I can’t resist ranting about Orrin Judd going off the rails again in his view of WWIV. The money quote is —
He [Pope Benedict XVI] wasn’t wrong about Islam, but about Christianity. We’re crusading there—they aren’t jihading here. […] We’re overthrowing their regimes and dictating the terms of their new orders according to our standards.
It’s another illustration of how Judd is really a Leftist, with a few polarities reversed. Just as it’s a big mistake to view the current conflict as being completely secular, it’s wrong to think of it in purely religious terms. American foreign policy tends stongy to the morally pragmatic, i.e. doing good that is good for the USA. The idea that we invaded Iraq as a crusade is wrong in two major respects.
First is that apparent view that the USA changed the regime Iraq simply because the Ba’ath regime was evil. One need only look at all the other evil regimes around the planet that we ignore (particulary in Africa — consider Sudan and Zimbabwe). The entire run up to the war involved discussion of whether the Ba’ath regime was a threat to the USA and what kind of threat. That’s not kind of talk that’s used on a moral crusade. The evil of the regime took a clear back seat. It may that President Bush acted out of purely moral considerations, but unless that is the public basis of his arguments (which it wasn’t) it’s an irrelevancy.
Second is the related point that the fundamental basis for the current war is the aggression of the Islamic world. Had the Middle East left the USA alone and just sold us oil, we would have tolerated just about any sort of regime (a moment’s thought of our relationship with the Saudi Entity demonstrates this). It is only when actions such as invading an American ally (Kuwait - note how we handled the Iran-Iraq war in contrast) or attacks on Americans (I think something went on a few years ago on 11 Sep which might be related). This is a particuarly hilarious point of view for Judd to take, as he posts repeated on the “pre-11 Sep attitude” of the MAL. That attack demonstrated nothing about the morality of the regimes we are now fighting, only that they were a danger to the USA. Any change of attitude would stem domestic security issues, not crusading moralism.
This is not to say that the American Street doesn’t like a good dose of crusading mixed in with its power politics. But even if moralism is the engine, domestic security is the ignition system.
I think this is all an artifact of Judd being unable to accept the existence of Shi’ite organzations that are enemies of the USA (e.g., Hizb’allah and the Iranian mullahocracy) and that there is not a moral equivalence between such organizations and the USA. It’s simply his version of “no enemies on the Left”.