Jewish World Review July 23, 2003 / 23 Tamuz, 5763
Debra J. Saunders
YES, President Bush and his team have made
There were the 16 words about Saddam Hussein
seeking "uranium from Africa," which President Bush
admits should not have been in his 2003 State of the
Union address. The Bush administration was cocky
in its assumption that U.S. troops, unlike U.N.
weapons inspectors, would virtually trip over
Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. The WMD
remain maddeningly MIA. And it was probably a
mistake for Bush to sort of admit to the 16-word
mistake -- the CIA let him do it -- because it led to
hysterical charges that Bush deliberately misled the
American public to promote a war that Congress had
authorized in 2002.
With the 2004 presidential election looming,
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry,
who voted to authorize war in Iraq, charged that Bush
"hoodwinked the American people," the Associated
In time, these overplayed stories will become vague
memories of Bush-haters desperately trying to paint
the lack of an instant victory in Iraq as the bad fruit of
Bushie screw-ups. But right now, they constitute the
endless chatter of cable news.
You'd think America was losing in Iraq.
Au contraire: U.S. troops engaged in the excruciating
task of rebuilding Iraq have been so victorious that
they now are dealing with what Gen. Tommy Franks
called "catastrophic success." Credit the law of
unintended consequences -- Baghdad collapsed so
quickly that mid-level Baathists were able to melt into
the population. They lived to terrorize another day.
More important, however, is the fact that more U.S.
soldiers lived as well. The U.S. victory is not to be
taken lightly, even if Gen. John Abizaid's admitted
last week that the Iraqi situation represents "a
classical guerrilla- type campaign."
Again, the mouthpieces over-reacted. As the death
toll of American troops killed in action since May 1
reached 38, the Bush-Bashers had begun comparing
Iraq to Vietnam and calling for specifics on the
administration's "exit strategy." Note United Nations
Secretary General Kofi Annan's call for a "clear
timetable" for a staged U.S. withdrawal of troops.
That's right, the very "international community" elites,
who used to put down Bush for being a hick on
nation-building, are the folks who are demanding,
mere months since the fighting began: "When will it
Swell idea. Release a timetable that gives Baathist
loyalists a schedule for stonewalling.
America's enemies already know that it took 18 dead
soldiers to prompt President Clinton to withdraw U.S.
troops from a humanitarian mission in Somalia in
1993. During the first Persian Gulf War (led by the
first President Bush), our enemies became too
familiar with America's willingness to not finish what
Yet somehow, some of America's friends do not
understand the need for Bush to stick to his pledge
to keep U.S. troops in Iraq until there is a "regime
change" -- which happened -- followed by a stable,
democratic government -- which hasn't happened and
won't happen soon.
It will be "a while," L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civil
administrator of Iraq, told NBC's Tim Russert on
Sunday. "I don't know how many years."
In Bremer, America has a diplomat who knows better
than to create a set number at which eager critics
can snipe if it's not met. Bremer, like Bush, knows
how to focus on a long-term goal.
Bush spokesman Ken Lisaius noted, "The president
has said that we're going to see this mission through
so Iraq can be stable and Iraq can be secure and Iraq
can be on a path to democracy.
"The president is not going to put a timetable on it
because it's such an important mission. He's going
to see it through."
Yes, the United States will make mistakes along the
way. But the biggest mistake would be to let the
snipers turn victory into defeat.
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© 2000, Creators Syndicate