Leftists Who Love the War Too Much

In many ways, this potential America corresponds to the conservative worldview, but for progressives it should be as ominous as the threat posed by terrorists. And we will still face the danger of strikes against our cities by a transnational movement that would like nothing better than to see the Ashcroft doctrine fully implemented here. When Osama bin Laden predicted that America would become a hell for its people, he was speaking from a deep understanding of freedom's fragility. Even a victorious war could produce the conditions that fulfill his dream. The great strength of the left is its analysis of social dynamics. To jettison this knowledge, along with the lessons of recent history, is to invite the worst possible future.

This is not a brief for pacifism. There are times when war is necessary, and, in the media at least, there is a real debate about whether this is such a moment. The discussion isn't being led by chastened radicals but by mainstream liberals. The best arguments against invading Iraq can be found in The New York Times. Here you will discover an alternative to both Noam Chomsky and the Bush doctrine—a policy based on cooperative engagement and domestic defense.

illustration: Anthony Freda

9-11 did produce a new situation, but it makes a very old demand on us: to comprehend the world's complexity. That's something the neohawks have yet to demonstrate.

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