The Left’s War for International Affection

June 13, 2005

If I hear one more time how the United States better clean up its image in the world so we don’t further alienate foreigners and generate more terrorists, I think I’m going to retch.

There is no small amount of irony in the fact that the people who are doing their level best to make sure the news is dominated by stories portraying America as imperialistic and inhumane are the same ones warning that we dare not permit our image to deteriorate.

They are determined to bring us stories week after week that depict the United States as a heartless monster. They have been telling us since we attacked Iraq that the Bush administration manipulated the intelligence data on WMD and lied to get us into war, and that we preemptively struck Iraq without provocation and in contravention of international law.

It didn’t matter to them that all of the independent investigations they touted rejected their ultimate conclusions: that President Bush pressured the intelligence agencies to doctor the evidence in favor of war and that he misrepresented their unanimous assessment that Saddam was stockpiling WMD.

They just kept disseminating the same lies — to the point that 90 percent of the Democrat base was actually taken in by them. And, finally, after waiting patiently for years for a smoking gun to incriminate the Bush administration, the American Left thought it had received a gift from the God it doesn’t believe in: the Downing Street Memo.

This “scandalous” record of a meeting among British officials would be no less powerful than the DNA-stained blue dress that jogged Bill Clinton’s memory during the days of the Kenneth Starr witch hunt. But though the memo said, “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy,” an honest contextual reading revealed that “fixed” didn’t mean “manipulated.”

All but Bushophobic readers understood that this same memo disclosed a genuine belief by the Brits that Saddam did in fact have WMD and that he might unleash them on allied forces if we attacked. Even liberal columnist Michael Kinsley doesn’t seem to buy that the memo is a smoking gun. The memo has turned out to be much ado about nothing.

Not to worry. There’s always Gitmo: the story that just won’t die — the Left will see to that. Their relentless mantra is that the Bush administration systematically abuses and tortures terrorist war prisoners — at Gitmo and elsewhere.

Forget that we mostly bend over backward to treat enemy combatants with kid gloves, feeding them better than our own troops, providing them with copies of the Koran and enforcing special rules to ensure it is treated respectfully. Forget that the toughest interrogation techniques to which many objected only lasted two weeks, and still did not result in the 20th 9-11 hijacker being physically assaulted. But they did result in the ascertainment of critical information that may have saved many American and Iraqi lives.

The Left steadfastly chooses to ignore the positive, hype the negative and presume American culpability. They deny their reflexively anti-American instincts and congenital softness on terrorism, insisting they are more committed to winning the war than even the evil “neocons.” It’s just America’s methods they disapprove of.

But where did they get this rarely challenged, counterintuitive and nonsensical idea that terrorism is spawned primarily by American misconduct — or America’s cavalier image? How can anyone with the slightest hint of objectivity conclude that Islamic terrorism is a reaction to, or a byproduct of, evil emanating from the United States? Who, besides the terrorist themselves could possibly take such garbage seriously?

Leave it to the American Left, which bristles at the slightest insinuation that it sometimes goes to extensive lengths to conceal its patriotism, to figure that the outcome of the war will be determined by means of a popularity contest — America’s image abroad — rather than bombs, guns and bullets.

Indeed, the Left and squishy moderates are now saying we should close down Gitmo, even if it is clear no mistreatment of terrorist prisoners is occurring there — because such a gesture will show the world our goodwill and rehabilitate our image.

Such thinking is pathetic and promises disastrous consequences. Of course we should comport ourselves consistent with our high moral standards — because it is the right thing to do. But we must not delude ourselves into thinking the war is a PR contest and place ourselves and our troops into a PC straightjacket in order to score higher on the next international poll.

The notion that our success in the war will depend on our image is appeasement-driven psychobabble. But if the Left is so convinced of it, isn’t it time they ceased and desisted doing everything in their power to destroy our image?