On May 27, 2004, Robert Alt, a conservative commentator, wrote The Liberals' Creed for the Ashbrook Center's Web site. The article can be found at the following link:
This is my response to Mr. Alt's essay. His words are cited in red.
Mr. Alt is uniquely unfit to speak for any liberals anywhere. He is a former liason for the neoconservative Heritage Foundation, worked for the right-wing Center for Individual Rights, and was a member of the staff of Judge Robert Bork. He now owns a conservative political consulting firm. Mr. Alt obviously has a large conservative axe to grind, and his writings reflect that. For him to pretend that he knows what liberals believe, and to present his thoughts as such, is ridiculous and a deliberate attempt at misleading his readers.
As is often the case with conservative screeds such as Mr. Alt's, there are small kernels of truth, or half-truth, wrapped in large amounts of deliberate mistruths and deceptions. To directly answer Mr. Alt's statements:
We believe in the United Nations, and Kofi Annan, the maker of international legitimacy.
Most liberals believe that the United Nations is the organization best suited for interventions such as Iraq's, but Mr. Alt's phrasing suggests that there is some kind of religious or spiritual context to this belief. Such an intimation is ludicrous. The UN is most likely to confer international legitimacy on a regime change such as Iraq's, but its involvement in no way guarantees success. The UN is an organization of individual nations. The actions of the UN can only be as successful as its member nations can allow. Kofi Annan is merely the UN's Secretary-General, not some godlike being with superhuman capabilities.
We believe that the UN inspections worked.
According to UN inspectors such as Hans Blix and Scott Ritter, as well as the head of the IAEA, Mohammed ElBaradei, and even US-appointed inspectors such as David Kay, the inspections were working quite well until they were stopped by American fiat. Virtually all of the WMDs that Iraq possessed were destroyed in the years following the first Gulf War by inspection teams. Had those teams been allowed to continue their work, it is probable that they would have eliminated the last remnants of Iraq's WMDs, even in the face of Iraq's well-documented interference.
We believe that SCUD missiles fired at U.S. troops minutes after the war began don't change anything; We believe that 3 liters of sarin gas used against U.S. troops doesn't change anything; We believe that finding evidence of mustard gas doesn't change anything.
Mr. Alt, your first statement is specious. We invaded Iraq without a declaration of war. We launched tremendous missile strikes at Iraqi targets. In the first hours of our attack, we killed hundreds of Iraqi troops as well as hundreds of innocent Iraqi citizens. Is it reasonable to expect that Iraq wouldn't counterattack with the weapons at hand? Is it reasonable to expect the Iraqi government not to attempt to inflict casualties on its enemy? It is even more significant that there were only a handful of aging, barely flight-worthy Scuds fired at US targets. If Iraq was the military powerhouse as described by the Bush administration, why didn't it fire more missiles at the US forces? Why didn't Hussein use those vaunted WMDs to defend his regime? As for the sarin gas attack, while that is an area of real concern, the fact that in over a year of occupation of Iraq, that the single canister of sarin is the only one the insurgents have attempted to use against US forces is significant. It is likely that the gas was far too old to have caused serious damage; though the amount was theoretically enough to cause widespread damage, when the shell exploded, no one was killed and only two soldiers were treated for exposure. The discovery of the mustard gas cache was a similar event. This was an old cache of chemical weapons of doubtful efficacy, left over from before the Gulf War. We have always known that the Hussein regime possessed such chemical weapons. We helped Hussein obtain such weapons. To act surprised and indignant that remnants of Hussein's chemical weapons programs are now being located is foolish. Since Mr. Alt is patently not a fool, then he is trying to whip up outrage at an event that should have been regarded as a matter of course.
We believe that the war in Iraq conducted by a Republican president was unjustified because it lacked UN approval; We believe that the "military action" in Kosovo conducted by a Democratic president was justified without UN approval.
Most liberals believe that the war against Iraq was unjustified with or without UN approval. Iraq posed no threat to America. The Hussein regime was virtually powerless and well contained by US and British forces patrolling Iraq's northern and southern no-fly zones. The stories of WMDs being readied to strike at American targets, the tales of unmanned aerial vehicles loaded with chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons poised to launch at America's cities, the stories of rogue Iraqi vessels prowling the oceans looking for the opportunity to attack American shores, the stories of Iraq's incipient nuclear weapons program, the assertions that Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks, all were outright lies. If there was a compelling reason for the United States to attack Iraq, then the Bush administration should not have had to string together a compendium of lies to present to the American people, to the UN, and to the world as justification for its invasion. As for the Kosovo intervention, Mr. Alt knows full well that it happened as part of a UN effort to bring peace to the Balkans. I'm sure that Mr. Alt grinds his teeth over the fact that, unlike Bush's unilateral, pre-emptive strike at Iraq, Clinton's intervention in Kosovo was largely successful.
We believe that the Iraq war was unilateral. We believe that the participation of Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Ukraine does not change the fact that the war was unilateral; We believe that multilateralism can only be achieved with the participation of France and Germany; We believe in multilateralism.
Yes, most liberals do believe in some sort of multilateralism. Most moderates and conservatives -- but not neoconservatives or the most warlike conservative hawks -- believe in multilateralism of one sort or another. Aside from the participation of Great Britain, the participation of most all of the countries listed above has been token at best and in most cases in direct opposition to the will of the peoples of those countries. Many of these countries joined the coalition only after direct economic pressure from the United States. It is now becoming apparent that even Great Britain, the US's main ally in the Iraq occupation, counseled against direct military intervention against Iraq, and that Britain only went along with the US after the Bush administration made it clear that it was determined to conduct a military invasion of Iraq with the express purpose of overthrowing the Hussein regime. Many of the countries listed above are now reconsidering their participation, and in several cases, are actively pulling out of the so-called "coalition of the willing." In 1990, the US had the support of NATO, the United Nations, and many Arab states. This has not been the case in the current occupation. Most countries are dead set against the coalition's occupation of Iraq.
We believe that this war was motivated by greed and oil; We believe that when France, Germany, and Russia opposed the war, they were motivated by principle, and not by sweetheart oil deals or Oil-For-Food kickbacks; We believe that US oil prices are too high, and that the administration failed in its responsibility to do something about it.
It is very clear that one of the main reasons for this war was for the profiteering of corporations like Halliburton and several US oil conglomerates. It is ingenuous to say that France, Germany, and Russia do not have their own agendas and follow courses of action that serve their own purposes; however, the opposition of these countries is not only because of concerns for their own economic gain, but at least in part because their governments oppose, and continue to oppose, unilateral military strikes against countries such as Iraq that do not pose direct threats to the security of other countries. While few of us outside the oil companies' executive suites and their allies in the Bush administration know the real reasons why gas prices are suddenly soaring out of control, it is known that the profits of companies like Exxon and Unocal are breaking records almost daily. This administration has deep and intimate connections to the oil and energy industries; the fact that the administration has done nothing to curb the rise in oil prices gives one reason to believe that the price spikes are happening with the tacit approval of the administration.
We believe that the U.S. may only legitimately use force for humanitarian ends in one place if it does so in all places where aid might be needed; We believe that the U.S. may not quell threats in places where the cost is relatively low unless it is willing to use force in places like North Korea, where the cost in lives would likely be very high; We believe that a humanitarian action is only truly humanitarian if there are no strategic interests to muddle the altruism.
The rationale that the US invaded Iraq and toppled the Hussein regime for humanitarian reasons only became part of the Bush administration's explanation after the rationale of Iraqi WMDs proved to be lies. While the rationale of overthrowing a government that oppresses its people is one that can be used to justify military action against such a government, if the Bush administration believed that these regimes all should be toppled, it would be moving against regimes all over the world instead of forming economic and social alliances with them. Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia are only two countries with which the Bush administration has forged close alliances; these two countries have humanitarian records every bit as bad as the Hussein government. The decision to use military force against countries for humanitarian reasons is always a difficult one, but the concept of "pure altruism" rarely comes into play at any time. There are always strategic and economic interests with which to be concerned. In this case, the Bush administration is using the rationale of "humanitarian involvement" as an excuse for an invasion that it has always wanted to perform.
We believe that President Bush lied. We believe that Prime Minister Blair lied. We believe that when Hillary Clinton and Dick Gephardt voted for the war based on the same intelligence relied upon by Bush and Blair, they made reasonable decisions based on the intelligence available at the time.
It is established fact that Bush and Blair have both lied extensively and systematically about Iraq and the rationales for war. They continue to maintain those lies even in the face of a staggering set of facts that prove their assertions were lies. As for Clinton, Gephardt, and other Democrats such as Kerry who voted for the war, they believed that the intelligence presented to them was true; only later did they realize that much of what was presented to them were lies and misrepresentations. They also believed the Bush guarantees that war with Iraq was going to be the absolute last option; they took him at his word. They did not realize that once Congress gave Bush their blessings to move militarily against Iraq if he saw the need, that he would use those "blessings" as the final bit of authorization he needed to carry out the invasion that his administration had already conceived, planned, and begun to carry out. And in some cases -- Joe Lieberman springs to mind, although there are others -- some Congressional Democrats did, and still do, support the war.
We believe that the administration did not make the case for war; We believe that the administration offered many different reasons but could not offer a coherent message explaining the need to go to war; We believe that the administration made perfectly clear that the only reason we were going to war was because of the threat from WMDs.
The overwhelming reason for the war as presented to the American people, and to the world in general, was because we were told there was a grave and immediate threat from Iraqi WMDs. This has now been shown to be false. The most memorable example was the February 2003 presentation to the UN by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who strung together a stupendous amalgamation of lies, half-truths, doctored evidence, and precious few facts to convince the UN, and the American people, that an immediate threat existed. We now know that there was no such threat. Similarly, the Bush administration has continued to insist that Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, an assertion that almost immediately was proven false. We now know that not only did Iraq's government have nothing to do with the attacks, but our invasion and occupation of Iraq has played directly into the hands of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. The rationale for war has long been disproven.
We believe that there were no WMDs. We believe that finding sarin gas is 14th page news; We believe that if the sarin gas is old, then it really isn't a WMD we were looking for; We believe that it wasn't really sarin gas; We believe that sarin gas isn't necessarily a WMD.
We know that virtually all of the WMDs formerly possessed by Iraq were destroyed either during the Gulf War or in subsequent actions by teams of UN inspectors. We are fairly certain that the sarin gas canister used in the IED attack on US troops was a leftover from the 1980s; we do know that even though it exploded, it had little effect on the troops in the area. While sarin gas can, indeed, be classified as a WMD, the small, aged, and deteriorated amounts possessed by Iraq wasn't enough to pose a threat to anyone, much less the United States. One aspect of chemical and biological weapons that has been systematically downplayed by the Bush administration is their relative lack of effectiveness outside of the immediate area where they are released, and their relatively short shelf life. Any poison gases or biotoxins still in the possession of Iraqi insurgents are probably less dangerous than the conventional weapons being used against US troops on a daily basis.
We believe that there was no terrorist connection to, or threat from, Iraq.
We know that Iraq actively opposed religious extremist terrorist groups, and that the Hussein regime only carried out terrorist attacks against members of its own populace, and a few attacks against Iraqi exiles out of country. Whatever else the Hussein regime was, it was actually a tacit ally of the US against Islamic terrorism perpetuated by such groups as al-Qaeda.
We believe that members of Abu Nidal in Iraq would not have committed terrorist acts if we had not invaded; We believe that al-Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would not have committed terrorist acts if we had not invaded; We believe that Saddam's terrorist training camp at Salman Pak -- complete with a Boeing 707 plane used for hijacking drills -- did not exist or posed no real threat; We believe that it was merely a coincidence that the pharmaceutical factory bombed by President Clinton in Sudan was using al-Qaeda funds and a uniquely Iraqi formula to produce VX gas; We believe that we are responsible for bringing terror on ourselves.
It is a flat lie to assert that liberals believe that the US brought terror attacks on itself through its own actions. The responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, along with other terrorist attacks such as the 1999 attack on the USS Cole, lies with the terrorists who perpetuated the attacks. However, the hatred and resentment fostered by the US, and most specifically the Bush administration, has engendered a climate that encourages the growth of terror groups, to the point where "old-line" terrorists such as Osama bin Laden are virtually irrelevant. Terrorist groups are springing up in Muslim countries around the globe; while their local aims are disparate, they are united in their hatred for America. Contrary to the simple-minded explanations offered by the Bush administration and its allies that the terrorists are "evildoers" who "hate freedom," their reasonings for becoming involved with terrorist activities are as disparate and individual as each terrorist. One overarching theme is the belief that the US is intent on economically and militarily dominating the Middle Eastern Arab countries which hold most of the globe's oil reserves; the invasion and occupation of Iraq only proves that belief in their eyes. Another is the widespread belief that the US is conducting a religious war against Islam. While this is doubtful, the repeated comparisons by George W. Bush to this war as a "crusade" and the assertions by high-ranking military and political officials that this war pits "Christians against Satan" goes a long way to validate their beliefs, at least in their own minds. As your political guru, Karl Rove, is fond of asserting, perception is indeed reality, at least in this sense.
It is true that Christian fundamentalists in the US have long agitated for such an invasion of the Middle East, not only to assist Israel in dominating the region, but for religious purposes. When Ann Coulter wrote on September 13, 2001, that "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity," Muslims around the world took that statement very seriously. The fact that almost three years later, not a single Bush administration member or a prominent US conservative has repudiated any of Coulter's rabid pronouncements is also taken very seriously by Muslims all over the globe. (The Bush administration forgets its history: not only did the Ottoman Empire form in part to consolidate Islamic cultures in opposition to the spread of Christianity, but the several Indian mutinies of the late 1800s against the British were sparked in large part because of fears that the British would forcibly convert Hindus to Christianity: the chairman of the East India Company said in 1857, "Providence has entrusted the empire of Hindoostan to England in order that the banner of Christ should wave triumphant from one end of India to the other;" scant months later, the entire subcontinent was at war.) As for Abu Nidal, that group has been rendered virtually impotent by US and other efforts to destroy that organization; while undoubtedly the desire to inflict damage on US targets remains, the ability for Abu Nidal to carry out further attacks has been seriously impaired. Certainly al-Zarqawi, like his fellow terrorists, continue to plan harm against Americans. However, many Afghanis and Pakistanis, along with many in the Pentagon, believe that al-Zarqawi is dead. The immediate assertions of his involvement in the murder of Nicholas Berg have been shown to be false. As for Salman Pak, it was proven to be nothing more than a counter-terrorism training facility within weeks of the March 2003 invasion.
We believe that the prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib is widespread and is probably the tip of the iceberg; We believe that Abu Ghraib proves that the America's [sic] occupation is no different than Saddam's tyranny; We believe that any attempt to suggest that there is a moral difference between a regime which systematically killed 300,000 people and tortured countless others and a regime which punished the acts of Abu Ghraib is illegitimate.
We know that the abuses documented in Abu Ghraib were deliberate and are far more widespread than has been generally acknowledged. As for these abuses supposedly proving that "America's occupation is no different than Saddam's tyranny," anyone with sense knows that the vast majority of American and British soldiers in Iraq have conducted themselves with restraint and decency. However, it is becoming clear that the tortures and abuses of Abu Ghraib and other detention facilities were authorized by civilian authorities in the Pentagon and perhaps higher. We know that 70%-90% of the detainees in Abu Ghraib are innocent of any crimes, which logically leads to the conclusion that similar percentages of those tortured in Abu Ghraib were innocent of any wrongdoing. One of the most compelling arguments by both liberals and conservatives is that America is a society morally and ethically superior to those societies which encourage the torture, rape, and murder of its own citizens. It is America's responsibility to prove that assertion with actions. The actions detailed in the Abu Ghraib revelations, along with the stories told by released detainees from the Guantanamo Bay facility and others, show that at least in some instances, this assertion is flawed. Americans have the responsibility to conduct themselves in a manner which supports the high ethical and moral standards of this society. The stories and photos from Al Ghraib undermine the ethical positioning of this society. And for Alt and his colleagues to dismiss the incidents at Abu Ghraib and other such "detention facilities" as merely "fraternity pranks" and "blowing off steam" demeans this country's honor as much as anything any soldier did in those prisons.
We believe that soldiers deliberately target women and children; We believe that the soldiers abuse and kill Iraqis because they are racists; We support our troops.
Again, the vast majority of American soldiers have conducted themselves with honor and integrity. We do know, however, that there are documented instances where innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed and wounded because American military personnel showed no concern for their well-being. We do know, further, that many -- not all, but many -- Americans treat Iraqis in a racist manner. The terms "sand nigger" and "haji" speak for themselves, as does the testimony of Americans formerly and currently deployed in Iraq. No one believes that the racism displayed by some American troops is systematic, or encouraged by superior officers. No one believes that "all" Americans, or even a majority of Americans, treat Iraqis with racism and hatred. However, too many Iraqis have experienced racist treatment at the hands of individual Americans for the charges to be dismissed. We indeed support our troops -- we want them to stop dying for no good reason and come home.
We believe that no one should question our statement that we "support our troops;" We believe that the best thing that could happen for this country would be for Bush to lose in November; We believe that the best way for Bush to lose in November is for the Iraq effort to go poorly, even if that means that more Iraqis and troops will die; We believe that most of the troops are minorities and the poor; We believe that when the word "heroes" is used to describe our troops, it should always be enclosed in scare quotes.
There is some truth here, embedded in a farrago of lies and false implications. The vast majority of liberals do support our troops. In fact, a large number of the troops stationed in Iraq proudly describe themselves as liberals even as they carry out their duties. Admittedly there is a small and noisy contingent of self-described "liberals" who do not support American soldiers, but they are not representative of the main body of liberal thought; neither do white supremacists represent the main body of conservatism in this country. We do believe that the best thing for America, and the world, would be for George W. Bush to be turned out of office in November. However, no one wants the Iraqi occupation to worsen. To accuse liberals of hoping that more Americans and Iraqis die merely to weaken Bush's chances for re-election is a horrendous accusation that deserves to be treated with ridicule and contempt. It is the Bush administration who bears the responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and thousands of Iraqis. We want the killing to stop. Now. As for the belief that the troops are disparately made up of "minorities and the poor," that is demonstrable fact. Relatively few upper-class white kids join the military; they usually have other options for their futures. And I'm not sure what Alt means when he says liberals want the word "heroes" to appear in "scare quotes." While the term "hero" is bandied about sometimes more than it should, it is indisputable that the vast majority of our soldiers have served with honor, and should be treated, and referred to, as such.
We believe in quagmire.
Unfortunately, most liberals believe the term applies all too well. The implication is that liberals want a quagmire, with all the deaths and horrible repercussions the term implies. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
We believe that when fringe Iraqi groups attack hard targets and are soundly defeated with relatively low Coalition casualties, that this is inescapable evidence of crisis; We believe that Iraq is Bush's Vietnam.
Unfortunately, America and the world is being put through the same sort of wringer that it was forced to endure during the Vietnam war. As for the first statement, it sounds good and makes liberals sound like traitors, which is no doubt the intent, but it carries virtually no meaning. The entire situation is a crisis that is not being solved. What is a "sound defeat" with "relatively low Coalition casualties" (whatever "relatively low" means) when the entire war is arguably unnecessary and wrong? No liberal worth his citizenship wants Iraqi insurgents to inflict "severe casualties," or for that matter any casualties, on US soldiers. However, since we question the entire basis for this war, we question the necessity for any casualties.
We believe that Vietnam is the lens through which all wars should be viewed.
Mr. Alt is descending into idiocy here. While this war is becoming more and more of a Vietnam-like tragedy, each conflict stands, or falls, on its own. Certainly the comparisons that Alt's fellow conservatives are making to World War II are completely specious.
We believe that soldiers in Vietnam were baby killers; We believe that John Kerry is a hero for his service in Vietnam.
A few US soldiers in Vietnam did kill innocent women and children deliberately and with malice aforethought. The vast majority did not. More did so at long distance, through artillery strikes and bombing runs. But to say that liberals see all US soldiers as "baby killers" is outlandish and contemptible. Kerry did his duty as an honorable soldier by testifying to the stories he was told about the slaughter of innocent Vietnamese at the hands of US soldiers.
We believe that because John Kerry is a hero, he necessarily has the national security expertise necessary to be commander-in-chief. We believe that any attempt to question his national security expertise based on his voting record, including his decision to vote against a supplemental bill used to buy the soldiers body armor, is an unfair attack on the patriotism of a hero, who by virtue of this honorific has the expertise to be commander-in-chief.
While it is not a prerequisite for a president to be a military veteran, one thing that former soldiers understand all too is the tremendous cost of war and the necessity for war to be absolutely unavoidable before being undertaken. This administration, largely populated by deserters such as Bush and draft-dodgers such as Cheney, has demonstrably failed to understand that. Kerry may or may not be a hero, but he served his country with honor and distinction. George W. Bush deserted his post after he committed to serve his country, even though he joined the TANG in an attempt to avoid active military service. The comparison is damning. Other civilian presidents have served their country, and handled the US military, with restraint and honor. George W. Bush has used the US military as pawns in a bloody game of economic domination.
We believe in the trinity: NPR, CNN, and the New York Times. We believe in Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, and all the DNC, and we look for President Clinton yet to come. Amen.
Again, there's some implication that liberals "worship" their political leaders. I fail to understand this, and must point out that the deliberate deification attempts of Bush by his public relations handlers, and the worshipful adoration of George W. Bush by many neoconservatives, is far more evident than anything Mr. Alt is implying for liberals. Some liberals support and admire Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton. Some don't. Some liberals hoped that Hillary Clinton would run for president in 2004, or will run in 2008, or hope that her husband will once again become politically active. Some don't. The kind of massmind "groupthink" that Mr. Alt seems to be implying is far more evident among lockstep right-wingers who categorize any criticism of the Bush administration as sacrilege and treason than anything I'm aware of on the left. Many conservatives believe NPR is a "liberal" media outlet; according to studies, more identifiably conservative viewpoints than liberal viewpoints are aired on NPR, and the news is presented in a straightforward, non-partisan manner. CNN is also characterized by many conservatives as a "liberal" news source, so much so that the network has taken active steps to "conservatize" itself. Again, CNN is not a liberal news source, and neither are any of the three major networks. All three attempt to present the news in a fair and balanced fashion, and if anything, err on a conservative slant...which brings us to the only truly partisan news network currently on the national airwaves: Fox News. Far from being "fair and balanced," Fox presents a consistently conservative point of view both in its opinion shows and in its news broadcasts. Fox is nothing less than the mouthpiece of the Bush administration in particular and of neoconservatives in general; it is the Pravda of the United States. The myth of the liberal media has long since been debunked, except in the neoconservative trenches; obviously Alt is not keeping up.
John F. Kennedy defined a liberal as well as anyone: "...if by a 'Liberal' they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a 'Liberal,' then I'm proud to say I'm a 'Liberal.' I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, in human liberty as the source of national action, in the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas. It is, I believe, the faith in our fellow citizens as individuals and as people that lies at the heart of the liberal faith. For liberalism is not so much a party creed or set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man's ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves. I believe also in the United States of America, in the promise that it contains and has contained throughout our history of producing a society so abundant and creative and so free and responsible that it cannot only fulfill the aspirations of its citizens, but serve equally well as a beacon for all mankind. I do not believe in a superstate. ...But I believe in a government which acts, which exercises its full powers and full responsibilities. Government is an art and a precious obligation; and when it has a job to do, I believe it should do it. And this requires not only great ends but that we propose concrete means of achieving them. Our responsibility is not discharged by announcement of virtuous ends. Our responsibility is to achieve these objectives with social invention, with political skill, and executive vigor. I believe for these reasons that liberalism is our best and only hope in the world today. For the liberal society is a free society, and it is at the same time and for that reason a strong society. Its strength is drawn from the will of free people committed to great ends and peacefully striving to meet them. Only liberalism, in short, can repair our national power, restore our national purpose, and liberate our national energies." Rather than accept the mangled obfuscations and barely concealed mockery provided by Mr. Alt, we can accept the words of President Kennedy as our "liberal creed." Then we can go out into the world and attempt to live up to the words of that creed.