May 24, 2003

FORGET CONTAINING SADDAM: Jonathan Rauch writes that the antiwar far-left’s new agenda is to contain America:

“As the United States government becomes more belligerent in using its power in the world, many people are longing for a ‘second superpower’ that can keep the U.S. in check,” writes James F. Moore, of Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, in an article that he posted online. The newly energized Left is just such a force, he argues. . . .

Note that Moore speaks of confronting not imperialism or corporate capitalism or human-rights abusers, but the United States. This is significant. . . .

But the Left will pay a crippling price. If its new rallying cry is going to be “Contain America first!” the Left had better pack its bags for a long, long stay in the political wilderness, at least in America; and if it is going to make excuses for Saddam as it once made excuses for Stalin, it can kiss its moral relevance goodbye. One only wonders whether the Left still has time to back away from the cliff.

I’m not sure this agenda is as new as Rauch suggests. But the antiwar left’s moral relevance is already gone, squandered in increasingly desperate efforts to shore up Saddam for no other reason than that he was the enemy.