Parting Thoughts on Character

There's a one-word explanation for the surprising Republican success in this month's elections: character. Undecided voters concluded that George W. Bush stood for something and that Democrats didn't -- and that he means what he says, period.

Now comes the interesting part -- an inevitable standoff between the United States and United Nations.

Exhibit 1: Iraqi missile batteries fired on American and British jets no fewer than nine times Thursday and Friday, in complete violation of the peace treaty signed at the end of the Gulf War. Nevertheless, U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan says the violation isn't really a violation because the new resolutions that define a violation don't define this violation as a violation. Got that?

Exhibit 2: Chief Weapons inspector Hans Blix now says that even if Saddam Hussein lies to weapons inspectors and hides weapons of mass destruction, the concealment may not violate the latest U.N. resolution, which outlaws lying. Translation: The U.N. no longer believes in such things as truth and falsehood. It can't call a lie a lie; a violation a violation. Heaven only knows if it knows what the meaning of "is" is.

Now, if Iraq violates its U.N. obligations, the president could beg permission to act from the U.N., or assemble a coalition of like-minded nations and act.

Count on option two. The president says that's what he'll do -- and I believe him. It's all about character.