Time Magazine columnist Joe Klein is feeling the hate from the left these days. He’s against the Iraq war, against the idea of a troop surge, and can’t stand the administration. Well then, what’s the problem? you may ask. Here it is: he wants us to win in Iraq. He’s also very critical of war plan critics in the press, like the NYT’s Paul Krugman. Klein wrote yesterday:
I’m afraid I’m going to get cranky about this: The Democrats who oppose the so-called “surge” are right. But they have to be careful not to sound like ill-informed dilettantes when talking about it.
The latest to make a fool of himself is Paul Krugman of the New York Times, who argues that those who favor the increase in troops are either cynical or delusional. Mostly the latter. Delusional neocons like Bill Kristol and Fred Kagan, to be precise. But what about retired General Jack Keane–whom Krugman doesn’t mention–and the significant number of military intellectuals who have favored a labor-intensive counterinsurgency strategy in Baghdad for the past three years? They are serious people. They may be wrong about Iraq now, reflexively trying to complete a mission that has been lost, but they are not delusional. They may be wrong about Iraq now, reflexively trying to complete a mission that has been lost, but they are not delusional. The counterinsurgency doctrine they published in 2006 is exactly what the U.S. military should be doing in places like Afghanistan.
Liberals won’t ever be trusted on national security until they start doing their homework.
Check the comments to that post. It would seem that Klein committed numerous “nonos” with the anti-war far left: 1) he attacked liberal icon Paul Krugman, 2) he slammed liberals for not being more informed on the issue, and 3) he wants us to win the war in Iraq.
In a follow-up post last night, Klein responded to his critics:
The illiberal left just hates it when I point out that the Democratic Party’s naivete on national security–and the left wing tendency to assume every U.S. military action abroad is criminal–just aren’t very helpful electorally. The fact that I’ve been opposed to the Iraq war ever since this 2002 article in Slate just makes it all the more aggravating. But it’s possible to have been against the war and to hope for the best in Iraq. I’d bet that the overwhelming majority of Americans who now oppose the war are praying for a turn for the better in Iraq. Listening to the leftists, though, it’s easy to assume that they are rooting for an American failure.
And so a challenge to those who slagged me in their comments. Can you honestly say the following:
Even though I disagree with this escalation, I am hoping that General Petraeus succeeds in calming down Baghdad.
Does the thought even cross your mind? As for me, it’s easy–I’ve been rooting for U.S. success ever since the invasion because, after the overpowering arrogance and stupidity that led to this disaster, we owe some peace and stability to the Iraqis and the region.
Klein’s just hit on what so many anti-war leftists (including certain members of Congress) don’t want to admit: they don’t want us to succeed in Iraq. Success in Iraq would not just be a victory for America, but also for President Bush’s policies in the war on terror, and that doesn’t sit well with the Bush-haters in the Democratic party who have portrayed him as a bumbling, inept Commander in Chief.
Back in December of 2005, I quoted a post of Steve Verdon’s at Outside the Beltway, which I thought summed up what the anti-war Democrats’ attitude on Iraq perfectly. Verdon wrote:
Frankly, the Democrats tactic of saying we can’t win in Iraq strikes me as precisely the wrong approach to the problem. If the Democrats “win” on this one the result is that we lose. We lose in Iraq and we quite possibly degrad[e] our ability to prosecute the war on terrorism in other parts of the world. Maybe that is what the Democratic party leadership wants, but it doesn’t look like a very good strategy for making the U.S. saferâ€¦which ironically is one of the Democrats complaints about invading Iraq in the first place.
He was right then, and even more right today. If America loses in Iraq, the Democratic party ‘wins.’ Klein is clearly a liberal, but he nevertheless pushes and hopes for American success in Iraq. It’s not about party to him, it’s about winning. Unfortunately, all too many other Democrats don’t hold his position and equate being an advocate of winning in Iraq (in spite of being against the war) to being a Bush shill.
It’s a sad commentary on the state of the Democratic party who are now, unfortunately, the new majority in Washington, DC. The only way they ‘win’ on the issue is if we lose in Iraq. Think about it.
Related: Speaking of anti-war Bush-haters, check out this imbeach, I mean, “Impeach Bush” rally held a few days ago at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. Note how the word “Bonfire” is outlined in red in the first pic (Hat tip: See-Dubya, guest blogging at Michelle Malkin’s)