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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|About Frackin' Time!!|
The President today responded to his critics--FINALLY. Some highlights:
Last month, the world learned of a letter written by al Qaeda's number two leader, a guy named Zawahiri. And he wrote this letter to his chief deputy in Iraq — the terrorist Zarqawi. In it, Zawahiri points to the Vietnam War as a model for al Qaeda. This is what he said: "The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam — and how they ran and left their agents — is noteworthy." The terrorists witnessed a similar response after the attacks on American troops in Beirut in 1983 and Mogadishu in 1993. They believe that America can be made to run again — only this time on a larger scale, with greater consequences. . . .
With the greater economic, military and political power they seek, the terrorists would be able to advance their stated agenda: to develop weapons of mass destruction; to destroy Israel; to intimidate Europe; to assault the American people; and to blackmail our government into isolation. . . .
Some might be tempted to dismiss these goals as fanatical or extreme. They are fanatical and extreme — but they should not be dismissed. Our enemy is utterly committed. As Zarqawi has vowed, "We will either achieve victory over the human race or we will pass to the eternal life." (Applause.) And the civilized world knows very well that other fanatics in history, from Hitler to Stalin to Pol Pot, consumed whole nations in war and genocide before leaving the stage of history. Evil men, obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience, must be taken very seriously — and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply.
Some have also argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions in Iraq — claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001. (Applause.) The hatred of the radicals existed before Iraq was an issue, and it will exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse. The government of Russia did not support Operation Iraqi Freedom — and, yet, the militants killed more than 150 Russian schoolchildren in Beslan. . . .
The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our new century. Yet in many ways, this fight resembles the struggle against communism in the last century. Like the ideology of communism, Islamic radicalism is elitist, led by a self-appointed vanguard that presumes to speak for the Muslim masses. . . .
Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision. . . .
Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy pursues totalitarian aims. Its leaders pretend to be an aggrieved party, representing the powerless against imperial enemies. In truth, they have endless ambitions of imperial domination — and they wish to make everyone powerless, except themselves. . . .
Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples — claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent. . . .
And Islamic radicalism, like the ideology of communism, contains inherent contradictions that doom it to failure. . . .
While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.) Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.
I call this a good start in the counter-offensive. If anything, it may have been a bit too mild--I would have quoted one or more of the most irresponsible rhetorical flourishes from one of the Senate Dems and called them on it. But I do take this as a good sign that maybe the White House is getting off of its butt and engaging in this front of the War.
I found it very interesting how the President drew the analogy to the Cold War in all this. Perhaps he's positioning himself as the heir to the foreign policy legacy of Ronald Reagan, but it does also drow to mind the reality that the defeat of communism took over 40 years. A long and difficult struggle, indeed, and one that can only be won by a committed and realistic America.
Which is a point the White House should take to heart--they need to commit to this front of the War and be realistic that they MUST stay engaged and use the bully pulpit to overwhelm the lies of the Left.