This article originally appears in The American Thinker
There is a school of thought that believes the idea of loyalty to one’s country is a crass, outmoded concept not worthy of consideration by thinking people. Rather, loyalty if given at all, should be reserved for nebulous and ethereal entities like “humanity” or “the family of man.” International socialism has long advocated this global view of loyalty – except, of course, when the old Soviet Union was in trouble for one of its frequent deviations from civilized behavior. It was at this point that Moscow would crack the whip and leftists from Berlin, to London, to Los Angeles would dutifully parrot the party line, excusing the brutes in the Kremlin for all sorts of very unsocialist and inhuman atrocities.
Thankfully, this view of loyalty is not shared by the vast majority of citizens in the United States. Most Americans recognize the importance of loyalty to the government during a time of war when America’s sons and daughters are in harm’s way. This has never been more evident than when looking at how we view the war in Iraq.
According to the latest polls, barely 40% of the country approves of the way that President Bush is conducting the war in Iraq. But when asked if we should pull our troops out before the job of securing the country and helping the Iraqis achieve a stable, democratic government is complete fully two thirds of Americans say no. This slap in the face to the leftist narrative of how the American people see the war in Iraq seems to have been lost on this past weekend’s partygoers in Washington whose speakers continued to insist that the majority of the people opposed the war and wished the troops to come home.
Leave it to the left to never let the truth stand in the way of a good old fashioned Soviet-style propaganda campaign.
True, there are permutations within permutations in the poll numbers. One of the more remarkable tidbits to be found in these figures is the fact that the belief that the war was a “mistake” because no mass stockpiles of WMD were found has hovered near the 50% mark for more than a year. What makes it remarkable is that even though roughly half the nation thinks going into Iraq was an error, a sizable portion of those people also believe we should stay until the job is done.
The left would point to these Americans and call them confused. I think they should be congratulated for their loyalty. What the left sees as stupidity, I see typical American common sense. Most Americans – even those who opposed going to war in the first place – realize the dire consequences of a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq. The destabilization and possible collapse of the Iraqi government would place America in great danger and would be inimical to our national interest. This fact is so obvious that it calls into question why almost all of the speakers at the anti-war rally in Washington on Saturday called for the immediate withdrawal of American troops.
To understand why one need only look a little closer at the motley collection of socialists, anarchists, anti-globalists, pan-Arabists, post modern deconstructionists, one worlders, and racialists who descended on Washington for their moment in the media spotlight. If there’s one thing the tatterdemalion left has become over these last lost years since the fall of the Soviet Union it is publicity deprived. They are absolutely starved for media attention. Even the anarchists can’t have a decent riot that hardly rates a blurb in The Guardian. Part of the problem is the fractured nature of their “coalition.” The only way they could get the kind of numbers necessary to get anyone to pay any attention to them was by inviting everyone in the world who has a grudge against America.
Hence, most of the podium speakers at the rally were not there to solely promote an anti-war agenda but rather each had their own particular anti-American ax to grind. The racialists called for an end to racism. The tribalists called for an end to capitalism. The primitives called for an end to industrialized civilization. The greenies called for an end to everything else. Yes, they all paid lip service to the anti-war message that brought them together in the first place. But their real reason for bringing their followers to Washington was to garner support from the hard-left moneymen like George Soros and leftist PR gurus like David Fenton who is currently managing Cindy Sheehan’s race toward obscurity. A few dollars here and there gleaned from the Smart Set in Washington will at least keep the mimeograph machines going and pay the rent for a few more months.
Not surprisingly, there was very little talk of loyalty. When “patriotism” was brought up, we were continually assured that yes, these were indeed patriotic Americans who only wanted to exercise their right to dissent from government. Of that, I have little doubt. The question isn’t whether they are patriotic Americans, the questions is are they loyal Americans?
The two terms are related but not mutually exclusive. Patriotism is a feeling, a “love or devotion to one’s country.” Loyalty, by definition, is an action word. It is “allegiance to one’s country” or “faithfulness to one’s government.” Many a traitor has come and gone calling themselves “patriots.” Few would agree that they were being loyal.
How does the left get around this little non-sequitur? They huffily point out that they are being loyal to the “idea” of America or “American ideals.” Since these ideals were present at the founding of the nation, it is perhaps gratifying that so many on the left have finally embraced the idea of strict constructionism – at least when it becomes a convenient explanation for their perfidy in giving aid and comfort to an enemy that is shooting at American soldiers overseas.
For that is what the demonstrators in Washington forgot to mention in all their sloganeering and speechifying; the fact that the insurgents and terrorists in Iraq have only one chance to achieve their goal of overthrowing the Iraqi government and gaining power. And that is only if America walks away before the job is done.
They are hoping that history repeats itself and America abandons an ally to its fate as a result of both timid policy makers and domestic opposition to the war. And since this hope is all that the insurgents have to go on (for they can never defeat the US military on the field of battle), leftist opposition to the war can only be judged as disloyalty. They can call themselves patriots if they want. There is no way we can look into their souls and judge their love or hate for the United States. But we can certainly judge their loyalty based on their actions – actions that have the practical affect of encouraging the insurgents in Iraq to up the body count of Americans to test the mettle of our citizenry to stay the course until the job is well and truly done.
As the democratic process in Iraq moves forward in fits and starts and the Iraqi people slowly and cautiously march toward an uncertain future that may yet include sectarian violence and other setbacks in achieving national unity, the need for our troops to stay and assist them in this historic task will remain great. And to sustain our elected leaders in this hard, slogging task with our loyalty will become more and more critical as time goes by. It no doubt is the greatest test of our fealty to the United States government that many of us will ever have. But it will be absolutely necessary for us to win through to total victory and bring our sons and daughters home in triumph.