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War and elections: Critical decisions

By Alan Caruba
web posted February 16, 2004

George W. Bush calls himself "a war President", but his real problem seems to be the economy. Moreover, the war was fought and won so swiftly, it has virtually faded from the minds of Americans, despite the fact we have troops deployed in combat situations both in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Once the "embedded" journalists came home, the war was, for most people, over.

Americans have always been reluctant to change Presidents in the midst of a war, but now that Democrats are telling people the Iraq war was unjust and unwise, recent history tends to suggest voters will reject any President who led the nation into one. This is how the Democrat Party is seeking to seize power again. Given the fact that America was attacked, to undermine the resolve of Americans in a time of war borders on being traitorous.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt served an unprecedented four terms precisely because World War II was raging during his time in office. Lyndon B. Johnson had to give up his desire for a second term because public opinion turned against the war in Vietnam and Nixon was elected on the promise he would end it. The Paris peace accords did end it and the Watergate scandal put an end to his presidency. Presidents have almost always been reluctant to go to war. Even the Gulf War that Bush41 successfully pursued, liberating Kuwait from an Iraqi invasion, did nothing to keep him in office. He was replaced by a known draft-dodger whose antipathy to the military caused many serving officers to leave.

George W. BushFollowing 9-11, when Bush43 invaded Afghanistan to deprive al-Qaida of its training base for militant Muslims, he was applauded for taking direct action to protect the nation. When he identified Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an "axis of evil" no one disagreed, although, at the time, some people asked why North Korea was on the list. Now we know. After years of defying United Nations resolutions, throwing UN inspectors out, and being recognized by every intelligence service in the world as threat to regional and world peace, Bush43 initiated a "regime change" and everyone applauded.

So why are so many Americans being urged to believe that Bush43 "misled" or even "lied" to them? Why is this generation of Americans so impatient with the process of initiating some form of democracy in Iraq? Why not remove a dictator who waged two wars with neighboring nations, gassed his own citizens, and tried to assassinate a US President? In essence, the real issue of Iraq is whether or not it was the right and, indeed, the moral thing to do? Americans instinctively understand this.

As evidence mounts of countless thousands of Iraqis murdered by Saddam’s regime, why do Democrats want to get out as fast as possible while saying nothing about the future of Iraq if it is allowed to become another Islamic republic run by the same kind of militant Muslims that operate within al-Qaida or who govern Iran?

In part, the reason may lie in the way the war is being conducted by a volunteer army that represents career soldiers committed to protecting America’s interests, as opposed to the Vietnam War that was fought by draftees, over 50,000 of whom gave their lives. Americans who grew up during the 60s and 70s during growing protests against that war are now being urged to equate that past war with the need to bring some democracy and general progress to the Middle East.

Vietnam was about opposing Communism. The Middle East is about opposing radical Islam. Both are totalitarian in nature, but neither has anything else in common. Why don’t those who want to defeat Bush understand this?

John KerryThe likely candidate for the Democrat Party nomination, John Kerry, was one of the leading protesters to Vietnam War. He testified before Congress that his fellow soldiers were rapists and war criminals. He faked throwing his medals away. Yet, he is regarded as the war "hero" and President Bush, who served honorably in the Texas National Guard, is not.

Bush’s response to 9-11 was to use American power to root out our enemies and restructure the Middle East so it poses far less of a threat. Kerry’s response to war is visceral and he has tapped into that response among others who cannot or will not take a long-term view of the world as it is today. He has tapped into the coward’s vote.

This is not the 1970s. It is an entirely new era in which the war against the United States is not being waged by armies, but by the stealthy use of terror to create enough fear to weaken our resolve to thwart the ambitions of fundamentalist Muslims; men who are committed to imposing their religion on the world. Unlike many Americans, they are very patient. They waited for eight years between the first bombing of the Twin Towers in 1993 and the attack in 2001 that destroyed that symbol of America’s economic power.

Reportedly, they are training an unknown number of terrorists to become "sleeper cells" in America to wreak further terror upon us in the years ahead. There are an estimated three million Muslims in America among whom they can hide and more than two thousand mosques in America in which to meet and plot their attacks.

Around the world, hardly a week goes by when these terrorists perpetrate some new atrocity. Hardly a week goes by when some are captured, tried and sent to prison by nations that are also under attack. Or soon will be.

President Bush, however, now finds himself, his advisers, and the American intelligence community under attack for taking the only appropriate action to undermine the ability of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations to pursue their deadly ambitions. The election campaign is shaping up to be one led by a Democrat candidate who thinks that the war is a "law enforcement" problem, not a potential for massive lethal attacks that can take place in any American city at any time.

Americans are being urged to waver in their resolve to wage the war that is necessary for our national survival. If they do, no one will be safe and the future of the nation will be put in jeopardy such as we have not known since the last World War.

George W. Bush is not perfect. No President is, but he understands the scope of the threat that America faces. The Democrats either do not or they do not care because they have demonstrated they are willing to say anything to acquire the power of the Oval Office. The Democrats are no less desperate for power than those who would destroy this nation.

Their last candidate for President, Al Gore, is now yelling at the top of his lungs that Bush "betrayed" America. No, he did not. Bush acted to protect it, something former President Clinton, his Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, and his National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, never did.

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com. © Alan Caruba 2004

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