Monday, August 16 2004
It's a truism among liberals today that President Bush "rushed to war" in Iraq. The Kerry campaign and the media sling the phrase almost daily as a dual indictment that President Bush moved so quickly on Iraq he 1) failed to win over vital allies (i.e. France & Germany) and 2) failed to allow enough time to develop a plan to win the peace.

To get some perspective on just how badly this revises history, click here.

We can quibble with our liberal friends over the administration's post-combat assumptions and executions in Iraq, but whatever mistakes have or haven't been made there are not the result of 'moving too quickly.'

Likewise, despite what John Kerry, Howard Dean and Michael Moore want the public to believe, there is no amount of additional time, cajoling, diplomacy, or ass-kissing that would have won the approval of either France or Germany to use meaningful force against Iraq. None.

Let's remember also that the resumption of UN inspections in Iraq - now cited by the Democrats as the useful and definitive work cut short by Bush's "rush to war" - only occurred in the first place because of George W. Bush's leadership.

But even that misses the point. The Bush administration's goal, stated clearly time and time again, wasn't merely to get Iraq to return to another round of cat-and-mouse with UN inspectors. The administration had concluded, rightly, that inspections would never provide America and the world with the level of certainty required in a post-September 11 world that Saddam did not have and was not pursuing weapons of mass destruction.

Instead, the goal was forcing a fundamental change in the behavior of the Iraqi regime that included complete and full disclosure of all weapons programs and compliance with all previous UN resolutions. The Bush administration stated this unequivocally in September 2002:

"This is not a matter of inspections. It is about disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the Iraqi regime's compliance with all other Security Council resolutions," McClellan said in a written statement. "It is time for the Security Council to act."

Furthermore, though UN Resolution 1441 did call for "an enhanced inspection regime," the language used in the Resolution - at the insistence of the United States - provided Iraq with "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council" and declared that Iraq would "face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations."

Shortly thereafter Iraq produced a 12,000 page WMD declaration which everyone including Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei found lacking, yet the Bush administration declared openly that this was not an automatic "trigger for war." Another three months of negotiation would fruitlessly pass before the invasion finally began.

Again, we can argue with our liberal friends as to why intelligence estimates from around the world were faulty (if that is indeed truly what they were) and we can all speculate all we want as to the reasons why Saddam refused to comply when it became utterly apparent to everyone in the world that the threat of action by the United States was not only real but imminent.

What shouldn't be debatable is that the Bush administration's goal was to end the charade with Iraq once and for all. They made it clear they would no longer tolerate half-measures, deceptions and obstructions. Either Saddam opened up completely or he was gone.

Liberals like Josh Marhsall are now arguing that the Bush administration "gamed the process" and the President lied "when he said he needed the muscle of the resolution to force the inspectors back in and have some hope of settling the crisis short of war." Go back and read the speeches. That's a fundamental misinterpretation of the Bush administration policy.

The left is right about one thing: the Bush administration did use 9/11 as a "pretext" for war with Iraq - but only in the sense that the terrible attacks suffered that day provided an epiphany for this administration about the world we live in and the dangerous threats we face around the world.

Even though Iraq wasn't directly involved in 9/11, the attack served as a wake up call about the danger of tolerating a continued (and interrelated) threat like Saddam Hussein who possessed the relationships, ability, ambition and desire to do catastrophic harm to America.

KUMBAYA ALERT: From the "they-just-don't-get-it-and-they're-going-to-get-us-killed" file, here is a stunningly muddle-headed column that ran in Friday's Cincinnati Enquirer titled "Olympics could inspire a truce on terror:"

"With the 2004 Olympics returning home to Greece, maybe this could be a time for all countries to proclaim a truce against terrorism.

Can people from different countries really get along when they put their political and religious differences aside? I think the answer to that question is "Don't judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes." First we need to get to know one another, before we can approach the topics that create wars.

So let's hope the expectations of these Olympics Games bring people together for friendship and fellowship, with a chance for different cultures to understand one another on a more personal level, instead of how we are perceived by our governments."

I'm sure Osama has suspended his plans of detonating a suitcase nuke in Washington DC while the games are on. No doubt he's sitting in a cave somewhere eagerly awaiting the Michael Phelps - Ian Thorpe showdown in the 200 freestyle tonight. Or not. - T. Bevan 11:00 am Link | Email | Send to a Friend

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