It still amazes me how the far left is still much, much more concerned with bringing George Bush down than in building Iraq up. The contempt some of them once had for the Iraqi people's fate - they were quite happy to see Iraqis consigned for decades to Saddam's tender mercies - is now matched by their zeal to abandon the country to Jihadists and theocratic Shiite thugs. Yes, the Bush administration richly deserves a shellacking for its conduct of the war. But handing al Qaeda a failed state on a plate right now seems to me an odd priority for a group that claims to want something they call "progressive." Tom Hayden echoes the Arianna line today in her celebriblog, and decides to take after George Packer. As you might expect, it's the usual incoherence. Here's one typical passage:
Packer sees the US troops not as occupiers, not the cause of violence, but as "buffers" between violent Iraqis. The same civilizing role was claimed by the British when they sent troops to Northern Ireland in 1969; thirty years later they signed the Good Friday Agreement but still haven't permitted free elections. Baghdad is simply the next Belfast, in this view.
Huh? Does Hayden believe that U.S. troops have caused ethnic division and hatred in Iraq in three short years? Did such divides not exist beforehand? Were they not the critical force behind the construction of Saddam's divide-and-massacre strategy? And of Iraq's very borders? As for Britain's colonial presence in Northern Ireland, it has existed for centuries, and represented one side in the conflict. The current coalition in Iraq have been there for three years, represent no ethnic faction, and are there as a support for an attempted multi-ethnic government. And then there's this bizarre assertion that Britain has not yet allowed free elections in Ulster (with the implication that this has also been the case in Iraq). Huh? Ulster has had several seats in the House of Commons under free elections for decades. London and Dublin have been attempting to broker regional government there for decades. The Irish republic is a booming democracy. Moreover, Iraqis have had more democratic options in the last three years than in the previous several decades. Did Hayden not notice the moving spectacle of a people formerly in bondage finally getting to vote? Or is that something the left has no interest in any more?