Lately, it seems that not a day can pass without Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, John Kerry and their ideological soul mates in the mainstream media making acerbic comments about how the Bush administration has handled the war on terrorism. For those of us who disagree with them, it is easy enough to “attack the attackers” and many people, myself included, have done exactly that. However, in and of itself, that is not an adequate response. Instead of debating whether or not the war on terror has been a failure, the truth, that war on terror has been an overwhelming success so far, must be told.
Despite what we hear daily from the “nattering nabobs of negativity” in our country, we should be proud of the magnificent job that George W. Bush, his administration, our troops, and our intelligence services have done fighting the war on terrorism. In perhaps the two most perfectly executed military campaigns ever waged on this earth, our troops smashed the Taliban and Saddam Hussein’s regime, freeing 50 million people from tyrants who had made the lives of their people into a living hell.
In Afghanistan, we were told going in that the war would be long, difficult, and perhaps even unwinnable. A lesser man than George Bush might have gotten weak kneed at the prospect of sending our troops into a “mountainous Vietnam” and found some sort of excuse not to go. But, not only did we take the fight to our enemies in Afghanistan, we bombed Al-Qaeda’s camps, decimated the Taliban, drove them out of power in less than two months, and sent our enemies running to Pakistan and remote caves on the Afghan border, where they live even today as hunted men. This is even more impressive than it sounds since our defeatist press was crying “quagmire” & “Vietnam” as we bombed our enemies into oblivion.
Then in Iraq, we removed Saddam Hussein, an anti-American tyrant & sponsor of terrorism who started two wars of aggression in the region while he simultaneously raped, tortured, and butchered his own people with a zeal matched by few figures in modern history. Once the war began, the performance of our military was again incomparable. Saddam’s forces were defeated, scattered to the four winds in less than a month, even as the press, a week into the war, was again baying the dreaded “V word” loud and often.
Since then, the occupation of Iraq has been tougher than anticipated, but our troops have performed superbly under the most difficult of circumstances and Iraq is on track towards Democracy. As expected, the press has obsessively focused on the negatives: looting, violence, & Abu Ghraib. But on June 30th, sovereignty will be handed over to the Iraqis and in January of next year, the Iraqis are scheduled to have national elections to go along with the local elections that have happened across most of Iraq already. A cesspool of terrorism & anti-American hatred is being turned into a democracy, one that may help push the whole region towards freedom, because of the rock ribbed leadership of the Bush administration and the brilliant and determined performance of our soldiers on the ground.
But wait, there’s more! Even if there were a terrorist attack inside the continental United States tomorrow, our intelligence agencies and the oft demonized John Ashcroft should be praised for successfully defending the homeland from Al-Qaeda for more than 2 1/2 years of war. How many people would have believed that was possible on September 12, 2001?
Of course, it may have been easier than some had expected to protect our country from Al-Qaeda since roughly 2/3rd’s of Al-Qaeda’s leadership has been captured and around 3000 rank and file members of Al-Qaeda have been “incapacitated” since 9/11.
Furthermore, formerly “terrorist friendly” nations like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Libya are now fervently pursuing terrorists inside of their own borders. And speaking of Pakistan and Libya, a nuclear arms ring based out of Pakistan is now out of business and one of its best customers, Libya, has now given up its WMD programs and is attempting to rejoin the family of nations. All of this is thanks to George Bush’s diplomacy.
However, all of these triumphs for America are ignored by grandstanding politicians and a hostile press which incessantly snipes at the Bush administration, usually over comparatively minor issues. What must be understood is that they’re missing the forest for the trees. Despite the setbacks and difficulties we’ve experienced, President Bush has accomplished more on the foreign policy front in less than one full term than the last 4 Democratic Presidents, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton, did combined!
All this brings to mind a Theodore Roosevelt quote that’s a favorite of mine,
“It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out where the strong man stumbled, or where a doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, and who comes up short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause. The man who at best knows the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly, so that his place will never be with those cold timid souls who never knew victory or defeat.”
“The man in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood” is one George W. Bush and waging a war on terrorism in an age when defending America has become a partisan issue must certainly be considered “daring greatly”. We are lucky to have such a man in the White House, because like other great American Presidents of times gone by, he is leading America towards victory in a worthy cause.
*** A statistic dealing with the number of annual international terrorist attacks in 2003 was dropped from this column because the report it was based on was revised. ***