The Corner

The Insurgency

Two worthwhile emails, given how angry that original post seems to have made some folks:

Mr. Goldberg,

I can’t go into as much detail as I’d like because I’m supposed to be working, but I had to let you know that I think you let your frequent correspondent off far too easy. The left have at times explicitly voiced a desire to see the insurgents win in Iraq, and I can point to two specific pieces of anecdotal evidence just off the top of my head to support that claim.

First, shortly after the invasion a poll was taken in France that found that 1/3 of respondents wanted the US to lose, and 1/3 didn’t care which side won. I don’t recall if this was after the insurgency was officially recognized as such, but considering that the irregulars who would become the insurgents put up the fiercest resistance during the initial invasion, drawing a distinction between their activities before and after the regular army quit fighting is an academic distinction. I don’t think I’m stealing any bases to say that the American left wanted us to turn to old Europe for guidance in fighting the war, and by a 2-1 margin the heart of old Europe wanted the insurgents to win.

More directly, and very telling since your correspondent mentioned him by name, Michael Moore was actually an early cheerleader for the insurgency. I don’t see how there’s any other way to interpret this quote…

“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.”

…which Moore apparently still stands behind, since it remains unapologetically on his web site…

Keep up the good work.



First of all thank you for acknowledging the distinction between liberals and The Left. I also think it is a very important distinction that nowhere near enough writers or radio/tv blowhards (I’m sorry talk show hosts or commentators) mention.

Second, I’m a left of center liberal who was (at best) deeply skeptical of the war in Iraq before it began. The widespread inaccuracy of our intelligence which justified the war to so many in the Admininstration, the Congress, and the country at large did not change my views, obviously (note that I call it inaccurate intelligence and not lying as the non-liberal Left would). Nevertheless, a quick escape from Iraq using a “good money after bad” view is mad, in my opinion. If we leave Iraq early, it will absolutely without question become Afghanistan circa 2001. Our defeat (and that is the only way it will be viewed) will be a massive morale boost to Al Qaeda equivalent to the defeat of the Soviet Union. It will encourage recruitment , and far more seriously it will convince millions of Muslims that the goals of establishing Islamic states with Shariah Law and spreading them worldwide are attainable. We simply MUST leave some sort of functioning government which is not hospitable to our enemies. The trick will be to also convince the Mulim world that it is not some U.S. puppet government and that will be no small task. But a representative government with security forces capable of keeping it in existence (the first and most important function of any government) is essential. Anything less will have accomplished nothing. All alterntiaves are not only bad, they are worse than Saddam, who I don’t believe was anywhere near the threat to the U.S. that our admininstration thought.

P.S. Michael Moore DOES want them to win, the traitorous bastard.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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