Liberals’ predictable response to Soleimani’s killing reveals the inherent paternalism of their political correctness. It goes beyond habitual hypocrisy to a skewed world view. This does not just allow them to deliberately differentiate treatment of groups, it requires it.
As soon as the announcement that Iran’s top terrorist had been killed by a U.S. drone
strike in Iraq, liberals’ “concerns” followed. The Pentagon statement’s opening “at the direction of the president” was enough to guarantee them.
That Soleimani had been a blot on the earth and a dangerous enemy to America for decades were not enough to assuage the left’s angst. Nor, that he was behind the recent death of an American contractor, the two-day storming of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and hundreds of American deaths spanning years. Or, even that he has was the architect of Iran’s strategy to use surrogates to do their bloody global work for them.
Instead, liberals’ concerns run from the obvious to the ludicrous.
First, there was their faux offense over their members in Congress not being previously consulted. The obvious answer here is that you do not carry water in a sieve to put out a fire. Immediacy is essential, and the left’s treatment of anything resembling confidential information over the past three years argues against confidence in their confidentiality.
Second, they absurdly argue the strike was disproportionate. Instead, it was as proportionate as it was overdue. Soleimani belatedly got what he had doled out countless times to innocent victims — and which he was bent on doing again and again.
They also have wrung their hands that this constitutes an act of war that prompts escalation. To be clear, there were acts of war: By Iran. For almost two generations they have been engaged in them. America’s response was no more than a belated act of self-defense.
Of course, there is hypocrisy aplenty in the left’s concerns. Clearly, if Obama had done this — as he did in the less strategically important strike that killed Osama bin Laden — liberals would have at worst been silent. More likely, there would have been praise.
However, one element of liberals’ criticism stands out most tellingly. It is that, by killing Soleimani, America has raised the likelihood of escalating what largely had been a heretofore one-sided confrontation. This criticism sheds far more light on the left’s outlook on Iran, but also their worldview.
To be clear, Soleimani would have taken the same action on American personnel, if he possessed the means for doing so. Soleimani’s “restraint” was a factor of his inability. Killing Soleimani further reduces Iran’s ability.
Conversely, eschewing the opportunity to kill Soleimani would not contain escalation’s long-term (assuming Iran’s short-term “bluff and bluster” to save immediate face — and which appears to have resulted in its inadvertently downing a civilian aircraft in Tehran) risk at current levels, much less reduce it.
Yet in the left’s escalation concern is imbedded an implicit corollary: If America is to forego opportunities to protect itself, does that mean we must be willing to accept a certain degree of losses? Do we de facto have to tolerate “acceptable losses” as part of our engagement with Iran? Ignoring and downplaying them as inevitable.
From the core of the left’s political correctness, the answer is yes. It springs not just specifically from engagement with Iran, but from their general approach. Select groups are allowed to live under a different set of rules.
In the case of Iran, their irrational and inexcusable behavior (by prevailing global standards of civilized conduct) is seen through a different prism. They are oppressed by America. We are culturally insensitive. Our response is too harsh.
The left thereby renders Iran as the victim and their conduct is therefore excused. There is an inherent paternalism here. America does not understand, but our liberals do. Iran is not responsible.
Such a paternalistic approach is part and parcel of the left’s political correctness. It extends to virtually every subject they seize on. It goes well beyond simple hypocrisy, or political gamesmanship intended to once more blame President Trump for something. It lies at the very heart of liberals’ view.
Certain groups are victims. They are not responsible. We are responsible. They follow one set of rules. We must follow another. The left will tell us when justice is done.
The basis of the relationship between the two groups is always a transference of resources from the haves to the have nots. Many times it is financial — taxes, government spending, foreign aid. Other times it is rights — an action by the haves will be deemed racist, misogynist, etc. , while the same action by the have nots is justified as empowering and liberating.
Although the resource will vary, the transference is always the same: One way.
Soleimani’s justified and overdue death reveals just how divergent liberals are from the mainstream.
Nothing the administration could have done, short of not killing Soleimani and allowing Iran’s bloody status quo to prevail, would have satisfied them. It would not because liberals do not simply see the action differently, or even Iran differently. They see a bifurcated world of separate standards, meted out by their subjective politically correct template. Soleimani’s killing ran afoul of their view, and nothing was, or is, going to change that. Instead, they demand that America change.
J.T. Young served under President George W. Bush as the director of communications in the Office of Management and Budget and as deputy assistant secretary in legislative affairs for tax and budget at the Treasury Department. He served as a congressional staffer from 1987 through 2000.
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