Why, for two distinct groups of Americans, has it become a matter of conviction held with religious intensity that there cannot have been any relationship between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq?
So why do these Democrats and these government professionals seem to have such a conviction that there must have been no collaboration between al-Qaida and Saddam? The Democrats fear that more Americans would support Bush and the war effort if they believed there was. The career professionals, with their many years of training in the subtleties of the Middle East, have developed a vested interest in the notion that religious Wahhabis like al-Qaida could never collaborate with a secular tyrant like Saddam. If alliances could be formed across religious lines, what use would all their learning be?
Going back to the days before our military action in Iraq, it would have been irresponsible for any president to have assumed that there was no relationship between al-Qaida and Iraq, given previous contacts between them and their proven hostility to the United States. President Clinton, responsibly, did not assume that, and neither did President Bush.
It is not just on this issue that this brick wall of solid denial is present. You can see it in every conviction held by the Democrats related to the Iraqi war. In an earlier post, ON DENIAL, I stated:
Certainly denial can be used by anyone; and both sides of the political spectrum engage in it-- Democrats or Republicans; Left or Right. But the most recent example, and the one with the most serious implications is the continued denial of reality on the part of Democrats and the Left regarding Iraq.
The examples of their unwillingness to face reality are everywhere. They pretend they didn't vote for military action. They distort what was actually said and even when confronted with audiotapes and transcripts of what was said; they continue to deny that they meant any such thing. When confronted with what Bush or Cheney actually said about the reasons for going to war; they will insistently adhere to an interpretation that fits their template.
Their denial is complete on this issue. It is simply not possible for them to admit that Bush was correct and they were wrong. This is unacceptable knowledge. Bush must be wrong, and America must fail for them to maintain not only their self-esteem, but also their worldview.
Remember what purpose of psychological denial serves:
Denial is an attempt to reject unacceptable feelings, needs, thoughts, wishes--or even a painful external reality that alters the perception of ourselves. This psychological defense mechanism protects us temporarily from:
-Knowledge (things we don’t want to know)
-Insight or awareness that threatens our self-esteem; or our mental or physical health; or our security (things we don't want to think about)
-Unacceptable feelings (things we don’t want to feel)
The Democrats and the left have resorted to this psychological defense mechanism repeatedly since 9/11. Their desperate hope is that they will wake up and it will be 9/10 again and all they have to worry about is undermining that upstart Bush who stole the election from them. In fact, that appears to be ALL that they worry about, as they--with the help of the MSM--manufacture "crisis" after "crisis" with which to attack the despised administration.
Denial is a river, and it runs through the Democratic Party; giving them the illusion that their lack of ideas and oppositional agenda is working to their advantage.
I had a patient once who flatly denied that he had a problem with alcohol and insisted that he could stop drinking any time he wanted. He just didn't see the need to alter his behavior in any way; and was exceedingly angry at me for suggesting that his actions and symptoms were indicative of a very serious problem. He preferred to believe that I was "overreacting". His denial was a strategy that worked to his advantage in the short term--at least insofar as he didn't have to face any uncomfortable truths about either his behavior or his attitude; nor did he have to change anything in his lifestyle.
Sadly, in the long term, the denial about his situation wasn't all that helpful to him since he died of liver failure within a year.
But that is the nature of psychological denial. Short-term emotional relief bought sometimes at the expense of long-term physical survival.
In the case of the Democrats, their short-term emotional satisfaction is being bought at the expense of the long-term survival of their country.