Skip to comments.A One-Time Bush Skeptic Admits His Error (Journalist Who Actually "Gets" It! Amazing!)
Posted on 06/02/2004 11:34:39 PM PDT by KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle
George W. Bush's approval ratings are at a low. Some liberals, reports New Republic Editor Jonathan Chait, find Bush's very existence to be "a constant oppressive force in their daily psyche." Now even conservatives such as columnists George Will, David Brooks and Robert Kagan are pouring forth despair over the president's Iraq policies.
But my admiration for the man for whom I refused to vote in year 2000 grows ever higher.
A president's chief duty is to keep the nation safe in the dangerous tides of international politics. In 2000, I found candidate Bush too little engaged with this challenge. But since 9/11, he has offered the kind of leadership that ranks him with the greatest presidents of my lifetime, Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan.
Like them, Bush is taxed with having a weak intellect and little mastery of policy details. Maybe so. But what Bush has, as they had, is a clear-eyed recognition of a great threat to our country, the courage to face that threat and a willingness to risk his political standing for the policies he deems essential to our security.
Sept. 11 was a watershed, but it was new only in scope, not in kind. For three decades, Middle Eastern terrorists had assassinated our diplomats, brought down our airliners, blown up our servicemen in their bunks and berths. They even bombed the World Trade Center. Yet as long as they were killing us in small batches, we responded with passivity, fearing to stir up more trouble.
Even Reagan, tough as he was, decided to slink away when Hezbollah murdered 241 of our Marines in their barracks in Beirut.
On 9/11, however, the terrorists managed to kill us by thousands at a swoop, and what Bush understood was that our policy of passivity, like the West's efforts to appease Hitler in the 1930s, had only invited more audacious attacks. He saw that we had no choice but to go to war against the terrorists and their backers. If we did not destroy them, the terrorists would set their sanguinary sights higher until they succeeded in killing us by the tens or hundreds of thousands.
He saw too that this war would be, as President Kennedy described the Cold War, a "long, twilight struggle" waged on many fronts and by many means. This meant that we would fight and some of us would die on his watch, but that victory could not possibly be achieved within so short a time as to enable him to claim credit.
Has our occupation of Iraq gone smoothly? Far from it. Have mistakes been made? No doubt.
Probably we should have sent more soldiers, not disbanded the Iraqi army, planned earlier elections and not adopted an artificial deadline for transferring sovereignty.
In the occupation of Japan, we made mistakes too: trying to impose federalism, which was alien to the Japanese; purging so many collaborators with the old regime that it crippled economic recovery and stirred deep resentment.
Perhaps even the decision to take on Iraq after Afghanistan was a strategic mistake in the larger war. It might have been better to have concentrated on overthrowing Iran's mullahs or forcing Syria out of Lebanon. In World War II, Allied leaders and commanders debated fiercely which fronts to concentrate on and in what order.
But the real issue is not about tactics or even the larger strategy but whether to fight at all. The alternative is to soothe ourselves with half measures tightening borders, tracking funds, sharing intelligence, courting unfriendly governments hoping against hope that a disaster even bigger than 9/11 will not be visited upon us.
Are we safer now than we were before we began to fight back against the terrorists? Perhaps not, just as we were not safer when we began to resist Hitler, prompting him to declare war on us. Back then, we were not safer until we had won. And we will not be safe now until we have defeated the terrorists and their backers.
Would some other president have made the same brave choice as George Bush to shoulder this "long twilight struggle"? Not Bill Clinton, whose eye was always on the electoral calendar. Not the elder Bush, who didn't think much of "the vision thing." And surely not John Kerry, who tells us that he voted against the Iraq war of 1991 although he was really for it and voted for the Iraq war of 2003 although he was really against it. Kerry offers, in short, all the leadership of a whirling dervish. Truman? Reagan? Perhaps. But 9/11 came when George W. Bush was in office. He has risen to the challenge of a vicious enemy. I wish I could vote for him twice this time to make up for having underestimated him so badly in 2000.
'Some liberals, reports New Republic Editor Jonathan Chait, find Bush's very existence to be "a constant oppressive force in their daily psyche."'
Bush forced them to think. Smoke rose from their heads. A small fire crackled in their hair. They didn't like it. They wanted to click their heels three times and go back to 'Clinton-land'.
"Are we safer now than we were before we began to fight back against the terrorists? Perhaps not, just as we were not safer when we began to resist Hitler, prompting him to declare war on us. Back then, we were not safer until we had won."
Bingo. What confuses the appeasers is the claim that we are safer. No one knows for sure right now whether or not we are safer today. It can even be argued that we are less safe. We're like the school kid telling the bully, 'No, you can't have my lunch money.' Does that make you safer? Not really. Not at first. But when the bully is on the ground with a bloody nose, you'll feel ten feet tall. And when the bully comes to school the next day and you see fear in his eyes, and he avoids you, then you know you are not only safer, but free, unlike the rest of the school.
Would that more people realized this.
Much needed article. I hope his readers get it.
The "weak intellect", Is coming from the accusing side. Dumbocrats seem to , more and more, accuse the Republicans of what they are guilty.
Another example is when say we are Nazi's.
Anyone, with a average Intellect, can see that we are the farthest from Nazism as one could get.
Compare Nazism with Socialism, (which is what Naziism was), and the Democrats come awfully close to Nazism.
Being glib and wordy doesn't always signify an intellect. There have been many geniuses who are fairly inarticulate.
This is why they conveniently gloss over Bush's Harvard MBA, or try to dismiss it as something he has handed because of who his dad was. But I have a friend who is a brilliant financial advisor with a Harvard MBA, and he told me what you have to go through to get one. He said it makes no difference if your dad is Jesus, if you don't know the material backward and forward, and you aren't able to present your arguments and back them up on the spot, you make an F and you don't get a Harvard MBA. But then, my friend is a Republican, so liberals would probably just say he's far too stupid to know what he's talking about.
It's sad and unfortunate that in November we may see a replay of the 1992 election: Liberals and disgruntled Conservatives joining to defeat an incumbent Republican and electing a Democrat.
Living in Houston I read their editorial page every morning to get my blood pressure up. Its staff editorial writers (Cragg Hines, Clay Robinson) and editorial board are bent towards the Molly Ivins school of journalism ... liberal, moronic, Bush hating.
So, while it confuses me to see them print this, it's still refreshing.
Coming from where this does, this piece is electrifying.
How the 'elites' of the left in the communications business, ignore GWBs achievements - MBA from Harvard, jet fighter pilot - is illustrative of their ability to ignore reality.
Today they are also ignoring, ie, actively suppressing --
The new economic boom
American support for the war in Iraq and for the Commander-in-Chief
The real threat that these Islamofascists mean to our economy and our liberty
Anyone willingly working alongside liberals to defeat an incument Republican President and elect a raving leftist extremist to the office, in his place, is NOT -- by definition -- a conservative; "disgruntled" or otherwise.
... liberal, moronic, Bush hating.
My sister was in DC yesterday, and accidentally met a group of adults and eighth-grade children, on a school trip from Houston. She shared with one of these mothers a story about when she met some wonderful Texans at the Inauguration in 2001. She thought this remembrance would create a bond of warmth with yesterday's tourist, but was surprised to note that the visitor kept a stone-face throughout the telling.
No "Don't Mess with Texas" solidarity with her!
So sad that even in Texas there are people who harbor ill feelings toward such a great man.
They're not necessarily working "alongside" but are attacking from opposite directions.....with the same negative result.
But...but...didn't John Kerry promise to "destroy" Al Qaeda? OK, he didn't say HOW he would do it but he promised to destroy them. That's good enough for me.
Don't put that newspaper down. They used to publish my humor columns on a regular basis in their Sunday Texas magazine section.
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