Monday, August 30, 2004

Ninth Installment of Good News From Iraq

Don't miss Arthur Chrenkoff's ninth installment of Good News From Iraq. There's much cause for concern, of course, but much more cause for satisfaction and even rejoicing. When one reads what the United States is doing to bring the Iraqi people into the modern world it really does make one proud to be an American.

Bush's opponents want to challenge his foreign policy. They want to hammer him with the question "What have you actually accomplished in your four years as president?" This seems to me to be the most myopic of questions. George Bush has in three years liberated 50 million people from oppression and tyranny, and has perhaps eased the oppression on millions more through the subsequent ripple effect of his toughness. No president in history has accomplished more good for more people in the face of more criticism, except perhaps Ronald Reagan whose campaign against Soviet tyranny eventually resulted in several hundred million people being freed from the nightmare of communist totalitarianism.

If Bush hadn't gone to war in Afghanistan millions of people would still be groaning under the horribly cruel oppression of the Taliban, millions of women would still be treated like chattel, and terrorists would still have safe haven there. If he hadn't taken us to war in Iraq, the sanctions would still be in effect, and tens of thousands of Iraqis would be suffering the deprivations imposed by Saddam's misuse of the resources Iraq received under those sanctions. Tens of thousands more would have been tortured and/or murdered in the past year, and millions more would still be living in abject fear and crushing poverty.

History will show Bush's initiatives in Afghanistan and Iraq to be an unprecedented humanitarian endeavor, and as Rudy Guiliani said in his speech tonight at the Republican convention, whatever happens in the November election, George Bush has established himself as a truly great president. He has used American power and wealth to accomplish an amazing amount of good in that part of the world.

Now comes a television ad that criticizes Bush for spending too much of our resources on the Iraqis. This is certainly a strange criticism for the left to make. We have so much in this country and the Iraqis have so little, yet these putative champions of the poor and downtrodden are complaining because Bush is spending too much on them and not enough on us. With friends like these the world's poor need no more enemies.

The New Soldier

The controversial book compiled by John Kerry in the early seventies and which has subsequently almost disappeared from libraries and book stores can be read here. The book is called The New Soldier and is strongly anti-war. This in itself is unexceptional, but there are some things in the book which Senator Kerry apparently would rather not have publicized during the present election.

Chief among these, in our view, is his 1971 Senate testimony wherein he calls the Vietnam war "the biggest nothing in history." He also avers that "there is nothing in South Vietnam which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of to us the height of criminal hypocrisy."

Now these were, and are, legitimate opinions which good people may debate, but the problem they present for Kerry is that he has stated repeatedly throughout the current campaign that he "fought to defend this country as a young man," but, as the above quotes make plain, as a young man he evidently didn't see what he was doing as in any sense fighting for America. Quite the contrary.

His insistence now that his military service then was rendered for the defense of his country strikes us as patently false. The possibility that he is telling the truth, both then and now, about his convictions doesn't seem even remotely realistic unless the law of non-contradiction has somehow been suspended. Taken together with all of his other statements about his service which have come under question in recent weeks, some of which he himself has recently recanted, the picture we're getting of Senator Kerry is that of a man who is either delusional, grossly dishonest, or seriously confused. It doesn't much matter which it is, he's not presidential timber.