Forget about Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. Apparently, the liberals figure they have a far more important target to contend with: namely the man who has resuscitated the post-9/11 US economy while simultaneously implementing and pursuing some of the boldest foreign policy initiatives in American history.
While Bush is juggling unprecedented foreign and domestic responsibilities, Democrats are busy holding debating clubs meetings. The Democrats vying for the party's leadership can't seem to agree on what kind of complete inaction and/or uselessness they would inflict on the American people if they were in Bush's shoes. I've heard more realistic promises in grade school "class president" election speeches. Dennis Kucinich is offering up free university tuition to everyone. Wesley Clark is talking about lifting the embargo on Castro's Cuba, even while he denounces human rights atrocities. Instead of Bush-like decisive action in the Middle East, the Democrats favour sitting down for a little afternoon tea to negotiate "world peace" with despotic regimes, terrorists, and the likes of Saddam Hussein--much like their hero Bill Clinton tried to do in Israel and Northern Ireland. Even former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau--a good friend of Castro's and a borderline communist--made it emphatically clear that he would never negotiate with terrorists (the Parti Quebecois separatists, in his case), even if the lives of his wife and children were at stake. To think that this sorry lot of Dems leans to the left of Pierre Trudeau on ANY issue is a scary thought, indeed.
On his website, Democratic frontrunner Howard Dean states: "Harry Truman had faith as I have faith, and as I believe the American people have faith, that if we are wise enough and determined enough in our opposition to hate and our promotion of tolerance, in our opposition to aggression and our fidelity to law, we will have allies not only among governments but among people everywhere." Dean's foreign policy can therefore be summed up in four words: Love 'em to death. Sure, Howard, that'll work really well on someone like, say, al-Qaeda commander and Bin Laden friend--Abu Salma Al-Hijazi--whose own foreign policy consists of "amazing the world and turning al-Qaeda into [an organization that] horrifies the world until the law of Allah is implemented, actually implemented, and not just in words, on His land... You wait and see that the balance of power between al-Qaeda and its rivals will change, all of a sudden, Allah willing. There is no doubt that the demise of America and its collapse will lead to the collapse of the fragile regimes that depend on it..."
George W. Bush made it clear in the days following the 9/11 attacks that the war on terrorism would be a long, protracted fight that would take years, and a great deal of patience. Just because Democrats have a short memory and even shorter attention span doesn't mean that we can, or should, just walk away from the crescent of crisis in the Middle East.
On March 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan outlined his Strategic Defense Initiative that would finally cause the Soviet economic and political system to spin out of control, bringing an end to the Cold War. Unlike the Democrats, he understood that deterrence of aggression through the promise of retaliation was the only real way to achieve long-term peace. But such a strategy cannot be applied if there's no action ready to back it up. Unfortunately, the only action that was going on in Bill Clinton's administration was taking place under a desk in the "Oral Office" during visits from Monica Lewinsky. Three days before the fall of Baghdad, Uday Hussein (Saddam's son who was later killed by US forces), told the director of Iraqi television, "I think the end is near, " because "this time the Americans are serious. Bush is not like Clinton." Bingo.
Bill and Hillary Clinton, Democratic Senator Bob Graham, Presidential hopeful John Kerry, Rep. Henry Waxman, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Al Gore, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, Clinton Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and many others are all on record as recognizing the serious threat posed by Saddam Hussein. The Reaganesque strategy of containment doesn't work on a regime that has already proven its willingness to use dangerous weapons on its own people and others. Iraq wasn't the former Soviet Union or Cuba--it was a clear, imminent danger with a track record of following through on its threatened atrocities. It should come as no surprise that uncovering these weapons post-invasion has been a difficult task. Part of any detailed plan to create them would have involved means of concealing them. It hardly means that they didn't (or don't) exist.
Bush has also acted decisively on humanitarian issues--giving large amounts of funding to combat AIDS in Africa, and promising to call new attention to Fidel Castro's repressive dictatorship in Cuba. The latter will surely be dealt with via a campaign of education, denunciation and condemnation rather military might, but nonetheless, it's more than any Democrat did or would be willing to do. It's obvious that Bush also understands that, in the words of naval lieutenant commander and military strategist Dr. Harlan Ullman, "the president must begin by expanding his war on terror to dealing with the causes and consequences of extremism...The best means for assuring homeland security is not guarding every piece of infrastructure here but (to the extent possible) eliminating and reducing the dangers where they rise abroad...Money and other kinds of assistance are part of the solution."
While Democrats were carping about Bush's $87 billion assistance package to rebuild the former terrorist havens of Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush realized such an investment would be required to ensure the future stability of these regions. To say that the US can't afford to fork out this kind of funding is complete nonsense. It barely represents a drop in the bucket of the country's GDP, and is a small investment compared to the damage to the US economy that a single terrorist attack on US soil could wreak.
On the domestic front, nearly all of the Democratic hopefuls are complaining about Bush's tax cuts--even while the economy is now booming back, with an addition of 286,000 jobs over a three month period nudging the nation's unemployment rate down to 6 percent. The economy needed some reform, and Bush provided it through decisive leadership and action.
Democratic whining about Bush's lack of planning, vision, or endgame strategy on the foreign policy front is nothing new. Not a single administration in the history of the country has ever escaped such criticism. The measures Bush has taken have been broad and bold, but the challenges this administration has faced have also been unprecedented. Bush has been thrown one hardball after another, but he hasn't just stood there and allowed himself to be lobbed upside the head until the time comes to hand off to a replacement, as was the case with Clinton. Perhaps it's Bush's background as a businessman that has prepared him for the insane amount of foreign affairs multitasking that he's having to contend with, but this is the reality that any President--present or future--will have to face from here on in. In the next election, the choice will be between man of action George W. Bush, who has proven that he possesses the moral strength and stability to stay on the requisite course of action despite opposition attempts to derail him--and whatever whining, integrity-challenged, flip-flopping obstructionist who happens to be at the helm of the Democratic party.