Things are getting interesting in Iraq, are they not? The rubber is hitting the road. Decisive and organized action is being taken by our enemies, and we seem to be responding with measures that--we think--the situation demands. That the outcome hangs in the balance is true; that is the very definition of a crisis. Things are in flux, as they always are in politics, and even more so during the fog of war. Trying to understand what is going on is not, therefore, easy. But we do know this: President Bush is a morally engaged man, determined to do what’s right. He will not fold, he is steadfast in his purpose. Great events are afoot, and great events do not call forth small men. I think he is the man for a crisis. This doesn’t mean that he will not be pushed around both by events and the media’s perception of those events. But his steady purpose will prevail, even as tactical changes will be made. And when those changes are being made--and some are being made as we speak--it is important to understand those changes as necessary or prudent changes demanded by circumstances, rather than a change in purpose. It seems certain that the American people--understanding how things have changed since 9/11--understand this and they will hold true. The people are less flighty than their detractors and pessimistic observers think. This is not a quagmire and this is not a Vietnam, regardless of what the small-souled Democratic candidates would have you believe.
Bad politicians always re-fight the last war, and they learn the wrong lesson. The President understands this. President Bush’s speech at the National Endowment for Democracy is a serious statement on the future of American foreign policy, and should be read and studied. He is trying to win a war, establish a new regime in the Middle East, deal with the Israeli-Palestinian issue, while he is trying to pressure Islam toward a liberal constitutional mode. Accomplishing all of this will not be easy, and will not be accomplished without sacrifice. Let our stout hearts be led with our good judgment, never forgetting the things for which we stand. If this is a test of wills, I remain optimistic.