- The Washington Times - Monday, August 29, 2005

Perpetual critics of President Bush’s initiation and prosecution of the war in Iraq display a perverse glee over his low approval ratings, and the war’s waning public support.

Do you not detect their palpable air of triumph at the apparent success of their endless carping? They seem determined to persist and even ratchet up their rhetoric until George W. Bush is finally bludgeoned into submission and, with his dying political breath, grudgingly issues the order to withdraw every last soldier from Iraq before resigning in shame.

They rise in indignation at any criticism of their criticism, and especially at the suggestion they do not exhibit characteristics, shall we say, of the model patriot.

How dare anyone imply they not super-patriots? Super-patriots, after all, prove their love for America by wrapping themselves in the First Amendment as they tear down this nation, its troops and their commander in chief in the midst of a war.

How dare anyone accuse them of undermining the troops? Oh, sorry, I must have misunderstood when I heard their venerated representatives and read their hate-gorged Web sites likening the Gitmo detention camp to the Soviet Gulag and trying to show the relatively isolated incidents there and at Abu Ghraib were widespread. I must misperceive their efforts to establish a moral equivalence between our side and the terrorists, between our occasional and unauthorized harassment of terrorist detainees and the terrorists’ suicide bombings and beheadings of innocent civilians. I must misinterpret their knee-jerk sympathy for the anti-American criticism of the European left and their condemnation of Mr. Bush instead of the European pacifists for failing to make our campaign in Iraq a more “multilateral” enterprise.

I must have been wrong in thinking I noticed an extra spring in their step when they “discovered” the Iraqi people consider us “occupiers” rather than “liberators.” I must have misapprehended their ultrashock and disappointment that the Iraqi elections went so well. Likewise, I must have misread their transparent incredulity at our interviewed soldiers’ robust expressions of high morale. I must be wrong to assume the left is serious in portraying our volunteer soldiers as conscripted in some draconian draft and dragged to their deaths in Iraq.

I must be misconstruing their mantra that Cindy Sheehan has “absolute moral authority,” for example, to call the murderous freedom-saboteurs in Iraq “freedom fighters.” I must be hallucinating when I hear them comparing Iraq with Vietnam, when the only reasonable comparison is that in both wars the work of relentless antiwar protestors has been our enemies’ best (probably only) chance of defeating us.

I must be misinterpreting their seeming joy at every morsel of bad news out of Iraq. I must only imagine the mainstream media virtually conspire to ignore and suppress good news and sensationalize the bad. I must be crazy to read enthusiasm into their reaction over failed deadlines for completing the Iraqi constitution. I must be unfair in disapproving their glib reference to imported international terrorists in Iraq as “insurgents” — as if Iraq is in a civil war.

I must be taking them the wrong way when I hear them spouting slanderous inanities such as that the action in Iraq is Mr. Bush’s war for oil. I must be mistaken in assuming they are anxious to label America’s actions in Iraq as imperialistic when everyone knows our purpose, having deposed Saddam and liberated Iraq, is to help to launch her new government and establish stability and security before we withdraw.

Of course I am not saying all who oppose the Iraq war are unpatriotic. Without question, there are legitimate reasons to oppose our action in Iraq. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about a large group of people who wouldn’t behave much differently if they were paid by our enemies to hurt our cause. And I’m not even saying they aren’t patriotic, just that their actions certainly seem otherwise.

The relevant political question is whether the Democratic Party will be able forever to satisfy these people without alienating almost everyone else. How will Hillary Clinton thread this needle in 2008? What games will she have to play either to keep them in tow or, conversely, to fool everyone else?

But 2008 is a long way off. In the meantime, President Bush will proceed on the path he considers in our best interests and that of the Iraqis, regardless of the unrelenting criticism.

Now, if he would just tighten our borders. …

David Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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