We and others have often made the claim that the left actually is hoping for an American defeat in Iraq. This seems preposterous to some and obvious to others, and it raises the question why they should feel this way. There are at least three reasons, I think, that lead people on the left to cheer every American setback and essentially to call for our surrender:
First, a defeat in Iraq would be a crushing defeat for Republicans. The left hates Republicans in general and Bush in particular and would rather see this country stymied in its greatest international undertaking since WWII than see either Bush or the Republicans get credit for having pulled it off.
Parenthetically, why they hate Bush is another interesting question which deserves an answer. Some of it is due to their bitterness over the 2000 election, but in large part it's because of their embrace of the sexual revolution. The perpetuation of the radical shift in sexual mores of the last forty years, a religious obligation for leftists, requires unfettered access to abortion on demand. Bush has made it clear that he will appoint judges and justices who do not share that enthusiasm. His greatest crime in their eyes, therefore, is the threat he poses to abortion rights and thus to the ability of individuals to treat sex as a form of recreation.
Indeed, we can take this analysis one step further and point out that it has always been part of the leftist agenda, going back at least as far as Marx's Communist Manifesto, to destroy bourgeois marriage and thus traditional notions of the family. Sexual license, gay marriage, and easy divorce are three vehicles the left seeks to employ to this end, and Bush not only opposes them, but is perhaps the only real political obstacle standing in the way of the public accepting the first two as it has the third.
Second, a defeat in Iraq would make us more reluctant to use force in the future. It would, like Vietnam, chasten us for a generation and make the use of military power much more difficult for future presidents. This prospect has a great deal of appeal for pacifists who are already deeply resentful that we used the military in Iraq in the first place.
Third, the secular left, simply put, hates America. They hate America because America is religious and they despise religion. They hate America because America promotes capitalism and they despise capitalism. They hate America because we have a checkered history and they see evil as a stain inherent in the fabric of our nation and its people. Mostly, though, they hate America because they themselves are Americans and they hate themselves.
They are burdened with guilt and self-loathing, and they project onto their nation the sins and impulses, real or imagined, that they find in their own souls. Hatred for America becomes a form of expiation for the guilt they feel for being American.
There may be other reasons why the left yearns to see the United States brought low by the sixth-century savages against whom we struggle, but in any such list these three surely rank near the top.