The collapse of communism, the spread of democracy in Eastern Europe, the end of the Cold War and other good news have precipitated a spate of excited charges and curious arguments by some American commentators who have long blamed the United States for that war -- and most of the rest of the world's ills.

These attacks are extraordinary for their passion, their confusion and their pure malice. Some of the authors are still fighting the Cold War, some are still doing battle against the Reagan administration and a few are even today excoriating the United States for policies of the Vietnam era.

For example, the news that the Bush administration may be about to change U.S. policy in Cambodia reminds William Pfaff of past U.S. ''crimes'' in that suffering nation.

Unlike bombings in World War II or the ''well-intentioned stupidity'' of the Vietnam War, ''Cambodia was cold-blooded national murder, committed in implicit collaboration with North as well as South Vietnam, and with the Khmer Rouge -- with whom, today, America continues to collaborate.''

Think about those charges: cold-blooded murder, collaboration with the enemy, collusion with the bestial Pol Pot for 20 years. When Pfaff says, ''To have bombed and invaded Cambodia was the worst thing the United States has ever done to another nation,'' we should remember this is the same writer who only a week before had focused on what Americans have done to their own country.

''We shot up our West, murdered the Indians, overgrazed and overplowed the land into dust. Now we are de-treeing it.''

Genocide, apparently, is an American habit. But maybe that's what one would expect of a country which, according to Christopher Lasch, had suffered ''the development of secret police organizations, the erosion of civil liberties, the stifling of political debate in the interest of political consensus, the concentration of decision-making in the Executive Branch, the secrecy surrounding Executive actions, the lying that has come to be accepted as routine in American politics.'' These, says Lasch (who elsewhere has accused us of narcissism and self-indulgence), were effects on the United States of the Cold War.

But, of course, the United States has no secret police, and any effort to develop one would be immediately leaked in a major newspaper and quashed. And the United States has not suffered an erosion of civil liberties. Its citizens enjoy as broad personal and political freedoms as citizens of any other country -- including a recently confirmed freedom to burn the American flag. In addition, political debate has not been stifled for the sake of bipartisan consensus. There is no bipartisan consensus except on basic structural issues like democracy and free markets, on which almost all Americans have always agreed (to Lasch's apparent frustration).

To suggest that there is a concentration of decision-making in the Executive Branch is especially bizarre at this time of Boland amendments and congressional overreach, as is the complaint of secrecy in the Executive Branch, when everyone knows that keeping a secret is literally impossible in the U.S. government. And so far is lying from being ''accepted as routine'' that Adm. John Poindexter has been sentenced to prison for just that offense.

How could a country with those qualities Lasch attributes to the United States win the Cold War, or anything else?

Lasch handles this problem by denying that it happened. The United States did not partake of the victory the West won. ''It would be closer to the truth to say that the Soviet Union and the United States have destroyed each other.'' He dispenses with these ''two overgrown empires, each claiming to stand for rival principles of economics and politics.'' There was no victory. There were not even any stakes, Lasch concludes.

''The choice between them (the United States and the Soviet Union) -- even the abstract choice between socialism and capitalism -- no longer interests the rest of the world.''

But, of course, the reason there is no longer a contest is that socialism has no credible defenders. And that is also the reason the contest is no longer interesting.

Like Lasch, Richard Cohen {op-ed, July 18} sees the United States as a loser, not a winner in the Cold War -- broke, weak ''where it matters most,'' a victim above all of Ronald Reagan's high defense budgets and low taxes, a victor over a Soviet empire that had become ''a teetering edifice whose toppling awaited a slight breeze.''

Thus do the critics of the left treat the liberation and democratization of Eastern Europe, the collapse of totalitarianism and the victory of the idea of freedom by exaggerating American moral and political corruption and economic weakness. Thus do they treat the Soviet Union's remarkable abdication by exaggerating Soviet weakness and attacking the United States. Their tirades are part of a larger tide of explanations which deny that what has happened has happened.

Some of the efforts to salvage the reputation of the American left are more subtle, like the essay of Gerald Marzorati that confuses what Americans call liberalism with the ''liberalism now sweeping Europe.''

Marzorati apparently does not understand that, like American conservatives and neo-conservatives, European liberals begin by distrusting the state and emphasizing the free individual. The contemporary American liberalism of the ''L-word'' trusts the state, distrusts the market and is often more sensitive to the rights of groups than individuals.

In fact, the new European liberalism is no more politically equivalent to that of the ''L-word'' than the United States was morally equivalent to the Soviet Union.

What has happened is a clear victory for the traditional principles on which American and Western democracies are based. It's too bad all Americans can't enjoy it.