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.
Why are people like this allowed to stay in Britain?
In the United States, former presidential candidate and journalist, Pat Buchanan is again stirring controversy by trying to give sight to the willfully blind. An open border that allows anyone to come to the United States, he asserts, means the country is headed for self-destruction. Buchanan's figures are irrefutable: one in 12 illegal immigrants has a criminal record; by 2050 there will be 100 million Hispanics (at current immigration rates) concentrated in the American Southwest, as some radicals plot to undo the results of the Mexican-American War. (Since May 2006, Border Patrol agents have arrested more than 160,000 illegals, more than the number of troops currently deployed in Iraq.)
Buchanan criticizes the president and the Republican Congress ("a wholly owned subsidiary of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce") for caring more about cheap labor than the health and strength of the country. He wants a deportation program and a strict limit on legal immigration until those already here are properly assimilated and those who are committing crimes are deported. He also wants a 2,000-mile, double-line security fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, no matter what Mexico thinks. Read all about it in his new book, "State of Emergency: Third World Invasion and Conquest of America."
Abraham Lincoln said that no nation could exist half slave and half free. Neither can a nation exist half united and half disunited.
President Bush says it is essential we win the war in Iraq because our security depends on it. So does winning the war on the home front. When will we start fighting that war and stop the political pandering by both parties?
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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