- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 23, 2006

Recently, Arianna Huffington, one of the few people in our country to shift from conservatism to liberalism, appeared on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor.” Host Bill O’Reilly invited Mrs. Huffington because he has been searching for anyone on the left side of the aisle with a plan for winning the war against radical Islamofascism beyond just criticizing the Bush administration. But a much larger rhetorical door to the Liberal-Left’s soul was opened during the interview, a door that exposed their current approach to just about everything political in nature; “So what?”

I have noted for years the No. 1 reason given for going to war in Iraq was Saddam Hussein’s penchant for committing human-rights violations against his own people. Aside from the much ignored genocide of the Iraqi Kurds, Saddam’s regime routinely subjected the Iraqi people to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution and torture by beating and burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation and rape. Wives were raped and abused in front of their husbands and children were injured and killed in the presence of their parents. These are facts and there is ample film and firsthand testimony to prove it.

These true atrocities led to United Nations Security Council Resolution 688, demanding Saddam stop oppressing the Iraqi people. He instantly ignored and continued to ignore the U.N. demands until the moment he was pulled from his less-than-presidential spider hole.

There was a time in the not too distant past when American liberals would have called for definitive action against such inhumanity. Groups like Human Rights Watch would have petitioned our government and the United Nations to act against the human-rights violations committed against the ethnic minorities under Saddam’s regime. The National Organization for Women would have vigorously denounced the oppression of women under Shariah Law. Gay rights groups would have spotlighted homosexuals throughout the Middle East who were routinely executed for their sexual preferences. Religious leaders of all faiths, sans Islam, would have called for religious tolerance in a land where there was little. Greenpeace would have mobilized to protest Saddam’s torching of oil wells upon his exit from Kuwait, a gargantuan environmental disaster.

Yes, there was a time when all this would have been coming out of the Democratic Party, from the liberal-left, the progressive-left. Today the opposite is true. While many conservatives struggle against the ever-increasing vitriol of the antiwar movement and one-sided reporting of the mainstream media, the U.S. conservative base remains resolute to making the sacrifices needed to make the world not only a better but a safer place for all people.

That leads me back to the O’Reilly-Huffington interview. Mr. O’Reilly played a commercial currently aired on the Fox News Channel produced by the government of Iraqi Kurdistan. In essence, it is a 30-second thank-you card from the people the United States saved from Saddam’s “final solution.” After the commercial was played, Mr. O’Reilly asked Mrs. Huffington whether saving all these people was worth it. Mrs. Huffington’s response was: “So what?” She went on to say our government’s job is to protect our nation, our borders and our people — the oppressed people of the world be damned.

Ironically, this wasn’t the position of the liberal-left, the progressive-left, when the U.S. acted militarily in Kosovo or Somalia or Haiti under the Clinton administration. In fact, it was quite the opposite. While Bill Clinton acted as commander in chief, the United States was the great protector much like Superman. The current detractors and nags saw those missions, which used real bombs and real bullets and cost the U.S. real lives, as noble because the corrupt U.N. sanctioned them as humanitarian action against despotic regimes.

Then, while a Democratic president sat in the Oval Office, use of military force to combat human rights violations was correct. Today, under an administration from across the aisle, the progressive-left says, “So what?,” as they paint a strategy that promotes the spreading of democracy and freedom across a region rife with totalitarian regimes as “blood for oil” while blatantly and opportunistically ignoring the first three reasons for liberating the Iraqi people — the oppression and genocide of the Iraqi people, Saddam’s failure to relinquish prisoners of war including an American pilot and the demand that Iraq renounce all involvement with terrorism, and permit no terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq — while solely focusing on the fourth: weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

It is abundantly clear the progressive-left is interested in one thing only: acquisition of power. Their two-faced actions and positions from administration to administration proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt, as does their reckless disregard for their destruction of a political party.

Not unlike termites and cockroaches that infest old houses, eating away at the infrastructure while spreading disease and lowering the property value, the Fifth Column has infested the Democratic Party, eating away at its infrastructure, spreading the disease of intolerance and devaluing the party’s tenets to the point where they are in danger of losing their “collective soul.” In a predominantly two-party political system, this is catastrophic.

Our political system is at the crossroads of crisis. The acquisition of power and the gamesmanship of politics have trumped good government at just about every level. For the American people to sit passively by as this happens is to ignore our constitutional obligation of civic responsibility.

Those of a rational mind within the Democratic Party cannot afford to say “So what.” They must act fast, to preserve what is left of a once great political party that once stood for battling the self-righteous tyranny of evil wherever it existed. And Republicans must help their opposition party in political discourse instead of hoping for its demise. For only in a healthy political atmosphere of reasoned and civil debate can our country divine the correct path for our future. That doesn’t include saying “So what.”

FRANK SALVATO

Managing editor for the New Media Journal and executive director of the Basics Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative.

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