While I've had strong policy disagreements with President Bush, I am unafraid to say I am still grateful he is commander in chief at a time when more and more people are losing sight of the big picture in the global war against Islamist terrorists.
It is difficult even for the most hawkish not to be dispirited by the unrelenting negativity against the war by Democrats and the mainstream media, especially since it has gone on longer than we'd hoped.
It's important that those who have realistically assessed the almost-inevitably devastating consequences of our precipitous withdrawal from Iraq resist the seductive pressure to jeopardize our long-term security in exchange for the quick-fix withdrawal option.
This is why it's especially disappointing that some previously war-supporting conservatives have succumbed to the temptation to fold in the face of the public's war fatigue. I assume that such fatigue is behind the revulsion columnist Peggy Noonan expressed for President Bush in her July 13 column.
I hate to disagree with Peggy, who I greatly admire, but given her long-standing and well-earned position of influence on the right, I think it's important to address some of her observations.
I may be wrong, but I read her column as reflecting a growing dissatisfaction with the president's war policies, and an even greater visceral distaste for his personality and demeanor. Peggy wrote that on watching the president's July 12 news conference she found herself "thinking about what it is about him, real or perceived, that makes people who used to smile at the mention of his name now grit their teeth."
She said she was "not referring to what used to be called Bush Derangement Syndrome. That phrase suggested that to passionately dislike the president was to be somewhat unhinged. No one thinks that anymore." She stated that before the conference she had received an e-mail "from as rock-ribbed a Republican as you can find," who "said she'd had it [with Bush]. I don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth.'"
Noonan expressed disdain for "the president's seemingly effortless high spirits" during these sobering times and given his "lack of success" on domestic policy and Iraq. "He doesn't seem to be suffering, which is jarring."