The Corner

Re: The Insurgency

One point I don’t think gets discussed nearly enough is that the insurgents themselves have absolutely no fans in the US, and yet sizable numbers of Bush-critics on the left and the right want them to win — or don’t care enough one way or another if they do or not.

I disagree with both sides, but I think the right has the benefit of a principle on their side. They care about national interest more. This isn’t to say that many lefties don’t care about national interest, but not in the same way. The righties don’t want to do social work, nation-building etc. The left does, just not when Bush is in charge and it’s explicitly done in the name of American interests (instead of the UN or the International Community or whatever).

Regardless, what’s interesting to me historically is that the left doesn’t speak glowingly about the insurgents, any of them (Ward Churchill and his ilk notwithstanding). And, in a sense that’s progress.

This stands in pretty stark contrast to the 1960s and 1970s, when the activist left romanticized America’s enemies to no end: Che, Mao, Castro, the heroic Viet Cong etc etc. These days the hard left has few illusions about the evil nature of those were fighting in Iraq, but they want us to bug-out anyway. I just think that’s interesting.

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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