Especially when they are bearing gifts. George Will pens an approving and quote-rich column about Peter Beinert’s new book, *The Good Fight: Why Liberals — and Only Liberals — Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again.* Beinert, in Will’s fawning presentation, rejects the progressive label in favor of believe it or not “liberal.” But this is liberal in a new sense: the hawkish anti-terror liberal, not the Saddam-loving, Bin Laden-excusing Michael Moore style liberal:
>But while excoriating the Bush administration for perhaps “creating exactly the condition the conservatives have long feared: An America without the will to fight,” Beinart’s most important contribution is to confront the doughface liberals who rejoice about the weakening of that will. Reading liberals who seem to think they “have no enemies more threatening, or more illiberal, than George W. Bush,” Beinart worries that Deaniac liberals are taking over the Democratic Party much as McGovernite liberals did after 1968. He discerns the “patronizing quality” of many liberals’ support for John Kerry in 2004: They “weren’t supporting Kerry because he had served in Vietnam. They were supporting him because they believed other, more hawkish, voters would support him because he had served in Vietnam.”
It’s fun to question people’s motives, but it’s impolite to confuse the motives imputed to them. So while many liberals may perhaps share the satisfaction of having been right about Iraq and Afghanistan from the very beginning, this does not mean (1) that they are gleeful over the damage that has been done to America, and more perniciously, (2) that they brought it about or desired it. The current weakening of America’s standing in the world was one of the arguments *against* silly saber rattling and thinly justified foreign misadventures, not the desired outcome. Taking them to task for having been right all along, as is the current fashion among those who were wrong all along, is like blaming mathematics for your inability to add.
One final point, the oft repeated meme that liberals disdain military service has never been borne out by the facts. A simple survey of leading democrats (vs. Republicans) who actually served their country should dispel this view.