Marc Shulman at American Thinker lays out the liberal dilemma. On the one hand, Peter Beinart, the editor of the New Republic argues in "The Good Fight : Why Liberals ---Only Liberals---Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again because only one viewpoint has the moral authority to win against Islamic extremism. But not just yet. Maybe those muscles will be exercised tomorrow. Shulman quotes Kevin Drum:
So what is it that Beinart [author of The Good Fight] really wants from antiwar liberals? The obvious answer is found less in policy than in rhetoric: we need to engage more energetically with the war on terror and criticize illiberal regimes more harshly.
Maybe so. But this is something that's nagged at me for some time. On the one hand, I think Beinart is exactly right. For example, should I be more vocal in denouncing Iran? Sure. It's a repressive, misogynistic, theocratic, terrorist-sponsoring state that stands for everything I stand against. Of course I should speak out against them.
And yet, I know perfectly well that criticism of Iran is not just criticism of Iran. Whether I want it to or not, it also provides support for the Bush administration's determined and deliberate effort to whip up enthusiasm for a military strike. Only a naif would view criticism of Iran in a vacuum, without also seeing the way it will be used by an administration that has demonstrated time and again that it can't be trusted to act wisely.
So what to do? For the most part, I end up saying very little. And Beinart is right: there's a sense in which that betrays my own liberal ideals. But he's also wrong, because like it or not, my words — and those of other liberals — would end up being used to advance George Bush's distinctly illiberal ends. And I'm simply not willing to be a pawn in the Bush administration's latest marketing campaign.
Now it might be the case that the voters elected someone besides Kevin Drum's preferred candidate to do the job in 2004, but maybe that's irrelevant. If a liberal candidate is elected in 2008 full cooperation will be expected. Because Liberals ---Only Liberals---Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again.