Hypocrisy on steroids
By Henry Lamb
Remember the Democrats' criticism after the World Trade Centers attack: "Bush knew they were coming!" The anti-Bush crowd insisted that the President had intelligence reports that revealed the imminent attacks, and he failed to prevent them.
Subsequent investigations revealed that there was, indeed, chatter in the intelligence community that suggested there were people in this country who were associated with al-Qaida, and that airplanes might be used in some kind of future attack. As with all intelligence fragments gathered from a variety of sources, the best heads in the U.S. intelligence community, most of whom were holdovers from the Clinton era, concluded there was not enough information available to take any specific action.
Prior to the Iraq invasion, there was a mountain of intelligence that indicated biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons potential in the hands of Saddam Hussein. There were also analysts who suggested that some of the evidence was not conclusive. The best heads in the U.S. intelligence community, most of whom were holdovers from the Clinton era, concluded that there was enough information available to take specific action. This conclusion was shared by the best heads in the international intelligence community, as well.
What would the Democrats be saying now, had the President not taken action in the face of the available intelligence information, and if Saddam had unleashed a dirty bomb, laden with chemical or biological materials? And how much worse might the consequences be?
As severely as the President was criticized for not taking action - based on very flimsy information - to prevent the WTC attack, how much more would they be criticizing him for not taking action based on the preponderance of information about the probability of biological, chemical or nuclear weapons?
Democrats are going to criticize this Republican President, regardless of what he does. Their criticism has little to do with the merits of any issue, and everything to do with public perception. The current criticism of the war in Iraq has nothing to do with the security of the United States, and everything to do with tarnishing the President sufficiently to gain some political advantage.
From the outset, the President has pledged to stay in Iraq until "the job is done." He has consistently defined this to be the point at which the Iraqi people have an elected, representative government in place, and a security force of sufficient strength to defend the new government. He has consistently said that as the Iraqi force "stands up," the U.S. and coalition forces will "stand down."
Despite the determined attacks by al-Qaida in Iraq, the people have elected an interim government, which produced a Constitution that the people voted to approve, and are only weeks away from electing their first Constitutional government. This is a remarkable achievement. Especially when it has occurred in the face of daily bomb blasts and murders by the terrorists.
The Iraqi security force now exceeds 200,000, and they are growing more competent by the day. Iraqis are taking ever increasing responsibility for their own security, just exactly as was planned.
After the election in December, and when the new government is established, U.S. troops will begin to reduce their presence, as the Iraqi forces assume control.
Don't expect the Democrats to applaud this achievement. They are now positioning themselves to take credit for the return of American troops. Expect Democrats to say it was their criticism of the war that forced the President to withdraw American soldiers, and that the President is bringing them home in hopes of regaining favor for Republicans before the mid-term elections.
Democrats - and the media - never miss an opportunity to point to the 2,000 American soldiers who have died in Iraq since 2003. Neither has shed the first tear over the 14,000 Americans who died needlessly in 2004 alone - as the result of drunk drivers. Their criticism is not about the loss of American lives; it is about political advantage.
This goal will not be achieved before President Bush leaves office. It would not even be possible, however, had he not heeded the warnings laid before him by the best heads in the intelligence community, and taken the bold action the previous administration said was necessary, but failed to undertake.
Saddam Hussein is gone; a new representative government is rising in Iraq - despite all the hypocritical criticism the Democrats can muster. Because of these two events, the world is a better place, and the prospects for eventually containing the terrorists are much brighter.
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