Cal  Thomas

Sorting through the verbal clutter that often characterizes a George W. Bush news conference, one can find small nuggets of valuable truth.

One was, "It's in our interests that we help reformers across the Middle East achieve their objectives. This is the fundamental challenge of the 21st century."

Another, "a failed Iraq in the heart of the Middle East will provide safe haven for terrorists and extremists. It will embolden those who are trying to thwart the ambitions of reformers."

And a third: "If you think problems are tough now, imagine what it would be like if the United States leaves before this (Iraqi) government has a chance to defend herself."

History's final verdict on the success of the Bush Doctrine will not come during this presidency and perhaps not in our lifetime. This is going to be a very long and frustrating war because it is fueled by a religion perverted by extremists who know no compromise or accommodation.

"It takes time to defeat these people," said the president. Yes, and it takes at least as much effort on the home front as it does on the battlefield.

Some buildings have fire doors that seal off occupied areas in an effort to keep people safe from encroaching flames. This is a metaphor for what needs to be done in free countries - if they are to remain free.

Britain is partially "getting it," after a long-standing open-door policy that has allowed foreigners to immigrate to the UK with no intentions of assimilating; and the UK, unfortunately, making little effort to force them to do so. British Trade Secretary Alistair Darling has signaled the government will prohibit free entry to workers from Bulgaria and Romania. An estimated 350,000 workers from those two formerly Eastern bloc countries might seek jobs in the UK once those two nations become part of the European Union next year.

But people from Bulgaria and Romania are not attempting to hijack airplanes and kill Americans. People from other countries, or British-born Muslims, are engaged in that deadly activity. Why isn't Prime Minister Tony Blair's government following through on its pledge to deport those advocating violence and the overthrow of elected leaders with the same commitment it is demonstrating toward preserving the elected Iraqi government?

They might start with Dr. Azzam Tamimi, a radical, Palestinian-born Muslim, who told a crowd of 8,000 in London recently that dying for one's beliefs is "just," and "We are Muslims in Europe, not European Muslims." Tamimi, who defends the terrorist group Hamas, which is banned in Britain, claimed the war is a war on Islam. He has also said he is prepared to be a suicide bomber if the opportunity arises.

Cal Thomas

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Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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