The Left Doesn’t Hate America

Max Sawicky has what strikes me as a quite eloquent defense of “the left” against the charge of being somehow sympathetic with fundamentalist terrorism, or thinking that the US somehow “had it coming.”

On the other hand, Max’s blog also has an extended quote from Tom Hayden that would sound like self-parody if it didn’t sound so much like the real thing.

The litmus test for political bravery at present is whether one questions the framework of the war on terrorism. Progressives might still disagree about whether a U.S. military response against al-Qaida was justified, but all can agree that while seeking to demobilize al-Qaida is one thing, using September 11 as a pretext for an open-ended war leading to a new empire is, to say the least, a policy requiring debate. Even if one supports the right of U.S. self-defense against al-Qaida, there should be broad consensus on the need for congressional hearings and oversight. Patriotism should not mean the restoration of the imperial presidency.

Isn’t that “even if ” just too perfect? It will no doubt greatly relieve you to know that Hayden, from his lofty moral eminence, is willing to consider, just as a possiblity, that we had a right to take military action against the murderers of 3000 of our people. But sitting safely in Santa Monica, he can’t resist preening himself on the “political bravery” required to say exactly what all his friends want to hear.

Someone ought to construct a master list of People We’ve Heard Just About Enough Out Of, Thank You. Hayden and Ralph Nader, each of them responsible for tipping a close election the wrong way and neither of them repentant, would be two of my leading candidates.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: