The Left's Flip on the Evil of Genocide

Rick Moran
In one of the more bizarre signs that the Democrat's position on a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq is grounded in little more than political expediency and not the national interest, Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times highlights the left's 180 degree flip on how genocide must be prevented at all costs:
But what of liberal credibility? In the 1990s, amid all of the debates about Haiti, Somalia, Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the broad outline of the debate had conservatives advocating a narrower definition of the national interest while liberals argued -- and I often agreed with them -- for a more expansive one that included a heavy dose of moralism. Finally, liberals seemed to have shaken off the Vietnam syndrome and embraced an overly optimistic but benign foreign policy of nation-building and do-goodery.

Conservatives are at least still arguing about the national interest -- but they're also the ones touting the moral imperative of preventing genocide and even the need for nation-building. Where is the principle in the hash of liberal foreign policy today? How does liberalism recover? If you can justify causing genocide in order to end a nation-building exercise that -- unlike similar efforts elsewhere -- is fundamentally linked to our national interest, then how can you ever return to arguing that we should get into the nation-building and genocide-stopping business when it's explicitly not in our interest?
Goldberg points out that Barak Obama has called for increased troops in Darfur and has suggested that perhaps NATO should deploy to that bloody region. Nearly every expert is predicting catastrophe if we draw down our forces too quickly in Iraq. There are plenty of Shias and Kurds who would just as soon see Iraq "Sunni free."
As could be expected, there's still no love lost between the Shia and Sunni Arab communities. The attitude in the Sunni Arab community alternates between despair and desperation. The despairing have been leaving, the desperate either fighting or trying to make a deal. Nearly half the 2003 Iraqi Sunni Arab population has left the country. That makes Sunni Arabs only about ten percent of the population. Many Kurds and Shia want them all gone, but as long as the Americans are there, such a mass expulsion won't happen. This gives the Sunni Arabs a chance to cut a political deal with the majority Kurds and Shia Arabs. There's not much love in that department. Amnesties and oil revenue are not being offered in large quantities. The Sunni Arabs are being less demanding. The Sunni Arab "resistance" is crumbling, worn down by casualties and hatred directed at them for all the murders they commit. Not a good time to be Sunni and Arab in Iraq.
Even the liberal Brookings Institution has weighed in with this: ""The only thing standing between Iraq and a descent into a Lebanon- or Bosnia-like maelstrom, is 135,000 American troops."

Why then do Democrats insist on pushing their plans for an immediate withdrawal? First, it's politically popular. Nearly 75% of the country wants Americans out of Iraq. Secondly, and more importantly, the Democrats are terrified of being blamed for any genocide that occurs after we leave. Their maneuvers in Congress are not so much designed to get our troops out as they are to make sure the Republicans get the blame for any disaster.

It matters little. Both sides are ignoring what's happening in Iraq with the surge and it appears that when September rolls around, Bush will almost certainly lose the Senate with some kind of withdrawal measure passing by a wide margin- probably based on the Baker-Hamilton proposals. And it will almost certainly pass with a veto proof majority.

That would leave it up to the House to forestall the Democrat's plans. At this point, no one knows what the margin of victory will be but it would probably take an awful lot for the House to override the President's veto of the Senate measure.

This means another stalemate. Another round of negotiations with the Democrat's hand strengthened by their victory in the Senate. Will Bush give? Judging by his past performance, it's not likely. Where this political impasse will leave the troops, the war, America's vital interests, and the 2008 presidential race is anyone's guess.
In one of the more bizarre signs that the Democrat's position on a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq is grounded in little more than political expediency and not the national interest, Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times highlights the left's 180 degree flip on how genocide must be prevented at all costs:
But what of liberal credibility? In the 1990s, amid all of the debates about Haiti, Somalia, Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the broad outline of the debate had conservatives advocating a narrower definition of the national interest while liberals argued -- and I often agreed with them -- for a more expansive one that included a heavy dose of moralism. Finally, liberals seemed to have shaken off the Vietnam syndrome and embraced an overly optimistic but benign foreign policy of nation-building and do-goodery.

Conservatives are at least still arguing about the national interest -- but they're also the ones touting the moral imperative of preventing genocide and even the need for nation-building. Where is the principle in the hash of liberal foreign policy today? How does liberalism recover? If you can justify causing genocide in order to end a nation-building exercise that -- unlike similar efforts elsewhere -- is fundamentally linked to our national interest, then how can you ever return to arguing that we should get into the nation-building and genocide-stopping business when it's explicitly not in our interest?
Goldberg points out that Barak Obama has called for increased troops in Darfur and has suggested that perhaps NATO should deploy to that bloody region. Nearly every expert is predicting catastrophe if we draw down our forces too quickly in Iraq. There are plenty of Shias and Kurds who would just as soon see Iraq "Sunni free."
As could be expected, there's still no love lost between the Shia and Sunni Arab communities. The attitude in the Sunni Arab community alternates between despair and desperation. The despairing have been leaving, the desperate either fighting or trying to make a deal. Nearly half the 2003 Iraqi Sunni Arab population has left the country. That makes Sunni Arabs only about ten percent of the population. Many Kurds and Shia want them all gone, but as long as the Americans are there, such a mass expulsion won't happen. This gives the Sunni Arabs a chance to cut a political deal with the majority Kurds and Shia Arabs. There's not much love in that department. Amnesties and oil revenue are not being offered in large quantities. The Sunni Arabs are being less demanding. The Sunni Arab "resistance" is crumbling, worn down by casualties and hatred directed at them for all the murders they commit. Not a good time to be Sunni and Arab in Iraq.
Even the liberal Brookings Institution has weighed in with this: ""The only thing standing between Iraq and a descent into a Lebanon- or Bosnia-like maelstrom, is 135,000 American troops."

Why then do Democrats insist on pushing their plans for an immediate withdrawal? First, it's politically popular. Nearly 75% of the country wants Americans out of Iraq. Secondly, and more importantly, the Democrats are terrified of being blamed for any genocide that occurs after we leave. Their maneuvers in Congress are not so much designed to get our troops out as they are to make sure the Republicans get the blame for any disaster.

It matters little. Both sides are ignoring what's happening in Iraq with the surge and it appears that when September rolls around, Bush will almost certainly lose the Senate with some kind of withdrawal measure passing by a wide margin- probably based on the Baker-Hamilton proposals. And it will almost certainly pass with a veto proof majority.

That would leave it up to the House to forestall the Democrat's plans. At this point, no one knows what the margin of victory will be but it would probably take an awful lot for the House to override the President's veto of the Senate measure.

This means another stalemate. Another round of negotiations with the Democrat's hand strengthened by their victory in the Senate. Will Bush give? Judging by his past performance, it's not likely. Where this political impasse will leave the troops, the war, America's vital interests, and the 2008 presidential race is anyone's guess.