To Howard Dean, it doesn’t much matter that we captured Saddam Hussein or that we toppled his murderous and despotic regime. Here are some other things that haven’t mattered to Dean-style Democrats over the years.
It didn’t matter whether we abandoned Southeast Asia. The old regimes were corrupt and would not be missed. No bloodbath or repression would ensue.
It didn’t matter whether we abandoned the Shah of Iran. The Shah was a repressive U.S. puppet. Those religious fellas couldn’t be any worse.
It didn’t matter whether Communists were in control of Nicaragua. The contras were nasty right-wingers. The Sandanistas were dashing reformers.
It didn’t matter that there was nothing to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons other than its promise not to do so. The cost of confronting North Korea was high. Madeline Albright had established a good relationship with its leader.
Notice how, in each instance, the liberals started with a valid premise, but ended up embracing an absurdity. In this process they were driven by a deadly combination of the desire to take the path of least resistance and the desire to strike a moral pose (to stand against that which is corrupt, repressive, or nasty), without engaging in the unpleasant task of weighing alternatives and consequences.
Dean’s position on Saddam falls easily within this tradition. That’s why I don’t expect Democratic voters to punish him for it.
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