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The Article

Vladimir Lenin coined the apt phrase “useful idiots” to describe those living in western democracies who made common cause with his Bolshevik politics.

He understood them well, held them in contempt while exploiting their despicable naivete and self-loathing for propaganda purposes of the gulag he made of Russia, and his successors from Stalin to Gorbachev served as chief wardens.

Similarly, Mao Zedong of China had his legion of useful idiots, such as the American journalist Edgar Snow, justifying his sadism as a display of earth-shaking statesmanship.

Mao’s most recent biographers, Jung Chan and Jon Halliday, in a massive tome of impeccable scholarship, have given us the inside view of a China where people were raped, starved and murdered systematically.

Mao surpassed Stalin and Hitler—it is some record to reflect upon—to become, in Jung Chan’s words, “the biggest mass murderer in the history of the world.” The number of Chinese who perished in Mao’s China exceeded 70 million.

In a free society, as in nature, aberration is not uncommon. “Useful idiots” are aberrations in a democratic society, frequently seditious, and a reminder that freedom has costs free people must bear vigilantly.

The recent anti-war demonstrations in Washington and elsewhere are comprised of the useful idiots of our time, who make common cause with bloody-minded insurgents determined to derail the difficult transition of Iraq, from tyranny to freedom.

Their public representatives, such as British MP George Galloway and Michael Moore, the duplicitous American filmmaker, openly embrace “jihadist” insurgents—the fanatical dregs of the Arab-Muslim world—colluding with former Baathists loyal to Saddam Hussein.

Galloway is on record stating: “It can be said, truly said, that the Iraqi resistance is not just defending Iraq. They are defending all the Arabs and they are defending all the people of the world against American hegemony.”

In the excuse of opposing war, these useful idiots defend mass murderers, trade in conspiracy theories and spurn democratic societies by being obsequious to despots.

At the very same time these useful idiots gathered together last month to display their wretched time-worn politics of anti-war, making fools of their apologists in the lib-left media, Jalal Talabani of the emergent Iraq was attending the annual United Nations summit in New York.

Talabani is an Iraqi Kurd, a social democrat by conviction, a lifelong opponent of Saddam and a genuine hero of freedom-loving Iraqis. He was voted president by the first freely elected Iraqi parliament.

In a column published by The Wall Street Journal on the day he appeared in New York, Talabani addressed those who continue to be skeptics about Iraq and its future.

He wrote: “Without foreign intervention, the transition in Iraq would have been from Saddam’s bloodstained hands to his psychopathic offspring. Instead, thanks to American leadership, Iraqis have been given an opportunity of peaceful, participatory politics. Contrary to the new conventional wisdom, Iraq and the history of 20th-century Europe demonstrate that force of arms can implant democracy in the most arid soil.”

Despite the insurgency, he said, Iraq held an open election last January, “has a democratically elected head of state, government and Parliament” and “members of the most repressed ethnic groups now hold the highest offices of state.”

These came about, Talabani reminded everyone, as “a result of the courage and vision of President (George) Bush and his allies, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard, leaders whose commitment of troops to enforce UN Security Council resolutions liberated Iraq.”

The useful idiots embracing insurgency in Iraq want, instead, to reverse history’s forward march into freedom there, and elsewhere, consistent with their record.

Salim Mansur
Latest posts by Salim Mansur (see all)

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