James Taranto, at OpinionJournal:
Goodwill IndustriesI couldn't have said it better myself.
Perhaps the most fatuous post-Sept. 11 clich� is the notion that America (or "the Bush administration") has "squandered" the "goodwill" the world felt for America in the wake of the attacks. The idea seems to be that popularity is more important than national security. Probably without meaning to, John Hassell of the Newark Star-Ledger offers a parody of this argument:
In the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks nearly two years ago, America became a mailbox, receiving letters of condolence from all corners of the globe. Even Moammar Gadhafi and Mullah Mohammed Omar of the Taliban, no friends of the United States, sent their sympathies.
Today, after U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the launching of an ambitious enterprise to reshape the politics of the Middle East, things are very different. Polls show a deepening resentment of U.S. power worldwide, even among traditional allies. America's mailbox is again full, this time with hate mail.
Does anyone really yearn for the approval of such reprobates as Moammar Gadhafi and Mullah Omar? Anyway, we would rather be alive and hated than dead and popular. If the rest of the world likes Americans only when we're dying, the rest of the world can go to hell.