In this crisis as in all the others, one government spokesman after another lined up to tell the media that "our allies are behind us" ( See April 14, 2001 -- THE "ALLIES" GAMBIT).

In this crisis as in all others, the backpedaling began almost immediately.

President Bush now tells us that, yes, our "allies" love us, but they do it in their own way. Each country will contribute what it wants to. Some will give money. Some will give information.

Americans will do most of the dying, of course.

Am I being cynical, or do I just listen more closely than others?

Listen to conservative spokesmen, and see if they do not seem to tacitly welcome our "allies'" reticence. They want this crisis to be used to build up AMERICAN military expenditures. This has always been the case.

Throughout the Cold War American troops and American taxpayers took on the main burden of protecting Europe from Communists. Europe was many times as rich as the Communist countries and Europe had far more people than the United States did. But conservatives never seriously complained.

In fact, it was not until America had been bearing that European burden for a generation that a presidential candidate finally complained about it. That candidate was the most liberal major party candidate in American history, George McGovern.

McGovern wanted less money for military expenditures and more for liberal social engineering. He didn't care about America, he just cared about his liberal agenda.

But at least and at last he said SOMETHING.

If Europe had taken on more of its own defense, then America could have cut back on its Pentagon expenditures. That was the last thing professional conservatives wanted.

By exactly the same token, the more our "allies" come to America's aid, the less our Pentagon will have to do alone, and the lower those precious military outlays will be.

Conservatives will never push our "allies" to do their share.

So when it comes to making our allies do their part, conservatives certainly will not speak for America's interests.

And liberal foreign policy is NEVER concerned with America's national interests.

If we are aware what is driving the professional conservatives in Washington, this routine betrayal of our troops might be stopped this time before it goes too far.