Faith Calls For Withdrawal
By Tony Blankley
Last Sunday, on NBC's "Meet the Press," former Clinton
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright said: "There is
not one Democrat who wants us to fail in Iraq. There is not one
Democrat that doesn't want our troops to come home safely or wants
our homeland to be properly protected or let Iraq develop a democracy
and operate within the region. And I have to tell you, to be maligned
as not patriotic or undercutting the effort, I think is unacceptable."
it depends on what the meaning of wants is. I'll give her the
second want: that our troops come home safely. I don't doubt that
even the most fanatical anti-war Democrat wants our troops to
come home safely, and he or she could honestly argue that an immediate
withdrawal of all our troops from Iraq could best effectuate that
But as to
the first, third and fourth wants (wanting us to succeed in Iraq,
to protect our homeland, and wanting Iraq to develop democracy
and operate within the region), I have to take exception to the
former Secretary of State's claim. There are several elected Democrats
(I won't hold Mrs. Albright's assertion to include rank-and-file
moveon.org types) who actively support policies that objectively
undercut those three "wants."
rational people to make of Howard Dean's statement that "the
idea that we're going to win the war is an idea that, unfortunately,
is just plain wrong." In what sense does he "want"
us not to fail in Iraq? Now, this is where the definition of want
comes in. It is technically true that since DNC Chairman Dean
says "unfortunately," he can make the argument that
he wants victory, he wants the war objectives (establishing democracy
in Iraq and protecting our homeland by so doing). Dr. Dean can
make that claim, at the verbally technical level, even as he openly
admits that he supports substantive policies (immediate withdrawal
of our troops) that will assure the non-attainment of those goals.
many slaveholders in America before the Civil War who "wanted"
what was best for their African-American slaves -- it was just
that they thought slavery was their natural condition and that
slavery was best for them. We fought and won a civil war to defeat
that pernicious idea.
slaveholders may have been subjectively honest when they said
they wanted what was best for their slaves, the rest of the world
was entitled to assert that objectively, the slaveholder did not
support policies that were best for the slave (what was objectively
best for the slave -- any slave -- is freedom).
It may be
true that Howard Dean subjectively wants to protect our homeland
and see Democracy reign in Iraq. But others are entitled to assert
that the policy he advocates -- losing the war immediately --
objectively is not in the best interest of Iraqi democracy and
the protection of our homeland.
as to the third point (bringing democracy to Iraq), no sane person
can believe that intentionally losing the war by immediately bringing
our troops home is rationally calculated to attain that goal.
Sincerely wishing so still makes a person, objectively, opposed
to gaining such results. Democratic Party officials, such as Mrs.
Albright, who assert that they support both democracy in Iraq
and immediate withdrawal can and should be called on such baldly
As to the
second point -- making our homeland safe -- while it is, just
barely, open to debate, I believe we should have that debate.
Precisely, we should have the debate that some politicians are
prepared to risk our national security by calling for immediate
withdrawal. Responsible national Democrats, such as Sen. Joe Biden,
are as adamant as President Bush that the consequences of immediate
withdrawal would be catastrophic to our national security.
(and, for that matter, Republicans) who call for immediate withdrawal
should be accused of objectively threatening our national security.
Let's have that debate. Politicians who call for immediate withdrawal
should not be entitled to claim, as Mrs. Albight does, that they
are acting in the best interest of our national security -- whatever
they may subjectively think.
a time, the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre shrewdly and stingingly
criticized self-deceivers with the charge of bad faith (mauvaise
foi): the self-deceptive motives by which people often try to
elude responsibility for what they do.
be a good time to review the applicability of such bad faith to
the politicians who claim to have our national security at heart
even as they call for surrender and retreat.
2005 Creators Syndicate