In a retrospective review....
....of our accomplishments since 9/11 Victor Davis Hanson demonstrates the wealth of knowledge that leads to cautious optimism and a deep appreciation of what George Bush has wrought.
I know that things are going pretty well in America's efforts in the Middle East when Fareed Zakaria, who was a sharp critic over the last two years, now assures us that events are working out in Iraq just about, he tells us, like he saw all along. Joseph Nye intones that at last Bush came around to his very own idea of "soft power," while Jackson Diehl gushes that Bush was sort of right all along to nods of approval even from Daniel Schorr.Isn't that disgusting? A former Clinton official sees "hope"!!! in the possibility that things might not work out well for the US? I hardly know how to react.
Even former Clinton National Security Council member Nancy Soderberg recently lamented to Jon Stewart, "It's scary for Democrats, I have to say." And then she added, "Well, there's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's still hope for the rest of us....There's always hope that this might not work."
Hanson, however, ignores the pusillanimous commentary and plows ahead, moving to his conclusion with alacrity.
Every time the United States the last quarter century had acted boldly its removal of Noriega and aid for the Contras, instantaneous support for a reunified Germany, extension of NATO, preference for Yeltsin instead of Gorbachev, Gulf War I, bombing of Milosevic, support for Sharon's fence, withdrawal from Gaza and decapitation of the Hamas killer elite, taking out the Taliban and Saddam-good things have ensued. In contrast, on every occasion that we have temporized abject withdrawal from Lebanon, appeasement of Arafat at Oslo, a decade of inaction in the Balkans, paralysis in Rwanda, sloth in the face of terrorist attacks, not going to Baghdad in 1991 corpses pile up and the United States became either less secure or less respected or both.The man who must be given credit for this is George Bush. He withstood withering criticism and worldwide outrage, overcame the reluctance of the American people, corralled Congress and led them to the right outcome, all the while believing that if he was stedfast, the outcome would justify the abuse.
So it is also in this present war, in which our unheralded successes far outweigh our notorious mistakes. A number of books right now in galleys are going to look very, very silly, as they forecast American defeat, a failed Middle East, and the wages of not listening to their far smarter recommendations of using the U.N. more, listening to Europe, or bringing back the Clinton A-Team.
America's daring, not its support for the familiar but ultimately unstable and corrupt status quo, explains why less than three years after September 11, the Middle East is a world away from where it was on the first day of the war. And that is a very good thing indeed.
When the history books are written, when the acrimony of the present is a fading memory, when you and I are long gone, George Bush will be recognized as one of the greatest Presidents ever to lead this country.