Sunday, April 20, 2003

Opinion Roundup

Francis Fukuyama advocates a withdrawal of US troops from Saudi Arabia as a matter of housekeeping in the era of post-Saddam Iraq today in OpinionJournal. Since this is the zenith of our strength for the time being, we should remove our troops now rather than at a time when it might appear to be out of weakness or capitulation.

In the Weekly Standard, two pieces examine the political winners and losers resulting from the successful execution of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Joel Kotlin and Fred Siegel include Al Sharpton and the Congressional Black Caucus among the losers for their lack of support of the war. Additionally, mainstream religious groups such as the National Council of Churches, the United Methodists, the United Church of Christ, the Episcopalians, and the Presbyterians have found themselves on the wrong side of an enterprise that liberated a country. Even the pope, who was so supportive of liberal democracy in the Cold War, consistently opposed action against Iraq. Catholic lay groups, however, and especially Latinos tended to support the war, and their opinions will have more authority in the future as a result. Left-leaning academics, the mainstream or "prestige" media, and, of course, Hollywood round out the losers.

In addition to Catholic lay groups, winners include conservative-leaning Jews, the heartland of America, and even Shia clerics.

David Brooks, observer of such characters as the "Bobo" and "Patio Man," shifts his gaze to "Joey Tabula Rasa," a college student whose opinions are forming quickly. Joey's tabula is being inscribed by an American government that can protect its citizens effectively and conduct wars on the basis of moral principle, the French who appear to be pusillanimous, the American soldier who appears noble, the terrorists who appear to be out of their minds and teach Joey that he should always be alert, a group of progressive Republicans who are energetic and principled, and a group of conservative Democrats who, though they may serve as a useful break on the progressives, are fundamentally pessimistic and who have been proven wrong by recent events. Joey will not understand "progressive" and "conservative" as did previous generations.


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