Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Rejecting 9/11 as rationale for Iraq war is legalistic
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi accused Bush of demonstrating a willingness [to] "exploit the sacred ground of 9/11, knowing that there is no connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq."She is one of many. These Democrat complaints are a crystal clear example of the legalistic approach to the war on terror that Karl Rove charged the Democrats with last week (causing front page squeals of protest across the country). Since we don't have grounds for indicting Saddam for 9/11, the Iraq war is not a legitimate response to 9/11, the left is asserting.
Conservatives, on the other hand, don't look at 9/11 as fodder for indictments, but as a declaration of war by stateless terrorists. Saddam may not have been involved in 9/11, but he was providing a haven for terrorists, and he had connections to many terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda. He was an avowed enemy of America who had long sought WMD and was refusing to submit to WMD inspections, as per the terms of the '91 cease fire agreement. He was the worst of the dictators who have been keeping the Arab world in its backwards, hateful condition, and the transformation of Iraq into a democracy with individual liberties (a republic) could end up changing the entire region. There were, as the Democrats would remember if they were not so busy trying not to, a whole litany of reasons for taking out Saddam, including, ironically, the purely legalistic reason that was the nominal causus belli of the war: Saddam's repeated refusals to abide by the terms of the 91 cease fire agreement.
Ed Morrissey explains the difference between the Democrats and President Bush on 9/11:
The dominant theme today will be the complaints that Bush exploited 9/11 -- complaints that will once again reveal how critics can't remember what 9/11 actually meant. It showed that we cannot afford to wait for terrorists to wave their flags and tell us where they are, because the only time they'll do that is when they're raising those flags over the ruins of American cities. That day taught us that we can no longer ignore serious threats like Saddam Hussein, especially in the Middle East.
Was Rove's poke last week just a jab? Did he know the Democrats would set themselves up by responding to the President's speech in legalistic fashion? Come on Rove, finish 'em off with the haymaker!
Powerline has a haymaker for Pelosi here.
Andrew McCarthy adds a compendium of Iraq/terrorism linkages.
Hugh's best line, about both the Democrats and the media:
The reason the media's reputation has in fact fallen off of the floor to even lower depths is because of the refusal to treat the war as a war rather than a political battle.Spot on. I don't believe most Democrats actually are legalistic in their general outlook. For Clinton, legalism was an excuse to avoid a war he didn't want to fight, but when he finally did fight in Bosnia, Democrats had no qualms about pursuing war instead of just arrests. They are against war now primarily as a means of political opposition. If they succeed in losing the war politically it will be, as they like to say, "Bush's Vietnam." The consequence, they hope, will be the Republicans going down in flames, enabling the Democrats to rise. The consequences of losing a crucial battle in the war against Islamo-fascism never enters their calculations. Has the like of it ever been seen before?
Coming from a Democrat family, I had already become a straight line Republican voter before 1992, but in '92 I voted for Clinton because Bush Sr. was refusing to let the Bosnians arm themselves. Clinton was correctly calling this a travesty and promising to stop the genocide. When Clinton also refused to let the Bosnians arm themselves, I hated myself for being a dupe. By the time he finally got around to stopping the Serbs in Kosovo, he had proven himself the greatest enemy of gun rights in American history. On that grounds, I became a gung ho advocate of every investigation into his personal corruption, seeing anything that weakened Clinton as good for the protection the republic. But even though Kosovo was much more ambiguous and less compelling than Bosnia, I still thought the Serbs needed to be stopped there, and I cheered Clinton on for doing it. Similarly with his support for NAFTA and for welfare reform. My desire to see Clinton weakened did not extend to the irrational extreme of wanting to see him fail at the good things he was doing. The desire to see Clinton weakened was purely instrumental, in the service of the public interest. It could never be served by harm to the public interest.
I think this is how conservatives in general are. We judge issues on their merits, and favor or oppose the president's actions on their merits. We can see the value of infighting where it can serve to weaken an opposing president's power to do wrong, but that doesn't keep us from supporting him when he does right. Not so Democrats. They seem to represent pure ambition for power, unguided by any meaningful concept of the public interest. They criticize the President on legalistic grounds, not because they believe in these grounds (at least not to the brain damaged degree that they are pretending), but because these grounds offer a way to criticize the President. They are pure unhinged instrumentality, like a miser, or a Caesar, eagerly hoping to lose a war, if they think it will advance them over their domestic opposition.