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George Shultz on Iraq

Yesterday in a speech on the War on Terror at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, former Secretary of State George Shultz said, "The world has never been in a situation of better promise than now. The terrorists must not be allowed to abort this opportunity."

Here's more on his speech from The Daily Princetonian:

Shultz, who traced the war on terror back to the 1970s, divided the struggle into three stages.

The first period, which lasted until Sept. 11, 2001, was marked by U.S. passivity and inaction toward terrorist attacks. Even in the 1990s, the U.S. government was aware of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda but failed to check their growth, much like American inaction during Hitler's rise to power, Shultz said.

"The terrorists had completely free reign," he said.

September 11 set off the second, active military phase of the war against radical Islam, Shultz said. Americans were now aware that terrorist groups could target not just sovereign states, but also world finance, tourism and even air travel.

At present, with the war in its third stage, Shultz said that economic and military sustainability are vital for America to prevail. And in Iraq, he said, Americans must remain dedicated to the cause.

"We took far too long to put an Iraqi face on what we are doing in that country, but Iraqis now have responsibility," he said.

Think about that for a moment: roughly four years of force after thirty years of passivity. During that time, the two thousand six-hundred U.S. military personnel who have paid the ultimate price in defense of their country also liberated more than 30 million people from the yolk of tyranny, oppression and terror.

It's disheartening that more Americans don't take the long view about what sort of perseverance the war against Islamic radicalism is going to take on our part and also that they aren't quicker to recognize the significant historical achievements produced by our efforts so far.