Senator’s criticism of invasion is unprincipled

From the ashes of a Dean Deferred emerges a kinder, gentler progressivism grasping for a thousand points of light and tilting at a more energy-efficient windmill. Having pre-emptively struck out the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, the remaining moderates exude the same anti-war enthusiasm with none of the principled idealism.

The problem, Democratic Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry explained, lies not with the removal of an admittedly terrible dictator, but in the manner of that removal. By acting alone in our determination to remove a mass murderer, we did grave damage to the credibility of a dithering international community. Our achievement was not sufficiently a “group effort.”

“There was a right way to do it, and there was a wrong way to do it,” Kerry helpfully explained, and “the president chose the wrong way.” The right way would have been “to go to the U.N.” and “to respect the building of an international coalition in truth.” Naturally, Kerry was humming a very different tune back in 1997, when he resolutely commented, “While we should always seek to take significant international actions on a multilateral rather than a unilateral basis, whenever that is possible Ö we must have the courage to do what we believe is right” notwithstanding.

But let’s ignore the characteristic flip-flop and focus on his latest mantra: Multilateralism in the defense of liberty is no vice and unilateralism in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Russia having again degenerated into authoritarianism, the U.S. left is rushing to accommodate its former Cold War partner. During the wave of residential bombings in September 1999, Russian security forces were caught planting an explosive device in the basement of an apartment building in the city of Ryazan, Chechnya – just a “training exercise” to plant “sugar,” the authorities said. Chechnya was promptly invaded and pillaged for the transgressions of its “terrorists.”

Yet that dastardly President George W. Bush has been unable to bring Russia into our coalition of the willing; what could have been better to win Muslim hearts and minds than the assistance of a dictator who so delights in splattering Muslim hearts and minds all over the streets of Grozny?

France represents a better prospect for winning the approval of Islamic fundamentalists and depraved Baathists alike: Throughout 2002, Jews in France were 18 times more likely to suffer a violent hate crime than Muslims in the United States, according to French and U.S. government data. Gaul is enjoying its greatest surge in anti-Semitism since the halcyon days of Vichy multilateralism, when 60,000 Jews were delivered for Nazi extermination. Certainly, we could have better solicited France for its assistance with Iraq, say the multilateralists — maybe even found a “final solution” for the “Israeli problem” in the Middle East!

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder outright dismissed any war on Iraq as an adventure and flatly affirmed, “The points I put forward against an intervention remain, regardless of any decision by the U.N.” By his own admission, Schroeder was bluntly and unilaterally opposed to any attack. Yet according to the enlightened Kerry, the chancellor’s unequivocal opposition only demonstrated Bush’s “failure of diplomacy.” Perhaps if we had just pre-emptively invaded Belgium instead, diplomacy would have been more successful.

Meanwhile, the Europeans who die fighting alongside Americans provide no testament against a unilateral intervention. Jacques Chirac said an enthusiastic Eastern Europe “missed a good opportunity to shut up” when it opposed the French in supporting the war, which was “not well brought-up behavior.” Polish soldiers have died in Iraq, the first combat casualties suffered by the nation’s army since World War II, but a few dead Slavs apparently do not make a legitimate coalition for Kerry. Until Chirac and Vladimir Putin lend a few words of approval, we’re “going it alone.” Kerry tirelessly pontificates upon the dangers of a Bush presidency that considers the United States above the rest of the world, then dismisses the deaths of those from less affluent countries as an immaterial distraction from what really matters: the champagne-drenched bacchanalia of a Kerry inauguration.

Christopher Oster is a political science junior. He welcomes comments at [email protected]