The Left's view of the war on Iraq continues to confound me. Apart from the exceptionally clear-eyed Christopher Hitchens and a few others, the Left is simply in denial as to the nature of this conflict upon which we are currently engaged. Radioblogger has a wonderful exchange between Ron Reagan Jr and the afore-mentioned Mr. Hitchens. The execrable term "bitch-slap" defintely applies here, as Mr. Hitchens takes Ronnie to the proverbial woodshed for his lack of understanding and historical perspective.
However, the exchange proves little other than that most leftists are incapable of putting aside their fervent and damaging partisanship long enough to confront the threat that this country and indeed our civilization, face from the Islamists. I would provide a point of reference, however. In 1996, then-President Clinton launched missile strikes against Iraqi targets (as documented at the time by CNN) to punish Iraq for attacking the so-called Kurdish safe areas. The Republican response, voiced by then-Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole, was praise for Clinton's action and a recommendation of even stronger military action. There was no chant comparable to the oft-repeated "Bush lied, people died" from the conservatives. The same was true in Somalia and even in Kosovo. Conservatives wondered how these operations advanced U.S. interests, and there were rumblings of worry regarding the percieved wasting of valuable resources on non-strategic objectives, but by and large the Right supported the actions, despite their misgivings. The same spirit is evidently not true of the Left- unless it is in power at the time.
Compare the differing reactions from the media on Clinton Administration warnings of Iraqi danger as opposed to how the same media organs reacted to Bush's essentially restating the same facts less that three years later. If the charges were true in 1998 when advanced by a Madeleine Albright, why were they less true in 2002 or 2003 when advanced by Donald Rumsfeld or Colin Powell? It seems to me that the answer is that it was a despised Republican making the arguments, not a beloved Democrat.
I would wish that the left today would show the patriotism that their forbears showed in Korea, World War II and even in Vietnam. However, I fear that the days of the Democratic Party as one of loyal opposition may be gone forever.