“The Nation” Finds Its Courage Once the Danger’s Past

Better late than never, I guess…

Everything that needs to be known is now [now? — ] known: The reasons the Bush Administration gave for the American war in Iraq were all falsehoods or deceptions, and every day the U.S. occupation continues deepens the very problems it was supposed to solve. Therefore there can no longer be any doubt: The war — an unprovoked, unnecessary and unlawful invasion that has turned into a colonial-style occupation — is a moral and political catastrophe. As such it is a growing stain on the honor of every American who acquiesces, actively or passively, in its conduct and continuation.

…In short, ending the Iraq War is the most pressing issue facing America today.…

The Nation therefore takes the following stand: We will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign. We urge all voters to join us in adopting this position.…

We firmly believe that antiwar candidates, with the other requisite credentials, can win the Congressional elections, the Democratic presidential primaries and the subsequent national election. But this fight, and our stand, must begin now [now? — ].

…There is no other way to save America’s security and honor. And to those Democratic “leaders” who continue to insist that the safer, more electable course is to remain openly or silently complicit in the war, we say, paraphrasing the moral philosopher Hillel: If not now, when? If not you, who?

It seems like it was only (oh… it was) when The Nation would “not only recommend a vote for [John Kerry] but do so with fervor” — a fervor accompanied, in the familiar liberal way, with impotent complaints:

This magazine’s disagreements with Kerry are deep and touch on fundamental matters. We believed that the invasion of Iraq was “the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time” (as he now describes it) before the war was ever launched; he has come to that conclusion only recently, having voted to authorize the war. We believe the United States should withdraw from Iraq; he wants to “win” the war there. We think the military budget should be cut; he plans to increase it, adding 40,000 troops. (For what, exactly? to fight another wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time?) We reject pre-emptive war; he embraces it.

It will be another full year before The Nation will have a chance to make its next endorsements. I fear that their new policy will prove to be a tidal one, ebbing in election years only to come back in strong waves of proud and stern prose in the years in-between.