What this sentence demonstrates is that the DLC has no interest whatsoever in seeing to it that the Democratic party EVER regains any electoral influence. There, first of all, is no such thing as an "anti-American fringe". Way back in the 1930s, there were millions of citizens who followed the Communist Party, USA (CPUSA). When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, the American Communist Party abruptly spun on a dime and changed from being anti-war to being supportive of the Soviet Union in its' war with Nazi Germany. It's important to remember that when the CPUSA made its' true sympathies known in this fashion, even though the US eventually allied itself with the Soviet Union, the CPUSA dramatically deflated, losing members by the millions. Even after many years of the Great Depression and before it had entered the war on the side of the Allies, Americans refused to be led around by the nose by a foreign power, no matter how friendly the Soviets were on labor rights and however many other subsidiary goals they agreed with.
The President of the Progressive Policy Institute, Will Marshall, writes intelligently about how Republicans have overplayed their hand and have turned patriotism into an ugly term that means "conservative hotheads" and "throwing America's military weight around", but it's very difficult to see anything progressive about the following, where Marshall approvingly quotes William Galston:
This is pathetic! We on the left have never opposed the idea, let alone "root and branch", of a "global fight against terrorism". What we have always objected to was the overly-militarized nature of the fight, the over-emphasis on force, the under-emphasis on the "police-work" aspect of it, the under-emphasis on fairness and justice. It is, after all, rather difficult to expect whole regions of the world to maintain good feelings about America if America is economically exploiting them. The fact that Republicans determinedly ignore such aspects and like to focus on the purely military aspects is no reason for the Democrats to do the same. As to the idea of fighting "for democracy", that was always a foolish idea. Democracy is not, has not and never will be something that one nation can give another. Democracy is a bottom-up form of government that must necessarily and by definition come from the bottom. The top levels of society can certainly help and can certainly set the conditions and philosophical parameters, but democracy cannot be imposed, ever, anywhere, under any conditions.
As is pointed out in DailyKos, the "blunt criticism" offered by the above-mentioned Democrats is nothing of the kind. Biden criticizes Rumsfeld for understrength US forces in Iraq while ignoring the role of Bush and Cheney and Clinton:
Yeesh! With criticism like this, Bush never has to worry about feeling even slightly uncomfortable, forget about making him change any of his policies. And the following is truly horrible:
Democrats should also bring a sense of proportion to the prisoner abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. These sickening deviations from America's core principles have damaged our country's moral reputation around the world. True patriotism demands not denials and whitewashes, but a thorough, independent investigation, punishment of those responsible, and clear policies to prevent a repetition.
Yet the revelation that some U.S. troops aren't saints should not come as too great a shock, at least to grownups. By dwelling obsessively on U.S. misdeeds while ignoring the far more heinous crimes of what is quite possibly the most barbaric insurgency in modern times, anti-war critics betray an anti-American bias that undercuts their credibility.
These two sentences demonstrate complete and utter moral bankruptcy. To give any weight or consideration to the "barbarity" of the Iraqi insurgents as an excuse for ignoring or minimizing American atrocities in Abu Ghraib and many other places is to use an utterly irrelevant reason for deeply un-American actions that our forces should never have committed. What if Marshall's proposed investigation goes all the way up to the President? We know that the Defense Secretary is involved and the current Attorney General wrote memos justifying the atrocities. Is it seriously plausible that the President was unaware of what his people were up to? The fact that very little investigative energy has been focused on high-ranking individuals suggests that these individuals know a lot more than the American public does about the President's involvement and that the President feels that he doesn't want to press too hard or they'll tell what they know. To describe the atrocities as merely "some U.S. troops aren't saints" is to trivialize horrific crimes.
Marshall has no useful advice and should be ignored by all true Democrats. Anyone who stands with him might as well give up and join the Republican Party.