Jewish World Review August 19, 2002/ 11 Elul, 5762

Wesley Pruden

Wes Pruden
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A woman's work has to be done | The drums of war bang louder, the squeals of the weenies grow shriller. If you're a European pol, or even a British backbencher, it's tough when a good-looking American woman is a bigger, smarter, tougher man than you are.

Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser, raises the temperature of the water Saddam Hussein insists on swimming in, citing, for the Europeans with short memories and shorter attention spans, two occasions on which Iraq had "come closer than we thought at the time to acquiring nuclear weapons."

Said the unflinching Miss Rice, in an important interview yesterday with BBC Radio, meant to stiffen spines if not necessarily upper lips: "This is an evil man who, left to his own devices, will wreak havoc again on his own population, his neighbors and, if he gets weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, all of us. This is a very powerful moral case for regime change."

History, she observed, is littered with winks at brutal dictators who gave the world ample reason for regrets for sleeping through opportunities to do what had to be done when it would have been far easier than it eventually turned out to be. She named no names, but she might have cited Stalin and Hitler for starters, and the entire roster of Europe as a roster of the lazy and the sleepy. She could have reminded the reluctant and the hesitant that before Churchill, the RAF and the other few to whom so many would owe so much there was Chamberlain, the over-educated elites too proud to fight and all the rest who couldn't be disturbed from their naps.

Condi Rice is the wussy's worst nightmare. Menzies Campbell, the foreign affairs spokesman for Britain's Liberal Democratic Party - the Old Blimey equivalent of the Naderite Greens - warned that we might as well expect the end of the world if America is not stopped: "There will be no world order if the most powerful states are entitled to remove other governments at will." A senior Labor Party backbencher, Gerald Kaufman, echoes this view in London's Spectator, and adds an insult or two: "[George W.] Bush, himself the most intellectually backward American president of my political lifetime, is surrounded by advisers whose bellicosity is exceeded only by their political, military and diplomatic illiteracy. Pity the man who relies on Rumsfeld, Cheney and Rice for counsel."

Here we get to what's really bugging these gents - not that the United States threatens to go it alone if necessary, but that the United States is perfectly capable of going it alone, that all George W. and his "illiterates" really need is for the wussies to get out of the way and let the men get to work. The Euro-weenies and their British cousins stamp their feet, crying and threatening to hurl their pacifiers and baby rattles toward Washington if the most intellectually backward American president of their lifetime doesn't do it their way. He's George W. Bush and they're not, and it's just too much to bear.

The Euro-weenies make two arguments, the first that the threat is not really as great as Washington says it is, the "peace in our time" argument. Worse, that America is preparing to go to war without debate, argument or any attempt to persuade and convince. But this is not true. The op-ed pages of the influential newspapers (including this one) have been opened to the dovecote, the airwaves are thick with argument and debate, and every time a senator thunders or a congressman squeaks there's someone with pencil, paper or microphone to get it down. The naysayers labor under a heavy burden when they invariably begin their arguments with, "well, yeah, Saddam is a bad guy, you're right about that, if he doesn't have anthrax and poison gas and the A-bomb he probably will soon, but gee whiz, wouldn't it be nice if everybody could just get along?"

Brent Scowcroft, the Condi Rice of that earlier war (the one that he urged his boss to leave unfinished), argues in the Wall Street Journal that the way to really hurt Saddam Hussein is to sic the United Nations on him. Who needs Stonewall Jackson, George S. Patton or Norman Schwarzkopf when Kofi Annan is standing by, resolutions at the ready?

Leadership, as Condi Rice and George W.'s band of "illiterates" know very well, will always carry the day. When the shooting starts the Euro-weenies will fall all over themselves to get in on the glory. The war could get rough; the Iraqis, unlike last time, could surprise everyone and stand and fight. Or not. The "smart" weapons of the Gulf war, in the words of the military analyst David Hackworth, are "genius" weapons now. Besides, it's important to keep in mind Stonewall Jackson's admonition that a soldier never takes counsel with fear.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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