Now comes George F. Will

by Steve, March 2nd, 2006

politicsWhy is it that the message of dissent on Iraq from conservative quarters is so much more coherent than anything from the “left”? (Is there now or has there ever really been an American left? Bernard-Henri L�vy tosses that question around in the February 27, 2006 issue of The Nation.)

To wit, George F. Will in today’s Washington Post (free subscription required):

Last week, in the latest iteration of a familiar speech (the enemy is “brutal,” “we’re on the offensive,” “freedom is on the march”) that should be retired, the president said, “This is a moment of choosing for the Iraqi people.” Meaning what? Who is to choose, and by what mechanism? Most Iraqis already “chose” — meaning prefer — peace….

This is a noted conservative talking? Yup. And there’s more:

After Iraqis voted in December for sectarian politics, an observer said Iraq had conducted not an election but a census….

Think about … the distinction drawn by the U.S. official in Iraq who, evidently looking on what he considers the bright side, told Eliot Cohen of Johns Hopkins, “This isn’t a war. It’s violent nation-building.”

Almost three years after the invasion, it is still not certain whether, or in what sense, Iraq is a nation. And after two elections and a referendum on its constitution, Iraq barely has a government. A defining attribute of a government is that it has a monopoly on the legitimate exercise of violence. That attribute is incompatible with the existence of private militias of the sort that maraud in Iraq.

Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute, writing in the Wall Street Journal, reports that Shiite militias “have broken up coed picnics, executed barbers [for the sin of shaving beards] and liquor store owners, instituted their own courts, and posted religious guards in front of girls’ schools to ensure Iranian-style dress.” Iraq’s other indispensable man, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, says that unless the government can protect religious sites, “the believers will.”

So I say, where the hell are the Democrats? Why is it that after pledging to stay the course in the ’04 election (despite public opinion already having tipped against the war), they’re still on the Bush Iraq bandwagon (Hilary Clinton, the putative ’08 candidate still clings to her support of the war) while the conservative true believers flee like rats on a sinking ship?

L�vy is right. The left in America is semi-comatose. The Democratic party has been co-opted by corporatist whores. We are all seriously fucked unless women’s groups, the civil rights movement, organized labor, and the peace and justice movements can somehow take back the Democratic party—or form a new party.

But you already knew that.

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