Monday, 09 May 2011

Leftists, Osama bin Laden, and War

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Jack KerwickSome readers of this column will no doubt remember the popular 80s' television series Dallas. Although the show ran for 14 seasons, due to what may have amounted to one of the biggest blunders in television history — the exiting of a pivotal character — one of these seasons was written off as a dream! To the dismay of many a viewer, the opening episode of the tenth season revealed that all of the events from the last segment of the eighth season through the entire ninth season never happened. Watching the collective response of leftists to the killing of Osama bin Laden, I am reminded of this chapter of Dallas, for it is difficult not to think that the happenings of the better part of the last decade are as well the contents of a dream.

All throughout the Bush years, leftists relentlessly took our last President to task for his prosecution of “the War on Terror.”  From “wire tapping” to the war in Iraq, from the establishment of secret CIA prisons — so called “black sites” — to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, from the employment of “enhanced interrogation techniques” to his insensitivity to Muslims and disregard of “world opinion,” there wasn’t a single step taken by George W. Bush’s administration to which leftists didn’t fiercely object. 

Yet now all of that has apparently been forgotten. 

President Obama’s supporters in the media and elsewhere are positively giddy over the killing of bin Laden. That Americans should relish in the death of this terrorist is a proposition with which I wholeheartedly agree, mind you; what is worth marveling at, what is more than just a bit hypocritical, is that leftist Democrats should relish in it.

After all, in order to locate bin Laden, this President reportedly had to rely upon a trail of information made possible by information gathered via “enhanced interrogation techniques” during the Bush years, when leftists staunchly opposed the techniques as torture.

But this isn’t all.

When Bush launched the Iraq War, Democrats complained that Bush had (1) “unilaterally” (2) invaded a sovereign nation (3) that never attacked us.  For these reasons, this war was deemed at once “immoral” and “illegal.”  Now, Pakistan is also a sovereign nation.  Yet this past week, Obama undercut its sovereignty by invading it, and he did so unilaterally.  Moreover, from latest accounts, he did so in order to assassinate an unarmed man

The point here isn’t what think regarding the actions of Obama or his predecessor.  The point is that by the standards according to which the left judged George W. Bush, there isn’t a leftist alive who shouldn’t be demanding, not Osama’s head, but Obama’s.

It isn’t just the Democrat’s hypocrisy to be disclosed by this latest news cycle, though.  The Republican’s ignorance is also now on full display. 

The notion that Democrats are “appeasers” or “pacifists” is now seen for the fiction that it is.  Anyone remotely familiar with the nature of leftism would have already known this. 

In his quest to “fundamentally transform” his society by deploying his brethren’s resources in the service of his own plans, the leftist has always known that, as Rahm Emmanuel once famously remarked, he can never allow “a good crisis” go to waste.  In times of crisis, the resistance to the government’s imposition upon the citizenry of “the solution” to the latest epic challenge with which that new acquisition of power would ordinarily be met is rendered negligible. 

The liberties to which Americans have grown attached and that were bequeathed to them by their English forbears are located in the interstices of the multiple “checks and balances” on power that our Constitution delineates. Since it is this wide dispersion of power and authority that remains the most formidable obstacle to the realization of the leftist’s utopian dreams, his disdain toward it is inseparable from his disdain toward the liberties that it makes possible. 

What this in turn means is that, far from being dovish about war, the leftist can’t but love it, for nothing so epitomizes a crisis as war. 

War is not just a pretext for those in government to amass ever greater concentrations of power and authority over the lives of citizens; it is the ultimate pretext for this purpose.  In the name of protecting the liberty of the individual, the fact or just the belief that there is a war permits the government to actually erode that liberty. Indeed, it is impossible that it should avoid doing so during war.

And when the war in question is being waged, not against a determinate, concrete enemy — i.e. a nation-state — but an abstraction like Drugs, Crime, Poverty, Racism, or — as in the present case — Islamic Terror, it is inescapably a war in perpetuity, and inescapably the largest threat to a people’s freedom.   

War is sometimes necessary, but it is crucial for all lovers of our liberties to be forever mindful that any one who calls for potentially endless war, though he may be among us, is most certainly not of us.   

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