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Unfriendly Fire from the Left By: Malcolm A. Kline
AIM.org | Thursday, May 15, 2008

In World War II and even into the Cold War, academics, journalists and politicians tempered their criticism of American foreign policy with a concern for U. S. troops serving in harms way. Sixty years later, men and women in U. S. military combat fatigues can count on no such sympathy from American elites.

This treatment is on vivid display in the new book Party of Defeat: How Democrats and Radicals Undermined America’s War on Terror Before and After 9-11 by David Horowitz and Ben Johnson. Perhaps not too surprisingly, the most unrepentant offenders were the renegades cocooned in academia.

“Seeing an opportunity to discredit the allied cause, American radicals began an anti-sanctions movement based solely on the Iraqi regime’s propaganda,” Horowitz and Johnson write of the Left’s efforts in the run-up to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. “The founder of the movement was [University of] Texas journalism professor and jihadist sympathizer Robert Jensen, who claimed that ‘each month 5,000 to 6,000 children die because of the sanctions.’”

Working journalists were not much less reckless than journalism professors such as Jenson. The outlook of the fourth estate can be seen in, among other ways, their coverage of abuses, verifiable or alleged, at the Abu Ghraib prison for prisoners of war.

If the number of stories on Abu Ghraib equaled the number of legitimate complaints unearthed by every bipartisan official source, all the major media would have tapped and sapped this journalistic well in about a month. Instead, we are still seeing Abu Ghraib stories four years after the last official report was submitted. “There were 24 New York Times stories on the holocaust during World War II compared to hundreds on Abu Ghraib during the Iraq War” in that same newspaper, Horowitz pointed out at the national Press Club here on April 22.

As the title of his book indicates, it is big-name Democrats Horowitz primarily takes to task for setbacks in the war on terror. “As a result of Howard Dean’s surge in votes and fundraising [Sens. John] Kerry and Edwards took an anti-war stance” in the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, Horowitz observed. “Gephardt, Biden and Lieberman didn’t go along.”

“Gephardt retired and Lieberman was driven out of the party.” Horowitz himself is a fairly high-profile political pilgrim who has moved from red-diaper baby to Conservative-Republican senior citizen.

Among the bill of particulars he faults congressional Democrats for in the war on terror: thwarting investigations of terrorists. “Senator Robert Byrd introduced a bill to establish a commission that would investigate the now-crippled surveillance program,” Horowitz and Johnson recount. Sen. Byrd said that such a commission “will lift the fog of secrecy and clandestine government activity aimed at law-abiding citizens.”

“How a citizen taking an international call from a previously identified member of a terrorist organization would qualify as ‘law-abiding,’ the senator didn’t explain,” Horowitz and Johnson note. The scary thing is that Sen. Byrd is the Democratic Party’s go-to guy on the Constitution, perhaps because his fellow Democrats think he was there when it was written.

“Responsible criticism expresses policy differences without malice towards the soldiers implementing those policies or their commanders defending the national interest,” Horowitz and Johnson write. Though it does not make up the bulk of the book, the authors do deliver such critiques themselves.

“More precisely, they failed to see that we are in a war with Islamists who were terrorists, a failure contributed to by the Bush Administration’s reluctance to recognize the religious nature of the enemy we face,” Horowitz and Johnson write.

“It is a civilizational war,” Horowitz explained at the Press Club. “It is against a movement within Islam, not Islam itself.”

Horowitz also criticized elements of the first President Bush’s incursion into the Gulf. “The coalition that Bush 41 assembled to go into the war in Iraq was too multilateral,” Horowitz said. “It included the Arabs, Chinese and Russians, all of whom were doing business with Saddam and had no interest in overthrowing him.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.

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