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Mr. President, stay the course

By Henry Lamb
web posted December 19, 2005

It was embarrassing to watch Democrats rally in support of Bill Clinton during the Monica affair, and their rush to defend his perjury before a federal grand jury and his most famous lie: "...I did not have sexual relations with that woman..." before a worldwide television audience.

It is even more embarrassing to watch the Democratic leadership whine on national television, while desperately grasping for straws to flog President Bush, and pitifully claiming that their actions are forcing the President to adopt their demands to withdraw.

Senate minority leader, Harry Reid is truly pitiful. He likes to say that his grandstanding stunt to close the Senate for two hours, forced the Republicans to "investigate" the President's manipulation of intelligence data. Actually, the investigation by the Senate Committee on Intelligence went quite well, until it was blocked by the Democrats. Phase II, as it is called, consisted of analyzing about 300 statements made by public officials to see if any of the statements included information that was not in the National Intelligence Assessment provided to the President, and to the Congress, before the vote to authorize the war.

When Chairman Robertson announced that in order to get an unbiased analysis, the committee members would analyze the statements without knowing who made the statements, the Democrats balked. They simply refused to review the statements. It would have been humiliating for a Democrat to criticize a statement, and then discover the statement came from another Democrat. Reid's grandstanding served to reveal the true reason why Phase II had not been completed.

Senator Levin's criticism is so shallow that he should be ashamed to consume TV time discussing it. In his "prebuttal" to the President's December 14 speech, Levin criticized the President for saying in an earlier speech that the new Iraqi government might "possibly" amend the Constitution document. Levin said the President should have said the new Iraqi government "desperately needed" to amend the Constitution Document.

Poor old John Kerry can't open his mouth without sounding like an idiot, and Nancy Pelosi has wound up to the left of Howard Dean.

Collectively, their criticism of the war in general, and of the President in particular, is nothing more than political hogwash. The Democrat leadership claims that their objections have made next year, a year of transition in Iraq. Does this mean that the year following the election of the first constitutional government in Iraq would not have been a transitional year, had the Democrats kept their mouths shut? Hardly!

The criticism spewed by the Democrat leadership is far from constructive; it is nothing more than a distracting noise. It is useful only to the media which eagerly amplifies every allegation and criticism, over and over again. Despite the constant anti-Bush drumbeat, the President's original vision is beginning to emerge from the fog of war.

After 9-11, the President rightly reasoned that the best, if not the only way to defeat terrorism, is to let the promise of freedom overpower the tyranny of terror. The President rightly reasoned that a democratically elected representative government in Iraq could create a bright example, which other Islamic nations might wish to follow. It was a bold vision that would require defeating a determined enemy in the field, and negotiating a political minefield at home. Anything less, however, would be little more than putting a band-aid on a cancer.

Defeating Saddam militarily was never a major concern; helping a liberated nation build a representative government was the real challenge. This challenge intensified as the purveyors of terror realized the threat to their dream of an Islamic nation that reached from Spain to Indonesia. Al Qaeda, Syria, Iran, and countless subsets of Islamic fanaticism, in addition to the natural conflicting religious, ethnic, and cultural forces in Iraq, made a difficult challenge even harder to achieve.

Nevertheless, a provisional government was established. In the midst of daily bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations, a Constitution was crafted, and ratified by the people. Now the first elected government has been chosen by the people.

In addition to these absolutely remarkable achievements, business activity has blossomed, more and more schools and hospitals are coming on line, and people are beginning to believe that the future will be better than the past. According to a recent poll published by the BBC, a full 70% of the people said that things were going well, or quite well, in their lives while only 29% said things were bad. More than half the people said things are better now than before the war, and the government has not yet been formed.

The President's vision is beginning to materialize, despite the Democrats' embarrassing babbling. If freedom can gain a foothold in Iraq, the entire world benefits. Mr. President, stay the course.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), and chairman of Sovereignty International.

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