The muted reaction to the murder of Virginia-based peace activist Tom Fox earlier this month highlights a puzzling phenomenon. While terrorists in Iraq–like those who shot Fox in the head and chest and dumped his body beside a Baghdad railroad–target the kind of people the Left champions in America, liberal Democrats stay mum while “their people” get seized, maimed, and killed over there. Rather than demand the total defeat of these butchers, Operation Iraqi Freedom’s shrillest opponents instead accuse President Bush of carelessly blundering into war while brilliantly manipulating Democrats into authorizing hostilities. Al Qaeda’s man in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, elicits shrugs while America’s true enemies, they suggest, are Guantanamo, the NSA terrorist-surveillance program, and the just-renewed Patriot Act.
Sen. John Kerry, who let President Bush bamboozle him into approving the Iraq War, told CBS’s Bob Schieffer last December: “There is no reason . . . that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women.” We have met the terrorists, and apparently, they are us.
As Robert Novak reported last June, activists from Code Pink and other peace groups participated in a mock war-crimes trial in Istanbul. They endorsed its final statement, which embraced Iraq’s anti-U.S. insurgency.
“The popular national resistance to the occupation is legitimate and justified,” reads the communiqué of the World Tribunal on Iraq. “It deserves the support of people everywhere who care for justice and freedom.”
In perhaps the biggest American love bomb thrown at Iraq’s bomb throwers, filmmaker Michael Moore wrote in April 2004: “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the revolution, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow–and they will win.”
If terrorists in Iraq only iced bankers, oilmen, and HMO administrators, one might fathom liberal complacency about such violence. Instead, these murderers hit precisely those who the Left normally welcomes into their rainbow-hued tent. But since these victims are in Iraq, their deaths generate little evident sympathy.
Beyond their indiscriminate killings, consider how terrorists deliberately strike groups liberals claim to love, at least domestically:
‐Pacifists: Though peaceniks in Iraq echo the American Left’s pronouncements, violence against them yields leftwing American quietude. Along with the late Tom Fox, terrorists last November 26 kidnapped Briton Norman Kember, and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden. These members of Christian Peacemaker Teams remain captive. Terrorists seem unimpressed that CPT personnel oppose Operation Iraqi Freedom and even served as human shields to prevent Iraq’s March 2003 liberation.
‐Diplomats: “Don’t fight, talk” could encapsulate the Left’s foreign policy. Liberals usually favor diplomacy over confrontation; consider their craving for United Nations resolutions and lengthy negotiations. So where was the outrage when terrorists killed Algerian diplomats Ali Belaroussi and Azzedine Belkadi last July?
“These are two envoys of the Algerian state which does not apply Sharia law and is allied to the Jews and the Christians,” al Qaeda in Iraq charged on its website.
As these Islamofascists explained, on July 7, they assassinated “the ambassador of the infidels,” Ihab al-Sharif, Egypt’s envoy to Baghdad. Al Qaeda in Iraq also took credit for the July 5 attempted kidnappings of Pakistan’s and Bahrain’s ambassadors. While both escaped, Bahrain’s Hassan Ansari sustained a gunshot wound. On their website, these killers said they hoped “to capture as many ambassadors as we can.”
Terrorists also exterminated 22 people when they detonated a 550-pound truck bomb beside the United Nations Baghdad headquarters on August 22, 2003. Ironically, diplomats there were discussing how to cleanse Iraq of landmines.
‐Journalists: “Progressives” are generally cozy with reporters, and vice versa. The mainstream media list leftward as effortlessly as marbles roll downhill. Yet, ongoing violence against journalists in Iraq elicits little leftwing comment.
Terrorists this month shot and killed Muhsin Khudhair, an Iraqi newsweekly editor. They fatally shot Iraqi TV anchorman Munsuf Abdallah al-Khaldi as he drove north from Baghdad to Mosul, to interview poets.
Terrorists kidnapped Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll last January. She has appeared thrice on video, tearfully pleading for her life.
Last November, terrorists struck Baghdad’s Hamra Hotel, home to many journalists. A car bomb killed eight and injured 43. The toll might have been worse had a follow-on truck bomb not dropped into the first car bomb’s crater.
Terrorists driving car bombs last October attacked Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel, where many reporters live and work. Six passersby were killed before U.S. troops foiled the plot as it unfolded.
“The plan was very clear to us,” Iraqi national security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie told the Associated Press. “Take the foreign and Arab journalists as hostages to use them as a bargain.”
‐Teachers: Instructors compose the Democrats’ chief battalion of political volunteers. In exchange, Democrats dutifully serve teachers’ unions. How strange, then, that barely a ripple of complaint arose after terrorists last September drove to the Al-Jazeera Elementary School in Muelha, 30 miles south of Baghdad. They lined up five teachers and their driver against a classroom wall and shot them dead.
‐Children: “Think of the children” may be the Left’s most shopworn slogan. Democrats claim to cherish kids sometimes more than their parents do. Yet liberals say little when terrorists aim their crosshairs at Iraqi boys and girls.
Last July, a homicide bomber steered toward candy-hungry kids who had surrounded U.S. GIs in Jadida. His car exploded, killing 27, including one American soldier and 18 children.
“The one who did this has no morality,” Suheil Abd Ali told reporters. “This suicide bomber isn’t an Arab or a Muslim or even a Jew. He’s not human.”
In September 2004, another homicide bomber killed 35 children as American troops gave them candy at the opening ceremony for a new sewage facility.
“Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city,” Mayor Najim Abdullah Abid al-Jibouri of Tal’ Afar, Iraq, wrote in a letter praising U.S. GIs. “Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young.”
Why have so many liberals abandoned overseas the very people they lionize at home? The answer is the worst four-letter word in their vocabulary: “Bush.”
The Democratic Left hates President Bush’s guts. They also hate his face, his footsteps, and his shadow. Since hurting him involves looking away as terrorists slaughter pacifists, diplomats, journalists, teachers, and children, they do so with zeal.
–Deroy Murdock is a New York-based columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in Arlington, Va.