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Friday, April 15, 2005

Left on the wrong side of history

Michael Costello writes in The Australian:

Kennedy's words inspired the world. It particularly inspired those of us on the progressive side of politics. But those words turned sour because they presaged the US drive deeper into Vietnam. And for most members of the Left, Vietnam is the seminal personal and political rite of passage. Vietnam destroyed a Democrat president. It brought down a Republican president. It discredited the moral and political leadership of the US. Now when the trumpet sounds, the Left's instinctive reaction is to cry 'No, not another Vietnam'. And so it has been over Iraq. The Left sees it as a Vietnam-style quagmire, a parcel of lies, leading once again to defeat. But the military, geostrategic and political terms of engagement in Iraq are different to those of Vietnam. The most profound difference rests on the issue of democracy. For 15 years the Americans ran the South Vietnamese political system; the elections held were dubious and led to regimes without legitimacy. In sharp contrast, Iraq's elections were for real. They are considered legitimate by the world because they are legitimate to Iraqis themselves, who voted in droves. A two-month delay in putting together a new government, far from being a negative, is a positive because those months were devoted to what democracy does best -- political accommodation, power sharing, consensus building.
Someday, although probably not soon, the Left will get over it's mass obsession with Vietnam and be able to contribute to foreign policy discussion in a meaningful way again. I very much look forward to that day.


Blogger The probligo said...

Dave, perhaps there is the difference...

The left, forever learning from the mistakes of the past, forever afraid to try something new.

The right never learning from the mistakes of the past, never afraid to try something "new".

4/17/2005 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

That would certainly be ahistoricl, 'conservatives' being daring expiramenters and ignoring history while 'liberals' are afraid of change and mired in the past.

I think that there are right and wrong answers to things. Either invading Iraq was right or it was wrong.

The lessons of history that I know have convinced me that it was the right thing to do.

4/18/2005 09:03:00 AM  

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