Darfur is an apt symbol of early 21st century liberalism: What matters is that you urge action rather than take any. On Iraq, meanwhile, the president declared: “Let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory.” And the Dems sat on their hands.
The American left has long deplored Bush’s rhetorical reliance on such vulgar conceits as “good” and “evil.” But it seems even “victory” is a problematic concept, and right now the momentum is all for defeat of one kind or another. America is talking itself into willing a defeat that has not (yet) occurred on the ground, and would be fatally damaging to this nation’s credibility if it did. Last year Arthur M. Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the New York Times, gave a commencement address of almost parodic boomer narcissism, hailing his own generation for their anti-war idealism. Advocating defeat first time round, John Kerry estimated America might have to relocate a few thousand local allies. As it happens, millions died in Vietnam and Cambodia. And the least the self-absorbed poseurs like Sulzberger could do is occasionally remember that the world is about more than their moral vanity.
So why do the left care about Darfur and not Iraq?
Actually they don’t care about either. Nor do they give a damn about Afghanistan. It just so happens that Afghanistan is connected in the public’s mind with 9/11 making opposing Iraq the more politically feasible. If we weren’t in Iraq they would be complaining about concentrating on Afghanistan while ignoring the threat of Iraq.
They are taking the principled position. But the principle they are supporting is the same one they’ve had since Nov 200, the defeat of George W. Bush. If the country has to lose a war to make that happen? well, that’s unfortunate, but that’s politics.