It's All Our Fault
Walzer's analysis is a strong one. The Bush administration has botched many things, but large numbers of Americans go along with the president because he displays what the left apparently cannot: moral clarity and seriousness about what must be done. When the ideas of the left come into view, the themes often include the closing of Guantánamo, attacks on the Patriot Act, opposition to military recruitment on campuses, casual mockery of patriotism (a whole art exhibit in Baltimore was devoted to the theme), and a failure to admit that defeating terrorism will require some trade-offs between security and civil liberties. Is this a serious program? Real security, Walzer says, will depend on hunting down terrorist cells, cutting off the flow of money, and improving surveillance at key sites. He writes: "The burden is on us--nobody else--to make the case that these things can be done effectively by liberals and leftists who will also, in contrast to today's Republicans, defend the civil liberties of American citizens." Good argument. How will the left respond?
To hear some on the left tell it, terrorism is exactly what the West deserves for its many sins.