Along the Tracks

Friday, January 03, 2003

A few liberal myths

Partisan commentators on the left continue to foist a few cherished myths on the American and world public. The sea change of 9/11 seems to have had little effect on these sniping babblers, willing to ignore facts and promote falsehoods, apparently for the sheer pleasure mudslinging may bring. The public appears to be less impressed today than in those self-centered days before 9/11. Nevertheless, the bombast continues. Some examples:
  • The United States has abandoned Afghanistan. Someone really needs to tell this to the Afghans, who seem overjoyed at America’s involvement and leadership. Back in October, I watched as the BBC’s Mishal Hussein badgered Afghanistan’s foreign minister, Abdullah Abdullah. Despite her best efforts, Abdullah’s report on American involvement one year after the first bombs fell was nothing short of glowing. He said the Afghan people were thankful for America’s actions, and the rest of the world should step up and meet its commitments as America had. Remember, Afghanistan had suffered over 20 years of war and brutality before America joined with local forces to clear out the latest oppressors and hand power over to the people. This is, of course, a process; setbacks are inevitable. But in every measurable - and even more importantly, immeasurable but obvious - way, Afghanistan is a better, safer, more hopeful and promising place than it was before America helped overthrow the Taliban/al Qaeda regime. The Left’s disgust with America and her power blinds it to the good effects U.S. involvement usually has on downtrodden people.
  • Bush is anti-consumer. The latest version of this myth can be found in this Helen Thomas rant. Thomas’ heartfelt defense of trial lawyers follows on the heels of other such laments for this poor, oppressed group. It’s fascinating to see, really: As a liberal, whose side do you choose? The millions who cannot afford health care or insurance because of the monstrous burden litigation and liability place on today’s system; or the trial lawyers who constitute among the largest of all Democratic campaign donors. For “liberals” such as Thomas, shorn of any conscience for improving the lot of the disadvantaged, the answer is easy: Defend the lawyers! She even defends “frivolous” lawsuits, apparently (or deliberately?) confusing rhetorical use of the word for its legal meaning - that the lawsuit is baseless and inactionable. So, despite her claim, “frivolous” lawsuits have not improved consumer protections through their favorable judgments; they were, in fact, never adjudicated. She provides a list of lawsuits she claims President Bush would call “frivolous” which have improved safety. None of them would be affected by the present reforms being sought. Nice try with the scare tactics, Helen. Better stick with the goofy hats and pointless press conference questions.
  • Israel is committing massacres and brutality against Palestinians. This is an old chestnut. “Twice (or three times or 3.84 times) as many Palestinians as Israelis have died in the current uprising.” The normally more thoughtful Washington Post trots this one out today, also pointing to allegations of brutality by the Israeli army. First, any brutality - particularly toward children - is rightly condemned, and should be investigated and prosecuted. It has no place in a democracy such as Israel’s (or our own). That said, the actual evidence of this “brutality” is limited, often hearsay, and played up for world consumption by a despicable Palestinian regime which commits far more brutality against its own people than the Israeli army ever has. It’s likely many of these beatings, tortures and shootings have in fact been perpetrated by Palestinian forces; Israel just gets the blame. That could be the reason so few Israeli soldiers are prosecuted in the end. Next, let’s look closer at the “death ratio” promulgated by liberals. It’s common practice when giving these numbers to include Palestinian militants, soldiers, terrorists and suicide bombers, along with civilians. Cut these combatants out of the equation, and the ratio becomes much closer to one-to-one. This despite (and in some ways, because of) the fact that Israel has to hunt down killers hiding among civilians. Israel’s decision to use ground troops for door-to-door operations, rather than merely bombing and shelling suspected hideouts, has cost that country many more soldiers than a more self-protective approach might; in this way, Israeli soldiers are actually laying down their lives to protect Palestinian civilians. Palestinians, on the other hand, are laying down their lives to kill Israeli civilians. There’s your lopsided balance. The Post finishes off its myopic piece by discounting Israeli successes: “Suicide bombings are less frequent, and beleaguered Palestinian militants are discussing the possibility of declaring an end to attacks inside Israel.” Yet, the Post opines, Sharon “and his army cannot give Israelis real security in this way, only a relative respite ....” After all the bloodshed, I’d bet Israelis would settle for a respite. For many of them, this is a “success.”

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