Friday, October 28, 2005

Make No Mistake

Lest anyone be uncertain concerning the aspirations of the radical Islamists, President Ahmadinejad of Iran dispels any misunderstanding. The following excerpts, made available by MEMRI, are from his recent speech at the World Without Zionism conference in Tehran. The conference was attended by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and hundreds of students:

"... They [ask]: 'Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?' But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved ...."

"Very soon, this stain of disgrace [i.e. Israel ] will vanish from the center of the Islamic world - and this is attainable."

"Regrettably, 27 or 28 years ago... one of the countries of the first line [i.e. Egypt ] made this failure [of recognizing Israel ] - and we still hope that they will correct it."

"The issue of Palestine is by no means over, and will end only when all of Palestine will have a government belonging to the Palestinian people. The refugees must return to their homes, and there must be a government that has come to power by the will of the [Palestinian] people. And, of course those [i.e. the Jews] who came to this country from far away to plunder it have no right to decide anything for the [Palestinian] people."

"I hope that the Palestinians will maintain their wariness and intelligence, much as they have pursued their battles in the past 10 years. This will be a short period, and if we pass through it successfully, the process of the elimination of the Zionist regime will be smooth and simple."

"Oh dear people, look at this global arena. By whom are we confronted? We must understand the depth of the disgrace imposed on us by the enemy, until our holy hatred expands continuously and strikes like a wave."

Mr. Bush's assessment of Iran as part of an axis of evil looks more trenchant with every passing week. Imagine that some unstable lunatic like Ahmadinejad gets his hands on a nuclear weapon. Does anyone seriously think that a man like this, so full of hatred, will decline to use it? This speech lends all the more urgency to attempts to put an end to Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. And if diplomacy fails, which it almost surely will, the world, or at least a part of it, must be prepared to do whatever is necessary to keep such weapons out of Iran's arsenal.

Click on the link for more on the speech.

The Left Shouldn't Celebrate Yet

The media have been busy this week gleefully writing George Bush's political epitaph (see here, for example), but as Mark Twain might have put it, the funeral celebration is a bit premature.

To be sure, Mr. Bush has had a rocky couple of months what with Katrina, problems in Iraq, the unravelling of the Miers nomination, today's indictment of the Vice President's Chief of Staff, and a number of lesser travails. All of this has brought the president's media antagonists to the political graveyard to dance a conga around the tombstones in eager anticipation of the interment of the Bush presidency.

Nevertheless, it's not difficult to imagine this administration gathering itself up and rebounding from the present difficulties. Indeed, President Bush is well-positioned to execute a fourth quarter rally that could still place him among the greatest presidents of modern American history. Here's why and how:

The economy is growing steadily. Note that the Democrats rarely refer to the economy anymore by way of criticizing the president. Yet our economic health is the most crucial issue, as the Dems insisted in 1992, in determining which party will prevail in an election. If the Democrats could use our economic condition against Bush they would be doing it, but they can't so they aren't. If the economy continues to grow - and with gas prices falling to less extortionist levels there's reason for optimism in this regard - the public will forget the troubles of the last two or three months like one forgets a dream upon waking.

Iraq seems to be progressing steadily toward a historically unprecedented Arab democracy. Despite the steady drizzle of left-wing criticism and negativity, Bush's strategy in Iraq might well ultimately succeed. It's still unclear if it will, of course, but if it does, history will hail his effort, and that of our military, as an astonishing political, strategic, and human rights achievement, perhaps the greatest that any president or world leader ever accomplished. Success in Iraq will reverberate and ramify throughout the entire region and around the globe for generations. It's very difficult to overstate the significance and importance of such a consummation.

With the withdrawal of Harriet Miers the president has been given an unusual second chance to appoint someone of the very finest timber to the Supreme Court. Miers may have been a good appointment, but there was cause for serious skepticism. Mr. Bush can now name someone about whom there is no doubt. Another conservative justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia, as we were promised in the campaign, and the legal course of this country could be altered for the good for the next thirty to fifty years. Such a nomination would also unify the president's base and make him much more politically formidable.

Assuming there are no further indictments, the Scooter Libby affair will scarcely register on the historical record. On the other hand, it could serve, as did Katrina, as a prod to rouse the administration from complacency. There are signs that this is already happening. We're beginning to hear noises about getting the budget and our borders under control. Success breeds success. If the administration recovers its legislative momentum it may even try again to reform social security. If by 2008 just some of these things are happening, or at least appear to be under way, George Bush, to the everlasting chagrin of the portside media, will be regarded as surpassing even Ronald Reagan and FDR.

The ghoulish excesses of the liberal media are as premature as they are inappropriate. Too much still hangs in the balance for them to be indulging their hopes of a failed presidency just yet.