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The Liberals’ Creed

Editorial

May 2004

by Robert Alt

Kirkuk, Iraq—For all the talk about a widening religiosity gap between the right and the left, sentiment from the left indicates a certain religious fervor about the war in Iraq. A string of recent letters and articles from those of a more liberal persuasion suggest that they choose to ignore or simply do not believe information which is inconsistent with their basic tenets. Theirs is a policy of faith, and here is their creed.

We believe in the United Nations, and Kofi Annan, the maker of international legitimacy.

We believe that the UN inspections worked.

We believe that SCUD missiles fired at U.S. troops minutes after the war began don’t change anything;

We believe that 3 liters of sarin gas used against U.S. troops doesn’t change anything;

We believe that finding evidence of mustard gas doesn’t change anything.

We believe that the war in Iraq conducted by a Republican president was unjustified because it lacked UN approval;

We believe that the “military action” in Kosovo conducted by a Democratic president was justified without UN approval.

We believe that the Iraq war was unilateral.

We believe that the participation of Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Ukraine does not change the fact that the war was unilateral;

We believe that multilateralism can only be achieved with the participation of France and Germany;

We believe in multilateralism.

We believe that this war was motivated by greed and oil;

We believe that when France, Germany, and Russia opposed the war, they were motivated by principle, and not by sweetheart oil deals or Oil-For-Food kickbacks;

We believe that US oil prices are too high, and that the administration failed in its responsibility to do something about it.

We believe that the U.S. may only legitimately use force for humanitarian ends in one place if it does so in all places where aid might be needed;

We believe that the U.S. may not quell threats in places where the cost is relatively low unless it is willing to use force in places like North Korea, where the cost in lives would likely be very high;

We believe that a humanitarian action is only truly humanitarian if there are no strategic interests to muddle the altruism.

We believe that President Bush lied.

We believe that Prime Minister Blair lied.

We believe that when Hillary Clinton and Dick Gephardt voted for the war based on the same intelligence relied upon by Bush and Blair, they made reasonable decisions based on the intelligence available at the time.

We believe that the administration did not make the case for war;

We believe that the administration offered many different reasons but could not offer a coherent message explaining the need to go to war;

We believe that the administration made perfectly clear that the only reason we were going to war was because of the threat from WMDs.

We believe that there were no WMDs.

We believe that finding sarin gas is 14th page news;

We believe that if the sarin gas is old, then it really isn’t a WMD we were looking for;

We believe that it wasn’t really sarin gas;

We believe that sarin gas isn’t necessarily a WMD.

We believe that there was no terrorist connection to, or threat from, Iraq.

We believe that members of Abu Nidal in Iraq would not have committed terrorist acts if we had not invaded;

We believe that al Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would not have committed terrorist acts if we had not invaded;

We believe that Saddam’s terrorist training camp at Salman Pak—complete with a Boeing 707 plane used for hijacking drills—did not exist or posed no real threat;

We believe that it was merely a coincidence that the pharmaceutical factory bombed by President Clinton in Sudan was using al Qaeda funds and a uniquely Iraqi formula to produce VX gas;

We believe that we are responsible for bringing terror on ourselves.

We believe that the prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib is widespread and is probably the tip of the iceberg;

We believe that Abu Ghraib proves that the America’s occupation is no different than Saddam’s tyranny;

We believe that any attempt to suggest that there is a moral difference between a regime which systematically killed 300,000 people and tortured countless others and a regime which punished the acts of Abu Ghraib is illegitimate.

We believe that soldiers deliberately target women and children;

We believe that the soldiers abuse and kill Iraqis because they are racists;

We support our troops.

We believe that no one should question our statement that we “support our troops;”

We believe that the best thing that could happen for this country would be for Bush to lose in November;

We believe that the best way for Bush to lose in November is for the Iraq effort to go poorly, even if that means that more Iraqis and troops will die;

We believe that most of the troops are minorities and the poor;

We believe that when the word “heroes” is used to describe our troops, it should always be enclosed in scare quotes.

We believe in quagmire.

We believe that when fringe Iraqi groups attack hard targets and are soundly defeated with relatively low Coalition casualties, that this is inescapable evidence of crisis;

We believe that Iraq is Bush’s Vietnam.

We believe that Vietnam is the lens through which all wars should be viewed.

We believe that soldiers in Vietnam were baby killers;

We believe that John Kerry is a hero for his service in Vietnam.

We believe that because John Kerry is a hero, he necessarily has the national security expertise necessary to be commander-in-chief.

We believe that any attempt to question his national security expertise based on his voting record, including his decision to vote against a supplemental bill used to buy the soldiers body armor, is an unfair attack on the patriotism of a hero, who by virtue of this honorific has the expertise to be commander-in-chief.

We believe in the trinity: NPR, CNN, and the New York Times. We believe in Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, and all the DNC, and we look for President Clinton yet to come. Amen.

Robert D. Alt is a Fellow in Legal and International Affairs at The John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University currently reporting from Iraq. You can follow his daily progress at No Left Turns.

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