Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Afghanistan, Iraq and Lies

In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq we were told some "lies" by the left. Among them: It would take 6 months and the lives of 10,000 U.S. soldiers to take Baghdad; We would face brutal house to house fighting in Baghdad and the Iraqi army would fight much harder to defend their home country than they did Kuwait; There would be a major humanitarian crisis as millions of refugees flee Iraq into neighboring countries; Saddam Hussein would use his chemical and biological weapons on coalition troops and may even launch them into Israel; the Arab Street would become enraged and rise up against us and our Middle Eastern allies; the region would become unstable and Israel will be drawn into the war, derailing the Middle East peace process. 10 days into the war, as U.S. troops paused during a blinding sandstorm, it was pronounced a quagmire. Then a week later Baghdad fell. There was no house to house fighting, there was no mass flow of refugees - indeed quite the opposite occurred as those Iraqis that had fled abroad during the Hussein years returned to their homeland. Ironically pre-war, many argued that because Hussein had chemical weapons we should not attack him, as that would cause him to resort to using them. Now post-war, the fact that we can't find those weapons is proof that we should not have attacked him. The Arab street remains as unarousable as ever and with Saddam Hussein and his financing of Palestinian suicide bombers out of the picture, terrorism in Israel has dropped by more than half. Don't think that this will slow any of the dire predictions though, being wrong over and over again is hardly an inconvenience. See the current Bush=Draft fear mongering.

This is the pattern though. Before Iraq similar doom and gloom prophecies were made about Afghanistan. All the predictions from our leftist armchair generals were of getting bogged down in a Vietnam like quagmire just as the Soviets did. The terrain was too treacherous, too alien, and the winters were too harsh, the Al-Qaeda fighters too dedicated. But then a funny thing happened, the Taliban were routed, Al-Qaeda was on the run hiding in caves as Daisy Cutters rained down blowing their murderous bodies to bits. Where the Soviets were bogged down for years, this war took us 6 weeks. But what do facts matter? For the last two years we have been hearing from the mainstream press that we are in danger of losing Afghanistan, that the Iraq war distracted from the rebuilding process, that the Taliban is making a comeback and controls three-fourths of the country, that Bush did nothing more than install a Karzai as the mayor of Kabul and pronounce the work done.

Nevermind that business is growing, that a cultural revival is occurring after years of bans on art, music, and writing and that women now have rights beyond being locked inside their houses cloaked in burkas. Nevermind that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda promised to disrupt elections with assassinations, car bombs and drive bys of polling stations, yet they couldn't even pull off one attack? Afghans, both men and women, came out in droves and waited patiently - sometimes for a few hours - to have their votes counted. This is a country that has been at war for the better part of the last century, a country that many on the left pronounce culturally incapable of self-governance, yet three years removed from Taliban rule they held successful elections. That is why this is getting a relatively small amount of press in the western media. It undermines the characterization of quagmire that has been pushed for the last three years, which means Bush must have done something right. You can bet though, had their been attacks and disruptions, it would have been front page news and the elections denounced as a fraud. But success, especially when it is a Bush success, just simply isn't news. And the pattern continues.....

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Thursday, October 14, 2004

Best Debate Wrap-up Ever!

I didn't watch but from the sound bites I've heard this sounds about right:

John Kerry:“Whatever you need, it’s yours. Need a job? You got it. Need a higher living wage? Done. Need cheap, universal healthcare? I’m your man. Need a better education? Have at it, paid in full. Relying on social security for your retirement? I’ll put it in a lock box. Tax relief? I can give you that, too. Want to lose your virginity to a teenage Mexicali hooker and a donkey? I’ll print coupons. And the best part is, every single one of my plans comes with free cole slaw and a plate of homestyle biscuits!”
George Bush:“Anybody who believes this guy can deliver on even one percent of his promises deserves four years of John F’n Kerry. God bless, and good night.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


I don’t know if I care to watch the debates tonight, I am so politicked out. I am sick of the undecideds, I am sick of the constant polls. Most of all I am sick of the far left and their BusHitler talk. If there is one thing I have learned this election cycle it is that Republicans think Democrats are wrong and Democrats think Republicans are evil. I always thought the left was tolerant, open minded and favored diversity. Respect for civil discourse has all but vanished and I am afraid to put a Bush bumper sticker on my car cause I don’t want it keyed. You think I am paranoid? You think it is just the left leaning, artsy neighborhood I live in? I wish it were so, but I’m not alone.

It is shameful how much of the left has sold out their values because they just hate George W. Bush that much. If Al Gore was fighting this war the left would be celebrating the toppling of a murderous dictator, women registering to vote, Iraqi children going to school, and the rebirth of civilization in Mesopotamia. (see Kosovo) Instead they pull a page from the Buchanan book of isolation and ask ‘why are we closing firehouses in the United States while opening them in Baghdad?’ Instead they have become apologists for those wretched societies in the Middle East where, if women and gays were treated as second class citizens it would have to be called progress. Instead we’re in a world where Howard Dean mentions that Bush may have had prior knowledge of September 11 and Madeline Albright says Dean could be right. Instead Ted Kennedy says at the DNC that the only thing we have to fear is four more years of George Bush. Right, that was the reason for all those bomb sniffing dogs and tight security at the DNC – too keep George Bush from running in wearing nothing but a suicide bomb belt and detonating himself. The Democrats are mainstreaming the fringe.

I don’t know why anyone would want to be president. There is a good goddamned reason why every president that leaves office does so with the same grayish white colored hair. This will be no exception. Whoever wins this thing is going to have a nuclear North Korea and probably a nuclear Iran to deal with (at least no nuclear Saddam though). Kerry can talk secret plans all he wants now, but if he wins he will face the same constraints that George Bush does - an uncooperative corrupt, and toothless UN with more interest in their own oil supply than any international order. Oh yeah and weapons of mass destruction, nuclear proliferation and the general responsibility for the safety of the country. Why does either man want this job again?

The Republic is bigger than George Bush and John Kerry though, and it will survive no matter who gets elected. One thing I will say though is that if Kerry does win he will get my support on staying the course in Iraq. I may question some of his policy, but I will never question his motives. I will never attack him with the vitriol that the left attacks Bush, I will never accuse him of being in a conspiracy to cover up for mass murdering terrorists to make some money, or for sending American troops to die so he can steal some oil for his private jet. Just as I have with President Bush, I will likely disagree with some of the decision a President Kerry will make, but I will do so knowing that he has the best interest of the American people in mind. I will support my President in the fight for civilization and I will never sell out my values simply because I can’t stand the notion that a guy I dislike happens to be right about something. Unfortunately over the last two years, I have not been able to say the same for the opposition and I think that has really hamstrung some of our efforts overseas. When the election is finally settled I hope we can put this nonsensical rhetoric behind us and move forward, there is a real enemy out there and he is not a domestic politician.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Cheating on the Global Test

John Kerry wants a "Global Test" for going to war, but how do we know that the others involved in the test aren’t underhanded cheating surrender monkeys? (Via InstaPundit) The Scotsman reports:
SADDAM HUSSEIN believed he could avoid the Iraq war with a bribery strategy targeting Jacques Chirac, the President of France, according to devastating documents released last night.

Memos from Iraqi intelligence officials, recovered by American and British inspectors, show the dictator was told as early as May 2002 that France - having been granted oil contracts - would veto any American plans for war....

Although they found no evidence that Saddam had made any WMD since 1992, they found documents which showed the "guiding theme" of his regime was to be able to start making them again with as short a lead time as possible."

Saddam was convinced that the UN sanctions - which stopped him acquiring weapons - were on the brink of collapse and he bankrolled several foreign activists who were campaigning for their abolition. He personally approved every one.

To keep America at bay, he focusing on Russia, France and China - three of the five UN Security Council members with the power to veto war. Politicians, journalists and diplomats were all given lavish gifts and oil-for-food vouchers.

Tariq Aziz, the former Iraqi deputy prime minister, told the ISG that the "primary motive for French co-operation" was to secure lucrative oil deals when UN sanctions were lifted. Total, the French oil giant, had been promised exploration rights.

Iraqi intelligence officials then "targeted a number of French individuals that Iraq thought had a close relationship to French President Chirac," it said, including two of his "counsellors" and spokesman for his re-election campaign.

They even assessed the chances for "supporting one of the candidates in an upcoming French presidential election." Chirac is not mentioned by name.

A memo sent to Saddam dated in May last year from his intelligence corps said they met with a "French parliamentarian" who "assured Iraq that France would use its veto in the UN Security Council against any American decision to attack Iraq."

Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, last night said again that he was wrong to suggest Saddam had WMD - but asked the British public to accept that Iraq would probably have acquired such weapons if he had not acted.

However, the ISG uncovered millions of pages of documents and, after interviewing scores of captured Iraqis - including Mr Aziz - the report lays out what it says is were plans to end the United Nations sanctions then start to acquire weapons.

The bribery runs very very deep as today’s Telegraph notes:
France and Russia pressed for the lifting of UN sanctions from the mid-1990s.

In 1992, according to Iraqi intelligence documents included in the report, Abdel-Razek Al Hashimi, the Iraqi ambassador to France, handed $1 million for the ruling Socialist party to Pierre Joxe, the defence minister.

Tariq Aziz, Saddam's foreign minister, awarded several French "individuals" substantial oil vouchers in return for using their influence to help lift sanctions.
Most vouchers could be exchanged for cash from oil middlemen in Baghdad. "Saddam sought favourable relations with France because France was influential in the Security Council," the report said.

In June 2000, Iraq awarded $1.78 billion in short-term contracts under the food programme to France, worth 15 per cent of Iraq's total oil contracts, in the hope of ensuring support over sanctions.
This highlights the severe limitations of the multilateralist approach. Giving those that have been bribed by our enemy (in this case the French and Russians) veto power over policy towards that enemy essentially gives proximate veto power to the enemy himself. Yielding decisions to the UN Security Council would not have been altogether different than yielding decisions to Saddam Hussein.

Coalition of the "coerced and bribed"? "It’s all about the oil?" Perhaps John Kerry and the left were correct after all, at least when it comes to the French and Russians.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Not Just any Sidekick

Scottie Pippen, the man who helped bring 6 NBA Championships to the city of Chicago, has announced his retirement. Chicago Tribune basketball writer Sam Smith has a nice column in today’s Chicago Tribune:
Pippen, who officially announced his retirement Tuesday after 17 years in the NBA, was a unique player—willowy and long-armed, cat-quick, powerful and intelligent. He was the star who would be a role player, not that it always was his choice and one he didn't resent at times.

Like everyone else, Pippen wanted to be like Mike. Everyone wants to be the hero. It's even tougher when you're that close and cannot be.

Pippen was the ultimate supporting player, the perfect complement, the guy to defend the opponent's best and shut down an offense. When the Bulls finally won their first championship in 1991, John Paxson hit the big shots and Jordan made the highlight play, the switch-hands layup still shown as the symbol of that series. But it was Pippen who took away the Lakers' game, shutting down Magic Johnson and thus paralyzing the Lakers' offense.

It was Pippen over the years taking on a little point guard like Mark Price one night, going up against Charles Barkley or Shawn Kemp or Karl Malone the next. Whatever was necessary, even if he didn't shoot the ball, isolate and go one-on-one, do the things of NBA highlights and individual acclaim.

Pippen set the screen, got the rebound, made the assist. Isn't the definition of greatness making your teammates better? Pippen did that as well as anyone with his versatility.

He allowed Michael to be Michael.
Lets not forget that in 1993-94 season (the year following Michael’s first retirement) that Scottie Pippen led the Bulls to 55 victories and what would have been another finals appearance if not for the now acknowledged phantom foul call by Hue Hollins. Believe it or not, that play is still fresh in the minds of Chicagoans. Pippen was drafted out of a little Central Arkansas where, as a college freshmen, the best he could do was make the team as a manager. From there he was stolen by the Bulls from Seattle on draft day and went on to be a perennial all-leaguer, win Olympic Gold twice, and be named one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time.

What I will remember most about him though is his fierce energy and defensive swagger that he brought to the floor. With those long arms, cat quick reflexes, and absolute relentless style of defense he could seemingly cover every passing lane and every man on the floor. All at once. But my favorite memory will always be that last Bulls championship game. Yes, Michael struck that unforgettable pose as his shot fell through the net to give the Bulls their 6th championship, but Scottie Pippen, wincing in pain and barely able to walk because of a back injury stayed in the game, hobbled up and down the court, and made a key basket and defensive stop down the stretch that kept the Bulls in position to win.

So, to perhaps the greatest all around basketball player to ever play the game, thanks for making those summers of Bulls championships in the 90's so memorable and so magical for this kid. Now go take your due place in the hall of fame. Thank you Scottie.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Almost Live Blogging the VP Debate

Well, I didn't think I'd watch this debate so I certainly didn't think I'd be blogging about it. TV was on, I was folding laundry, it was 8 o'clock central time so I figured I'd see the first question and then probably read a book. Instead I got sucked in and before I knew it, I was reaching for a pen and paper to make notes, below is roughly the thoughts I wrote down during the debate, please excuse their lack of polish... I didn't proof read and I don't intend to for 10-24 hours.

(NOTE: quotes like this 'quote' are not exact, just paraphrases by me.... ready? Here we go....)

Edwards, in talking of the "global test" said something like: 'we are going to be honest with the world.'

But how does that relate to the war with Iraq? The countries that opposed the removal of Hussein accepted that he had WMD but didn't care. France and Germany never disputed this fact, they only acted the way they did because of their economic interests, i.e. being massive creditors to Saddam Hussein and of course the oil for palaces for scandal.

The moderator (I wish I remembered her name) was head and shoulders above Jim Lehrer, two things she challenged Edwards on that I liked: She read Kerry's quote and asked Edwards to explain what exactly was meant by the "global test" for going to war, and also asked what Kerry would do to bring our allies back given France and Germany's recent pronouncements that it didn't matter who won the Presidential Election in the U.S. they wouldn't help out either way.

Cheney kills the Edwards/Kerry ticket on flip flopping on the war. He mentions that they voted for the war but not to fund it. That Kerry says that knowing what we know now about Husseins WMD programs that he still would have voted for the war, but that he now calls it the "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time." That he'll bring our allies back but that our current allies are really the "coerced and the bribed" and that, when the prime minister of Iraq, Allawi came to the United States to thank us for our sacrifices, Kerry said he lived in a fantasy land. No way to reach out to your allies.

Edwards says that the U.S. is taking '90% of the casualties' and the majority of the cost. Cheney responds by praising the Iraqi citizens contribution and asserts that they are taking on a lot of the cost and Edwards is belittling that.

(I like this format, but there is a loophole that you probably can't close. Either candidate when it is there turn to speak can go back and talk about a previous question. Edwards did this a lot. Reminds of when a lawyer or a witness says something in court that they are not supposed to. It is stricken from the record, but everyone still heard it. Not surprising that Edwards used this.)

Cheney talks of Zarqawi, glad to hear it, but he reminds us who he is by saying something like 'he's the guy on the evening news beheading hostages.' True. Who would have thought a few years ago we would hear a line like that in the VP debates?

Talk about Iran (so far all about foreign policy - favors Cheney) Both talked tough on Iran, good to hear.

(I have never been a Cheney fan, I thought he was a political liability, I was hoping he would be replaced by Giuliani or Condi Rice, I've thought that way for close to a year. Now I think I was wrong.)

Cheney hammers Edwards on his Senate record, says he presides over the Senate but tonight is the first time he met Edwards. Good line.

Cheney talks about Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq. Edwards says Al-Qaeda is in 60 countries, how many of those are we going to invade. Then Edwards talks about Halliburton (and mentions Enron 'offhandedly'). Seems like the Michael Moore strategy. Probably plays well to his base, but not the swing voters.

Israel v Palestine
I mostly agreed with both. Edwards talks about how horrible it is that pizza places and cafes full of children are ruthlessly murdered by suicide bombers in Israel. Cheney agrees, and points out that much of that has abated over the last year because Sadaam's financial support is no longer. Yep.

Talk about the economy and jobs. Nothing new, general philosophical differences between Dems and Republicans are highlighted.

Edwards talks of Bush/Cheney leaving trillion dollar deficits to our children. Well, if the alternative is leaving a nuclear Saddam Hussein to our children I'll take the credit card bill.

A few good point Cheney made wrt Iraq: 'We are training the Iraqi people to take responsibility for securing their own country and building democracy and do the job rather than send more American troops. Sending more American troops would only postpone the date that we can bring our boys home.'

'A terrorist organization could not carry out a chemical attack without state sponsorship, Saddam Hussein's Iraq was the most likely nexus of that taking place.'

'This is the task of our generation.'

'A little tough talk in a 90 minute presidential debate does not erase the inconsistencies'

And in the closing remarks, Cheney takes a subtle jab at Edwards saying that, 'I don't talk about myself too much but in hearing some of the things that Edwards has said about his life, I think we are more similar than different' (growing up from modest means etc.) Edwards responds by doing just that and playing the populist angle of rising from modest means and achieving all he has.

Wow. I never thought I would say this but Dick Cheney is refreshing. He doesn't try and charm he doesn't try and spin, he just spoke with confidence, not relying on the superficial devices that every other politician does. And he does this all without one eye on the next election he could win. At least for tonight he is the only politician I like.

Look, I am really trying to be as objective as I can be. Kerry did win the debate last week, but tonight Cheney cleaned Edwards clock. Edwards was stuck resorting to populist class warfare (tax cuts for the rich, we are fighting for you against the big conglomerates, etc.), repeating every chance he could that he wanted to talk about healthcare, healthcare, and healthcare. What I noticed most though, was that whenever Cheney spoke first, Edwards resorted to defending himself against Cheney's subtle jabs, rather than answering the question. Rather than "here's what I would do...." we heard something like, "well he's flip flopper too, he's rich too!!" I could be wrong but I don't think that will play well with the swing voters.

John Edwards is an incredibly successful trial attorney and it didn't take him long to become one of the rising stars in American politics. He's got charm, looks, he;s warm and engaging and he has a Clinton-esque 'I feel your pain' disposition (and I mean that as a compliment, at least in terms of political savvy). I was pretty shocked at how uncomfortable, defensive, and pessimistic he looked by the end of this debate. This was a big win by Cheney in my calculations, I never expected that he would out-Edwards John Edwards in such a casual but serious manner. Given that this is only a vice presidential debate though, it will be interesting to see how, if at all, it effects the polls and what kind of spin and relevance each side and the press put on it.

Blog Reactions that I'm reading:

Stephen Green has it right on these points:

7:10. Know who Edwards reminds me of? Bush on a good debate night. Repeat your points, stay unruffled, sound folksy.

7:44. I like what Edwards has to say about Israel's right to self-defense. And his support for the Gaza pullout is refreshing. And his admission that there is no "partner for peace" on the PA side is shockingly honest. Which ties into "Saudi Arabia" how?

Hmmm, Jeff Jarvis, who I respect immensley thinks Edwards won.

Now I am tired.

LATER: Okay, one more thought. Big Media reaction will mostly be to downplay the signifigance of a VP debate rather than talk about who won. We'll see tomorrow.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Required Reading Roundup

I've read lots of good stuff this week, you can do the same if you read on. Before you do though, let me tell you about a great web site called Many online newspapers require that bothersome free registration where they collect demographic information and whatever else. BugMeNot will give you a user name and password to get around all that. Use it and pass it on. To the weekend reading.....

James Lileks is on a roll, he talks debates, France and summits:
I can’t take any more talk about bringing allies to the table. Which ones? Brazil? Mynmar? Microfrickin’nesia? Are there some incredibly important and powerful nations out there whose existence has hitherto escaped me? Fermany? Gerance? The Galactic Order of the Belgian Dominion? Did we piss off the Vulcans? Who? If we mean “France and Germany,” then please explain to me why the reluctant participation of these two countries somehow bestows the magic kiss of legitimacy. They want in? Fine. They don’t? Fine. At this point mooning over France is like being that sophomore loser dorm pal who spent his dateless weekends telling his loser roommate about a high school sweetheart who stood him up for the prom. Give it up. Move on. I understand; they are wise and nuanced, we are young and dumb. We’re the cowboy leaning with his back against the bar, elbows on the rail, watching the door; we need our European betters to teach us how to ape the subtle forms of Nijinsky, limbs arrayed in the exquisite form of the Dying Swan. Understood. But I don’t want to be the Dying Swan. And I don’t want posture lessons from a country that spent the last 20 years flopping on its back and grabbing its ankles when Saddam showed up waving stacks of Francs in exchange for bang-sticks. Don’t you think I know about France’s relations with Saddam? Surely the advocates of the French Touch must know, and don’t care. Or they don’t know – in which case their advice is useless.

Germany? Whatever.

And it took lots of dead Americans to be able to say that.
He's got the agenda set for John Kerry's proposed summit as well, read the rest.

Mark Steyn has some thoughts for the Europeans, again read the whole thing, but I can't resist this excerpt:
By contrast, Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian is demanding a ballot for November 2 on the grounds that, "if everyone in the world will be affected by this presidential election, shouldn't everyone in the world have a vote in it?"


But, according to Freedland, in demanding the same rights as New Hampshire and Arkansas, "the human race would be making a declaration of dependence - acknowledging that Washington's decisions affect us more than those taken in our own capitals."

Yes, but that was your conscious choice - a choice not to keep up, technologically, militarily, economically, because you preferred 35-hour weeks, two months of vacation, cradle-to-grave welfare, etc.

And even today you Eurofetishists still trumpet all that as the core of European identity. And, if the core of European identity turns out to have made you impotent, you ought to treat the disease rather than demand free Viagra from Washington.

Dennis Byrne says it was the doves (like him) who got us into this mess:
For example: In the late 1980s, former President George H.W. Bush actually was trying "constructive engagement" to turn Saddam Hussein into a peaceful and responsible regional ally. Voices of "reason" and "moderation" insisted we could "engage" the dictator by offering him incentives and by playing nice. It got us ... a war. No intelligence failure here; we knew 120,000 Iraqi Republican Guard troops had gathered on the Kuwaiti border, but many (like me) opposed intervention. We doves were wrong.

After driving Hussein's invaders out, most folks (like me) thought that "containment" was better than marching to Baghdad. So the international community and the United Nations set up no-fly zones and imposed a "disarmament" policy and monitoring program to destroy and prevent the reconstitution of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. U.S. military forces were asked to hang around to make sure it all got done.

All of which was a great success: Hussein shot at planes flying in the internationally imposed no-fly zone and threw out UN weapons inspectors. The presence of our military forces in the Middle East inflamed lunatics like Osama bin Laden. The sanctions spawned the UN's gigantic Oil-for-Food rip-off, enriching Hussein and Russian, French, Chinese and German interests. Oh yes, and helping arm today's insurgents. Again, the doves (like me) were wrong. While the doves were looking to the UN for a solution, Hussein was spitting in its eye, its multiple empty resolutions and its feathery diplomacy.

Finally, Charles Krauthammer, who to my knowledge has never written a dumb column makes a compelling case to re-elect Bush.
The Michael Moore Democrats are having a jolly time with the President's reaction during those first seven minutes on 9/11. What counts is the first 100 days. The first 100 days witnessed the single most important victory ever in the war on terrorism: the conquest of Afghanistan, the installation of a pro-American government and the decimation and scattering of al-Qaeda. It seems easy now. It was not.

It was risky and required great political courage. Afghanistan was the graveyard of empires. Rugged, mountainous, impenetrable, recalcitrant and peopled by an enemy hardened and fanatical, it was considered unconquerable.

Bush led. And succeeded. He did it by mobilizing the American people within 10 days with one of the great speeches in modern American history, an address to Congress so compelling that 19,000 hockey fans in a Philadelphia arena stopped the game so he could be heard and they could be led. He did it by approving a military plan of audacity and originality. He did it knowing that the United States was going to war practically alone.

John Kerry tells us we have to wage a more sensitive war where we acquiesce more to "allies." O.K., let's talk allies. Which is the single most crucial ally in the war on terrorism? France? Germany? Russia? No. Pakistan. Pakistan made possible the destruction of the Taliban, and has been turning over to us the most important al-Qaeda figures ever captured. How did Bush turn the world's foremost supporter of the Taliban into our most critical ally against them? Sensitivity? Two days after 9/11, Bush had his Secretary of State deliver an ultimatum to the Pakistanis: Join us or else. They joined. That is leadership.

Bush was rewarded for this extraordinary first victory with overwhelming popular support. He could easily have spent the next two years lavishing attention on domestic affairs, ostentatiously opening a bioterrorism triage center in every clinic in every hamlet in America. Punctuate that with regular announcements about the hunt for al-Qaeda, and he could have coasted to re-election as Father Protector.
As we all know, rather than sit back, President Bush risked his political future - indeed his legacy - and decided to take on Saddam Hussein and start the inevitable (but long overdue) process of reform in the Middle East.

Read them all.


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