“Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis — who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done. It would send the wrong message to our troops — who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve. And it would send the wrong message to the enemy — who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out.”
What really has made the left loopy, though, is Bush’s repeated referencing of 9/11. To the left—from the Daily Kos blog to pundits on CNN and MSNBC—this was a continuation of the “myth” that Iraq was behind the September 11 attacks. But what they missed in the past and again Tuesday night is that the war in Iraq—or the war on terror, for that matter—has never been about revenge; it is about preventing another 9/11.
President Bush cited no less an authority than Osama bin Laden to substantiate his correct claim that torpedoing freedom in Iraq is of foremost importance to al Qaeda and other jihadists. Iraq’s budding democracy has not created new Islamic terrorists as the left claims, but it has undoubtedly served as a magnet for attracting them from all over. (Notice that President Bush named names in listing neighbors whose residents have become jihadists in Iraq, and not coincidentally or insignificantly, Saudi Arabia topped the list.)
Though Tuesday night’s speech was important and long overdue, President Bush needs to reiterate its clear messages throughout this and coming weeks. Just as the left has not stopped the campaign efforts it began last year, neither should Bush. Americans can and will continue to support our men and women in Iraq—but Bush needs to be there providing leadership every step of the way.
Tuesday night was a good start.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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