Sept. 23, 2004

Winning 101

President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi put on a buddy act today; Allawi gave a pep talk to a joint session of Congress, followed by a press conference with President Bush. The two tried to reassure restive politicians that Iraq has not slid into a quagmire and that Iraq, aided by coalition forces, continues to advance haltingly toward something resembling liberal democracy. Allawi, sounding like Margaret Thatcher in 1991, urged American politicians not to go wobbly. The president meanwhile found an opportunity to take a few pokes at John Kerry, whom he accused of fatal indecision on things that matter. Sen. Kerry meanwhile hammered away at also-familiar themes, such as the president’s “failure” to enlist the international community in taking on the bad guys. In the process he uncorked a bewildering proposal to stem beheadings by loading up large airliners, flying troop trainers to nations bordering Iraq, and instructing eager recruits in the vagaries of safeguarding Western workers in Iraq and restoring peace to strife-riven streets.

While those one-liners are entertaining, it might behoove us all to take note of relevant events in the real world. Consider this from blogger Michael Totten: He describes the way in which Israel has crushed terrorism — not by groveling before the International Community (which as a general rule hates Israel) or showing cultural sensitivity toward suicide bombers. Israel stamped out the intifada by building a fence, isolating Yasser Arafat, killing terrorists, and increasing the vigilance of its people. In short, the government of Ariel Sharon ignored advice from prim Western diplomats, and instead asserted itself in a determined, effective, and self-confident manner. It worked — as it always does. Victor Davis Hansen also offers a few historical reminders to the queasy. Read the Totten and Hansen postings. They provide the kind of perspective you almost never find in stump speeches.

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