'there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and Bush misled the country into an unnecessary war.' They cite the 'Downing Street memo' and now feel that the affair involving presidential advisor Karl Rove, and the leaking of confidential information, presents another exploitable opportunity to pile on the pressure.
The political Left presents itself as only seeking the full truth in pursuit of the national interest. If that is true, leftists must now explain their revealing lack of interest in pursuing the following:
1. What was Saddam hiding in his extensive efforts to mislead the U.N. inspectors?
Even early on, the absence of evidence was not 'evidence of absence' of a terrorist connection.
Citing these points is not intended as a defense of President Bush and his actions. His failures include bungling of the war effort and a double standard in opposing terrorism. These issues have been addressed in previous articles.
The purpose of this article is to expose the logical inconsistency of leftist arguments and their moral hypocrisy. The Left and other opponents of the war claim the alleged absence of WMDs was sufficient to oppose the war.
Presumably the slaughter of hundreds of thousands, Saddam's ongoing deceptiveness and his defiance of Security Council resolutions, the failure of U.N. sanctions with the failed Oil for Food Program, and the general breakdown of the rule of law and of collective security did not provide sufficient reason, in leftist minds, to topple Saddam Hussein.
When leftists offer their single reason for opposing the war—absence of WMDs—it is reasonable to expect that they would have supported the war if WMDs were present, or at least not opposed it.
Proponents of the war make a huge blunder in not confronting the war's opponents with this question which would be a no—win situation for the anti—war Left. If the Left says it would still oppose the war, even with WMDs present, then its current argument is exposed as fraudulent. To avoid such an embarrassment, leftists would have to say that, had WMDs been present, they would not have opposed the war.
They should also have been confronted with the question of whether they were ever willing to actively support the disarming of a rogue regime with WMDs or would they only remain passive while others went to war to disarm Saddam? Leftists love to play critic to their opponents but are they reluctant to take responsibility and then be held accountable for their own actions.
At least by inference it can be argued that the Left would not oppose disarming rogue regimes possessing WMDs. The Left should then be compelled to take a stand on two other rogue regimes that support terror and which are certainly acquiring WMDs:
The first is North Korea. It was Jimmy Carter, representing Bill Clinton, who negotiated a deal with North Korea years ago. The U.S. furnished food aid, oil, and the technology for building nuclear power reactors. In return, North Korea promised to refrain from seeking nuclear weapons. This is an example of the diplomatic approach often advocated by the Left as the proper way to resolve the issue. We now see that North Korea violated that agreement, is now reported to have a number of nuclear weapons and to be building more. It is developing a variety of missiles and has exported some to countries in the Middle East.
Acquiring nuclear reactors intended for commercial energy applications can become a stepping stone toward producing nuclear weapons. In hindsight, however, it appears that North Korea intended all along to cheat, and that the Clinton—Carter scheme was very naive and even contributed to North Korea acquiring nuclear weapons.
The second rogue regime is Iran, a promoter of international terrorism which is well along the path to acquiring nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. The West has offered Iran many incentives to give up its nuclear weapons program. Iran's leaders have clearly stated, however, that no incentive and no threat will deter them from pursuing their right to develop nuclear technology. Intelligence reports in fact indicate that Iran is pursuing nuclear capability with great determination and on a massive scale.
The Left cannot argue its 'no WMDs, no war' claim in the case of North Korea or Iran. Nor can leftists claim that these are not rogue regimes and growing threats to peace and stability. It is astonishing that Bush's conservative supporters have failed to challenge the Left to take a stand on North Korea and Iran and to come up with their own strategy for dealing with these major threats. The Left would likely argue for more diplomacy; but diplomacy was tried and failed totally with North Korea, and it is failing with Iran.