Michael Totten

On Democrats and Arabs

by lebanon.profile
Sometimes you just have to cut to the chase…
The Democratic Party critics of the President and Arab critics of American policy have a lot in common.
They love to go on the attack against people taking action, but offer no alternative. They snipe at President Bush and the oh-so-evil neo-cons, but offer few alternatives.
And when they do offer alternatives, the two groups sound exactly alike: “let the people choose their government; it should not be imposed from above,” “Muslims should have a government culturally sensitive to their religion,” “you must understand that America cannot support democracy because it has supported so many heinous regimes in the past,” “America must first deal with Israeli aggression, and then everything will fall into place in the Arab world.”
Where is the alternative in those statements?
I wanted to vote against President Bush in 2004. I couldn’t do it. I just didn’t vote.
It breaks my heart to see leftists, liberals, and Democrats fighting against freedom in this region. Seymour Hersh makes claims in support of Syria. The Daily Kos and Atrios refuse to link blogs supporting democracy in the Middle East. American academics choose to fight the Bush Administration by visiting the military dictatorship in Syria, and giving anti-Bush speeches in support of the Arab status quo throughout the region.
What really hurt me was Democrat responses on March 9, 2005. On March 8th, Hezbollah held a rally in downtown Beirut. The Democrats, liberals, and leftists chose to latch on to them as the voice of Lebanon. They argued that President Bush needed to mind his own business because a militant organization with full Syrian and Iranian support held a rally.
Partially thanks to American liberals and international leftists nearly 1.2 million people (in a country of approximately 4 million people) came to the streets on March 14. We wanted to make it clear to the world that Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria did not represent us, that we desire to live in freedom, and that we would no longer tolerate living under a military regime that assassinates our leaders and tortures our citizens.
It’s okay to dislike President Bush. It’s just fine to criticize him for the deficit. It benefits the American system to catch him when he’s guilty of cronyism. Jump up and down and turn red in the face about Guantanamo, torture, Halliburton contracts, and Supreme Court nominations. But don’t undermine him when the freedom of millions of people are at stake.
There’s no comparison to Iraq. There’s no threat of invasion, and President Bush isn’t mining for evidence of WMD.
If President Bush, Jacques Chirac, the European Commission, Kofi Annan, and the United Nations come together in support of the same action, then it’s difficult to argue that President Bush is doing the wrong thing.
The Bush Administration is currently repairing relations with European nations, using international institutions to support American foreign policy, practicing restraint, and masterfully using diplomacy. When it comes to American policy regarding Lebanon and Syria, there is not much to criticize if you’re not pro-Syrian regime.
And yet the President continues to be attacked. Even worse, his critics are giving cover to a military dictatorship. President Bush didn’t “sex up” intelligence dossiers. Dick Cheney hasn’t been chatting with members of the Syrian opposition. The Syrian regime is just plain guilty of assassinations, mass graves, supporting terror in Israel/Palestine, supporting organizations wanting to destroy Israel, and supporting terrorists in Iraq.
What are the counter-solutions offered by Democrat critics, leftists, and Arab critics? Criticize Bush more. Attack him for things unrelated to policy on Syria. Bring up failures in Iraq over and over again. Assert that America can’t withstand another Iraq. Compare Iraq to Vietnam and Syria to Cambodia and Laos.
Where does that leave us in Lebanon? President Bush is demanding democracy in Lebanon and an end to terror in Lebanon, Iraq, and Israel without costing the American taxpayers anything extra. Secretary Condoleeza Rice and Ambassador John Bolton will get their salaries, regardless.
Either come clean and say you hate Bush and everything he does (including hugging children and giving flowers to elderly women), or criticize him intelligently. We read what’s being said over there and we hear it repeated to us by people supporting the Syrian regime.
Let’s see the viable alternatives. When it comes to American policy towards Syria that is applied through the unanimous passage of Security Council Resolutions, there isn’t much to criticize.