- The Washington Times - Monday, December 27, 2004

Our various reactions to the increased violence leading up to the elections in Iraq are instructive. All are equally horrified and saddened by the deaths of our troops, Iraqi nationals fighting for freedom and Iraq’s officials, but some view these as reasons to quit, while others see it’s why we must march on.

The suicide bombing massacre of our troops and Iraqi allies in Mosul, coupled with assassination of three Iraqi election commission members in broad daylight on a Baghdad street last week were particularly gut-wrenching. These are events that try men’s souls.

Ironically, these attacks should strengthen our resolve by reminding us of the gravity of what is at stake. Yet, tragically, those who have been against the war from the outset believe they are vindicated with every American and Iraqi setback.

But remember this: The antiwar left wasn’t primarily opposed to the war against Iraq because we would have difficulty winning it — though that is always one of their many uttered mantras. They were opposed ostensibly for moral — or what they consider “moral” — reasons.

Though it is difficult to follow their logic, they seemed to believe Saddam Hussein represented no threat to the United States and hadn’t directly participated in the September 11, 2001, attacks against America, so there was no just cause to forcibly remove him from power.

Of course, they were also against going forward because they believed — astonishingly — that President Bush was motivated to benefit Halliburton and to steal Iraqi oil. Moreover, the moral arbiter of all moral arbiters, the United Nations — and the ethically and culturally enlightened French and Germans — believed we ought to give sanctions one more chance (1,000 more times, if necessary) and continue the inspections, presumably until Saddam had amassed a robust nuclear arsenal with scores of ICBMs to deliver them.

For us to attack Iraq would be an egregious violation of international law, a criminal transgression against the secular Muslim tyrant’s autonomy. Even the pathetic Iraqi people, the left apparently believed, were basking in their ignorant, enslaved bliss and would reject us as invaders and occupiers rather than “greeting us as liberators.”

At first I was repulsed by the left’s hackneyed Vietnam analogies, which they invoke every time our military suits up for any mission beyond a routine Meals on Wheels delivery. Now I realize there are parallels between the Vietnam era and today having nothing to do with quagmires, but with the left’s recurring refusal to champion freedom and democracy and their perverse attraction to evil regimes.

They didn’t just oppose to our military deployment to defend South Vietnam’s sovereignty and liberty, which they disgracefully characterized as a civil war. They didn’t just pooh-pooh communism’s expressed desire for global domination. They were sympathetic to the communists themselves and to the communist cause, whether in the bowels of the Soviet Union, the jungles of Vietnam, or Nicaragua. Just look at how even today they romanticize Fidel Castro’s wretched regime.

And now, they see America as on the wrong side (morally) of this war in Iraq — as if we have invaded a sovereign nation and many of those fighting against us are morally justified in trying to prevent our “imperialism.”

Regardless of their disagreement with our reasons for beginning the war in the first place, how can they fail to see clearly the demarcation of good and evil manifested in the terrorists’ and “insurgents”’ relentless barrages of mayhem and barbarism — all to prevent the Iraqi people from self-rule and liberty?

All but the most muddleheaded has to understand this war isn’t between two opposing forces with arguably equal moral claims. As Tony Blair so poignantly said, “Whatever people’s feelings and beliefs about the removal of Saddam Hussein, and the wisdom of that, there surely is only one side to be on in what is now very clearly a battle between democracy and terror.”

Those on the political left can fool themselves all they want, but these international terrorists aren’t going away. They are here to stay and wreak havoc throughout the world as long as they are able. We have no choice but to confront them now. If we don’t, we will have to in much worse circumstances later, not because we attacked Iraq or have troops in Saudi Arabia, but because we represent everything repugnant to radical Islam by virtue of who and what we are.

David Limbaugh is a nationally syndicate columnist.

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