Author Mark Helprin does not write op-eds for a living, but when he does publish an essay on current events, it is always worth reading. Their sensibility and gravitas are sorely lacking in what passes for elite opinion in the mainstream press. His Monday editorial for the Wall St. Journal, "Our Blindness," takes issue with Bushs Second Inaugural Address (which I very much liked), and repeats his warning that the U.S. needs to prepare for a coming confrontation with China.
Regarding Bushs strategy in Iraq, Helprin remarks, "God help the army that must fight for an idea rather than an objective." An arguable point, but one worth debating, especially among conservatives who like what Bush is doing in the Middle East, in general, but quibble over the tactics he has implemented.
In addition, Helprin culls from Bushs 2nd Inaugural Address a commitment to "evangelical democracy writ overwhelmingly large" that he believes is simply too great a burden for our armed forces to bear. I think this point is too fine a point to put upon Bushs Iraq policy, esp. leading up to the elections this week. Nevertheless, as much as I liked Bushs speech, there were a few points where the rhetoric was too highfalutin even for this fan of eloquent political prose. While I disagree with Peggy Noonans blunt charge that it contained "way too much God," Bushs address could have downshifted a bit on reiterating the laudable theme of freedom, and spent more time drawing out its implications for America on the homefront as well as abroad. Americans on both sides of the partisan aisle could have benefitted from a more explicit connection between his commitment to freedom and his policies for fighting terrorism and proposals for reforming Social Security, among other domestic issues.