Iraq naysayers run for cover
Friday, February 04, 2005
In the wake of Sunday's triumphant election in Iraq, the Monday morning silence was damned near deafening.
Where were the naysayers -- Ted "Cut and Run" Kennedy, the Senator from Quagmire, the old Marxist Globe and Mail commentator Rick Salutin, and the presidential aspirant and Gene McCarthy wannabe Howard Dean, the anti-war Democratic front-runner until his screaming fit exposed him as a borderline lunatic? Where was Hillary Clinton (before her fainting spell), Carolyn Parrish, of American-bastard fame, old stoneface John Kerry with his dire warnings of electoral disaster, not to forget the e-mail correspondent who branded me a "neo-con imbecile" for daring to suggest last week that Baghdad's epic day at the ballot box would all turn out exactly the way it did?
The liberal intelligentsia crowd who sneered at the Bush vision of moral clarity and Middle East democracy are the same bunch who derided president Reagan as a washed-up Hollywood B actor. And this week they've been eating crow in Lone Star-sized servings.
Not that they've thrown in the liberal towel. They never do. Thus in London we have veteran left-winger Robert Fisk leading the naysayers regroup, now beating the drum of Sunni-Shiite civil war. Even the much-praised admission by grizzled Toronto Star commentator Richard Gwyn that Bush was right after all carried the snide qualifier that the President's casus belli was "frivolous or outright fraudulent."
The Americans invaded Iraq because it's on the frontline in the war on terror; and because after decades of flouting UN resolutions, the Security Council didn't have the guts to deliver the "serious consequences" it promised after yet another snub from Saddam Hussein.
Canadian Liberals these days like to claim that if Stephen Harper were prime minister Canadian boys would be getting blown up by car bombs in Iraq. It's equally true that if Jean Chretien, the international statesman from Shawinigan, had prevailed, Saddam Hussein and his sons would still be running their murderous circus in Baghdad.
And while we're on the subject of Canada standing shoulder to shoulder with the faint-hearted French President Jacques Chirac, does anyone really believe that had we been a coalition member along with the Aussies, the mad-cow border closing would have dragged on as long as it did, and the interminable softwood-lumber dispute remain unsolved?
It's no secret that the recent $6-billion purchase of 23 British-Italian helicopters to replace the existing presidential fleet was in part recognition for the two nations' undinting support in Iraq. The Americans don't forget, they remember. They owe the Aussies one. They owe Canada nothing.
But then, the Liberals never have understood that the only way Canada can achieve Paul Martin's wooly goal of "making a difference" is in concert with its greatest friend and ally the United States. From Lester Pearson on through Trudeau and Chretien, the only leader we've had with the slightest understanding of the Americans was Brian Mulroney.
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