I know this is going to sound cliché, but I think we all need to be reminded of Sen. Arthur Vandenberg’s wisdom on American foreign policy: politics should end at the water’s edge.
Politics don’t end at our shores right now – they are on a fast-boat across the ocean to the dark caves and hideouts of radical extremists that seek to do us harm. And there are brand-new copies of How to Influence American Opinion for Terrorist Dummies onboard.
President Bush held a news conference today at the White House to address the national anxiety over the situation in Iraq. He acknowledged recent failures in executing the plans and made his case for why continuing a war that isn’t going very well – actually a “mess” right now – is worthy of our support.
“I know many Americans are not satisfied with the situation in Iraq. I’m not satisfied either… If I did not think that our mission in Iraq was vital to America’s security, I’d bring our troops home tomorrow,” the President said.
The reaction by some Democrats was both predictable and disappointing. “It’s deeply disturbing that it takes a close election – not in Iraq, but in America – to get this White House to even talk about flexibility and changing course,” Sen. Ted Kennedy said.
Here’s the truth – the American people are not satisfied with the situation there. We need to get our brave men and women out of harm’s way immediately if they are not securing the nation from harm itself. It is disturbing that we have gotten this close to an election before the President began to change the course.
The irony is that they are both right but send exactly the wrong message to the bad guys. They want to demonstrate that America has lost its will and they are looking for any means possible to divide the American leadership. And perhaps they are succeeding to some degree considering the war has become the number one issue in this election.
Sen. Vandenberg’s advice as I understand it is that we as a nation should speak with one voice when it comes to our foreign policy. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know what the answer is to the situation in Iraq. But I am sure that if we do not find common ground and unite, we may never reach the most important goal of all – keeping our country safe.
I was a kid when the Vietnam War ended and we should have been listening to his advice then and we sure as heck should be heeding it now – 31 years later.
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