Jewish World Review May 19, 2004 /28 Iyar, 5764

Tony Blankley

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America: The strong horse | A general once said of his own troops that he didn't know what the enemy thinks of them, "but they scare the hell out of me." I get that same queasy feeling observing about half of American public opinion and the politicians and journalists who try to shape it. Patriotic bipartisanship seems to be like the cicada: It spent 17 years underground, emerged in public after Sept. 11, fluttered around briefly, and fell to the ground dead and stinking.

Now, less than three years after America began to face down the greatest threat yet to our national survival, not only has half the country given up the fight, but they have closed their eyes to the danger. Having mistakenly called our decision to go to war in Iraq "elective" (i.e., not necessary for our national security), they now mistakenly believe that we can "elect" to lose it without serious consequences. By definition, any politicians proposing to turn Iraq over to the United Nations or other weakling entities are prepared to accept strategic defeat.

Nitwit pundits and Sunday morning television sages, with that fake look of thoughtfulness that is their trademark, talk about an exit strategy — as if it were just one more Mapquest printout. But any such exit strategy will lead us only on a short path to hell. That is because the essential strategic element in war is to defeat the enemy's will to win, and accepting anything less than triumph in Iraq will catastrophically embolden the terrorists.

I addressed this reality in a column I published on August 14, 2002 — a full half year before the war started — which I titled " A Period of Measureless Peril Could Be in the Offing." It's central analysis bears repeating today:

"On Monday of this week (August 12, 2002), Henry Kissinger ... endorsed the president's pre-emptive war strategy ... In perhaps his most incisive assertion, he justifies "bringing matters to a head with Iraq" for what he calls a "generally unstated reason ... While long-range American strategy must try to overcome legitimate causes of Islamic resentments, immediate policy must demonstrate that a terrorist challenge ... produces catastrophic consequences for the perpetrators, as well as their supporters, tacit or explicit." In other words, we must break the will and pride of all those in the Islamic world who would dare to terrorize us and the international system."

My column from August 14, 2002, continued:

"It is noteworthy that the Texas-based Strategic Forecasting Co. published on the same day (August 12, 2002) a report that concluded "the Bush administration is not abandoning its strategy of war with Iraq because it sees a successful campaign against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as a prime way to shatter the psychological advantage within the Islamist movement and demonstrate U.S. power."

"The usually well-sourced Stratfor explains that from the 1973 oil embargo, through the defeat of Russia in Afghanistan, Saddam's 1991 survival, the U.S. defeat in Somalia to Sept. 11, the centuries-old Islamic sense of impotence has been reversed. In explaining the Bush war aims, they elaborate, Mr. Bush intends to defeat the Islamist sense of their inevitable triumph — to defeat their psychology of manifest destiny ... "

I concluded my column from August 14, 2002: "The future the signs suggest we are facing is a violent and perhaps prolonged struggle to defeat the will of an aroused and myriad people. As Winston Churchill warned shortly before World War II, we are moving into a time of "measureless peril."

And, of course, that is exactly where we are today — in the midst of measureless peril. But as lethal and confounding as the terrorist fighters and their allies currently are in Iraq, our greater peril lies within ourselves.

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We have the strength — military, economic, cultural, diplomatic (dare I include the strength of our religious faith, also?) — to persist around the world unto victory — for generations if necessary.

But all this potential capacity for victory can only be brought into full being by a sustained act of collective will. It is heartbreaking, though no longer perplexing, that the president's political and media opposition want the president's defeat more than America's victory. But that is the price we must pay for living in a free country. (Sedition laws almost surely would be found unconstitutional, currently — although things may change after the next terrorist attack in America.)

But even the president's opponents are not our greatest peril at the moment. The greatest immediate potential danger is a slackening of presidential resolve. President Bush must not hesitate to take all actions with as much force as needed to more fully impose our will in Iraq.

He should not listen to his political advisers — but to his own sound instincts. If he does his bold best in Iraq, the election will take care of itself. America, with the president in the saddle, must re-emerge as the strong horse in the Middle East that bin Laden so fears.

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Tony Blankley is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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04/21/04: Beware of an old man in a hurry
04/14/04: Islam confronting its demons?
04/08/04: Vigilance is not enough
03/24/04: Kerry personally vulnerable
03/24/04: Futile finger pointing
03/17/04: The Spanish disease
03/10/04: Euro back-stabbers for Kerry
02/25/04: What makes John Kerry tick?
02/18/04: Kerry's pre-emptive war policy
02/11/04: George W. Bush — grand strategist?
02/04/04: Elections in the age of terror
01/28/04: There's a war on?
01/21/04: It's good that we live in ignorance of the future
01/14/04: The strange case of immigration politics
01/07/04: Funding for American presidential elections is beginning to go global
12/31/03: Make us laugh
12/24/03: War prophesies
12/17/03: Analyze this!
12/10/03: Until peace is ready to be negotiated
12/03/03: AFL-CIO meets Monty Python
11/26/03: Republicans need to learn from the Romans
11/19/03: All of a sudden we have a responsible media?
11/12/03: To arms
11/05/03: Mayor Mike's appetite for self-destructive accusations
10/29/03: A bloody march to peace
10/22/03: Calls for a general 's head because his comments may have ruffled the feathers of our esteemed enemies!?
10/08/03: The leakers' agony
10/01/03: Managing a scandal
09/24/03: Will we have to balance our strong ethical and religious revulsion of cloning against the danger of being surpassed by a gene-manipulated super-race?
09/17/03: The skinny on the First Ladies
09/10/03: More than cynicism will be needed to defeat prez
09/03/03: Dead Man Politickin'
08/27/03: Patience is not America's long suit
08/13/03: George Will's trifecta of punitive aspirations
07/30/03: A question for the candidates: Whose side are you on?
07/23/03: When GOPers attack their leader
07/17/03: Spanish fest mirrors U.S. elections
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06/25/03: The continuing deaths of American and British soldiers in Iraq should not be rhetorically minimized -- but sanctified
06/18/03: No reason to feel defensive about criticism of the war on terrorism
06/11/03: The Clintons — self-proclaimed geniuses — have no defense against the charge of cunning mendacity
06/04/03: George 'Machiavelli' Bush? Nah
05/28/03: When 'progressives' become reactionaries
05/21/03: Yes, this conservative is defending the NYTimes
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04/25/03: Winning the war, losing the peace
04/16/03: Our own domestic Senate Republican Guard better be prepared for a grinding
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03/26/03: This war is showing the world who we really are
03/19/03: Time for America to laugh at itself
03/13/03: They're coming out of the woodwork: Russert, Buchanan and Moran
03/05/03: Franc-tireur
02/26/03: World history is shifting under our feet --- even our most experienced statesmen are, effectively, inexperienced
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02/05/03: We need to rise above our temporary anger and seek to preserve our bonds with our European cousins
01/29/03: Who is President Bush's stupidest opponent: Saddam Hussein or Tom Daschle?
01/22/03: We call them our European cousins --- but I demand a DNA test
01/16/03: Dems bare partisan teeth
01/02/03: Before the cheering must come the struggle
12/27/02: Long ago and far away
12/18/02: Be glad that Gore's gone?
12/11/02: What fun! A titanic, once-in-a-century partisan battle royal is in the offing
12/04/02: Kerry atwitter
11/27/02: The unThankful list
11/20/02: First the scare, then the yawn
11/13/02: It's going to be a long two years for Lefty Pelosi and the Frisco Dems
11/06/02: Technology: A pollster's worst enemy --- thank goodness!
10/31/02: Watch this election's Wheel of Fate
10/23/02: The Ari and Colin Show: Politics has never been, well, more vaudeville-like
10/09/02: Bush beats drums of realism
10/02/02: Needed: A political chromatograph to detect any true statements in the public domain
09/25/02: Buchanan's new mag
09/18/02: There are many forms of peace
09/11/02: The imperial period of our history starts
09/04/02: Memo to Powell: In periods of upheaval, the refusal to act gives aid to those bent on destruction
08/30/02: Logging old growth is a sham issue

© 2004, Creators Syndicate