Mark Helprin is back, and he's still angry -- at both the Bush administration and their political opponents -- about the War. Tough ideas; essential to consider. With nothing to offer but contradictions and paralysis, [the Democrats] and their presidential aspirant have staked their policy on a mystical and irrational prejudice against unilateralism. This is a new thing under the visiting moon, an absurdity propounded by the very same people who often urge the U.S. to unilateral action when it refrains, for example, from interventions in Africa to fight genocide or AIDS. In what way is America, moving in concert with Britain and Spain to invade Iraq, more unilateral or less multilateral than France moving in concert with Germany and Belgium to oppose it? And does a wrong act cease to be wrong if others join in or a right cease to be right if others do not? Just as many Republicans detest the idea of international governance but glow at the prospect of empire, many Democrats are reliably anti-imperialist yet dewy-eyed about world government. Thus, Sen. Kerry's only non-secret policy for the war is a bunch of mumbling about the U.N. and our "allies," presumably the ones who are not with us at the moment in Iraq. It is they and the U.N. who in the fairy dust of multilateralism will solve this most difficult problem. But in fact, they neither can nor will do any such thing. Either Sen. Kerry knows that his strategy is just a cover for simple, complete, and ignominious withdrawal, or he does not know, which is worse. In a war that has steadily grown beyond expectations, America has been poorly served by those who govern it. The Democrats are guilty of seemingly innate ideological confusion about self-defense, the Republicans of willful disdain for reflection, and, both, of lack of imagination, probity, and preparation -- and, perhaps above all, of subjecting the most serious business in the life of a nation to coarse partisanship. Having come up short, both parties are sorely in need of a severe reprimand and direct order from the American people to correct their failings and get on with the common defense.