The foreign policy of the Democratic Party is one of deliberate weakness: distrust America, trust the "world," and keep one of Uncle Sam's arms tied behind his back. Al Gore blurted this policy out in his wild speech this week when he quoted approvingly a liberal Israeli judge's mindless piety that although "a democracy must often fight with one hand tied behind its back, it nonetheless has the upper hand."
Not for long. A party that worries about the rights of terrorists is not up to defeating them. The Democrats sound ready to send the ACLU into Iraq's prisons alongside the Red Cross.
Photographs seem to bring out the soft-on-crime, soft-on-terrorism instincts of the Democrats. The nation hasn't seen this much childish, hysterical emoting since the photographs of Rodney King. That obsession led the Democrats to fret more about the rights of criminals than cops. Now the Abu Ghraib photos have the Democrats demanding that the U.S. military operate like a one-armed LAPD.
The party patterns of the Cold War era reappear in this one. The Democrats basically want a policy of detente toward Islamic terrorism. They are no more useful in the war on militant Islam than they were in the war on Soviet communism. At best, many of them fought the war on communism not to win but to tie. They feared American "dominance" under Ronald Reagan. His Star Wars program was out of the question for them because it would eliminate the "parity" between America and the USSR ensured by the doctrine of mutually assured destruction. (To this day, they remain opposed to ballistic missile defense lest America gain an "offensive" advantage over the world.) John Kerry talked of a "nuclear freeze," and some Democrats just straightforwardly advocated the solution of surrender -- unilateral disarmament -- invoking the sort of faux-pious solemnities Gore quoted on Wednesday.
What they said about Ronald Reagan -- he was a dangerous Christian with no right to call the Soviet Union "an evil empire," a provoker of communist expansionism, an arrogant and undiplomatic bumpkin burning bridges to the world -- they now say about Bush in this war. The Democrats say they are not drawing a moral equivalence between the terrorists and the Bush administration, but they obviously are. From Gore's "Bush's gulag" babble to Teddy Kennedy's lunge at Bush for reopening Hussein's torture chambers, the vocabulary of moral equivalence lingers in the language of the Democratic Party.
Gore's speech exposed another old habit of the Dems from the Cold War years: liberals seeking to understand the most illiberal ideologies on earth while regarding the culture protecting them from tyranny as tyrannical itself. The Joe Wilsons talk about the fascist regime of George Bush while luxuriating and guffawing on Comedy Central's couch. How long would they survive in the Islamic lands they weep for? Gore managed to blame the Abu Ghraib scandal -- not on the libertine culture that the Clinton ethos accelerated (Bill Clinton evidently applied the Tailhook convention, not Geneva convention, to Kathleen Willey) -- but on evangelical Christian America. Somewhere along the line the abstinence educators in the Bush administration dropped their aversion to sadomasochistic orgies for the sake of indulging their hatred of Islam.
Gore: "One of the Generals in charge of this war policy went on a speaking tour in his spare time to declare before evangelical groups that the U.S. is in a holy war as 'Christian Nation battling Satan.' This same General Boykin was the person who ordered the officer who was in charge of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay to extend his methods to Iraq detainees, prisoners. The testimony from the prisoners is that they were forced to curse their religion. Bush used the word 'crusade' early on in the war against Iraq...Ameen Saeed al-Sheikh told the Washington Post that he was tortured and ordered to denounce Islam and after his leg was broken one of his torturers started hitting it while ordering him to curse Islam and then, 'they ordered me to thank Jesus that I'm alive.' Others reported that they were forced to eat pork and drink alcohol."
(Gore forgot to mention that other act of multicultural insensitivity to Muslim males -- Janis Karpinski serving as their warden. Oh, that's right: having women guard Muslim men is a Clinton-era policy, so that's "democracy" Gore will permit Bush to spread.)
Gore's advanced stage of political dementia is a metaphor for the mindlessness of his party's defense policies.