A MORAL IMPERATIVE, INDEED. To add to Matt's point about John Kerry's op-ed today, I expected that there would be far more interest throughout the liberal blogosphere in the current Los Angeles Times series on wounded soldiers. The series has been extraordinary, a powerful and graphic illustration of Kerry's insistence that keeping the soldiers there without a serious effort to resolve the politics is "immoral."
The series is reminiscent of the televised images of Vietnam that eventually eroded public support for that war -- a type of imagery that the Bush administration has largely been successful in suppressing, with its efforts to bar photographs of returning coffins and so on. The liberal web rightly jumped all over Bush and company for those efforts, and so now that more horrifying and unvarnished imagery of the war is getting through -- now that the truth is getting through, in other words -- you'd think more liberal commentators would be all over it. After all, this was a courageous thing for the LA Times to do, particularly now in the face of the GOP's campaign to scapegoat the press for Iraq.
It's also eye-opening to read through the comments that the series has been generating -- there's far less of the usual "media-aids-and-abets-our-enemies" humbug than you'd expect, and a great deal of expressions of profound anguish and moral revulsion at what the troops are being put through. My bet is there's a real opening here for Democrats and liberal commentators to better tap into the sense of moral anguish that millions of Americans feel right now about Iraq, by speaking more forcefully in moral terms about this dreadful situation and about our duty to the young men and women mired in it. People are craving not just "competent" leadership, to use the Dems' favorite word of late, but moral leadership as well. It would be politically smart as a shield against the right's "Dems-don't-support-the-troops" flim-flammery, and even better, it would be the right thing to do.
And incidentally, in an era when so much political commentary is cynical process and horse-race analysis, The American Prospect isn't afraid to speak in moral terms -- yet another reason why you should subscribe today.