Monday, August 08, 2005

What's At Stake

Christopher Hitchens poses a series of good questions of those, mainly on the left, who want the U.S. to fail in Iraq out of hatred for the Bush Administration.
How can so many people watch this as if they were spectators, handicapping and rating the successes and failures from some imagined position of neutrality? Do they suppose that a defeat in Iraq would be a defeat only for the Bush administration? The United States is awash in human rights groups, feminist organizations, ecological foundations, and committees for the rights of minorities. How come there is not a huge voluntary effort to help and to publicize the efforts to find the hundreds of thousands of "missing" Iraqis, to support Iraqi women's battle against fundamentalists, to assist in the recuperation of the marsh Arab wetlands, and to underwrite the struggle of the Kurds, the largest stateless people in the Middle East? Is Abu Ghraib really the only subject that interests our humanitarians?
All good questions. I didn't support the invasion or occupation of Iraq, mainly due to the undemocratic methods the Bush team used in getting us over there, but I certainly don't want the U.S. to lose in Iraq, because I believe it will be a set back for liberal, nay, universal goods such as liberty, equality, and the separation of mosque and state. Those of us on the left need to remember that the terrorists are not a resistance movement bent upon getting the U.S. out of Iraq so that they can right imperialistic wrongs. They are a movement likely to turn Iraq into a Muslim theocracy where inequality and barbarity are institutionalized and which could operate as a node in the global Islamist network. Much like Iraq's labor movement, the Western left needs to concentrate on the policies that will put Iraq on the path toward a social democracy and vehemontly protest when the Bush Administration deviates from that goal. If we don't do that, then I ask, "What are we good for?" and more importantly, "What have our principles become?"