In countries dominated by dictators, those words are encouraging hearts yearning to breathe free. From women in Saudi Arabia who live under an oppression so intense they cannot drive cars and lack marital and parental rights equal to men, to the young Iranian revolutionaries intent on replacing the mullahs with an elected government, to brave freedom advocates in China, the remarks by President Bush surely are being repeated by word of mouth, by e-mail and on paper, letting those now deprived of freedom know they have an advocate in the United States of America.
Some critics complained that President Bush was arrogant when he suggested America can and should export freedom to other countries. This implies the people of unfree countries may not wish to be free. Which is the greater arrogance?
In speaking so boldly of freedom, not only as America's right and its best defense, President Bush was in line with Reagan, who said, "While we must be cautious about forcing the pace of change, we must not hesitate to declare our ultimate objectives and to take concrete actions to move toward them. We must be staunch in our convictions that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few, but the inalienable and universal right of all human beings."
By boldly embracing freedom as his second term theme, President Bush stands in some pretty good company.
In my Jan. 10 column, I wrote that The New York Times was a "partner" with CBS in investigating and reporting the story about President Bush's National Guard records. However, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller has informed me there was no collaboration between his paper and CBS News.