According to University of Texas journalism professor Robert Jensen(registration required):
The people of Iraq are better off without Saddam Hussein's despised regime, but that does not prove our benevolent intentions or guarantee that the United States will work to bring meaningful democracy to Iraq.Jensen's statement is remarkable because at this very moment, thousands of U.S. troops are working tirelessly, and at great risk to their own personal safety, to "bring meaningful democracy to Iraq."
But it's also remarkable because it shows that even a die-hard leftist like Jensen -- someone who opposed not only our going after Saddam, but even our toppling the Taliban after 9-11 -- agrees that "the people of Iraq are better off without Saddam."
A fine sentiment, Professor, but Saddam was not about to leave on his own. He was a dictator for life, and nothing short of U.S. military intervention would have done the trick.
And it did. We removed Saddam with great rapidity and success. His regime fell in record time; while Bush's swaggering appearance on an aircraft carrier with a "Mission Accomplished" banner spread behind him reeked of hubris, it was in fact a mission that had been accomplished: Saddam Hussein no longer ruled Iraq. A few months later, he was famously pulled from his spider hole and now waits to stand trial by the very Iraqis he once oppressed.
Yet since Saddam's fall, loose-knit gangs of "insurgents" -- including ex-Baathists, anti-democracy Islamists, and foreign fighters from Iran, Syria, and elsewhere -- have continued to attack American troops and Iraqi civillians alike with a bloody wave of bombings, decapitations, and shootings. And as the toll of American and Iraqi casualties mounts, the Left knows who to blame: Bush.
Why not blame the actual people who are carrying out these terrorist attacks?
Why do we do not hear the Left cry out: "Damn those insurgents! If only they would cease their pointless attacks, Iraqis could live in peace and freedom, and our troops could come home."
The answer seems to be that Left views the insurgents as a force of nature, not as a group of individual human beings capable of making moral decisions. The terrorist who bombs a police station or beheads an elderly relief worker is not to blame for his actions -- it's just a given that he'll turn to violence when Americans are afoot, as surely as the night follows the day.
So instead of despising the insurgency for launching a needless murder spree, the Left blames Bush for stirring up trouble. We didn't have to go into Iraq, goes the thinking. We could have stayed home, after all.
To me, this seems about as right as blaming a rape vicitm for walking by herself late at night: She was asking for trouble, walking around like that. She could have stayed home.
I doubt you'd hear such an argument from the likes of Prof. Jensen. The correct response to the crime of rape is to punish the rapist. And the correct response to the insurgency is to crush it decisively -- not to attack Bush for having done the right thing by removing Saddam.