Michael Barone

 When Bush speaks to the public, he might follow the example of one considerably below him in the chain of command, Marine Corps Maj. Ben Connable, who wrote is USA Today: "This is my third deployment with the 1st Marine Division to the Middle East. This is the third time I've heard the quavering cries of the talking heads predicting failure and calling for withdrawal. This is the third time I find myself shaking my head in disbelief. ... Just weeks ago, I read that the supply lines were cut, ammunition and food were dwindling, the ?Sunni Triangle' was exploding, cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was leading a widespread Shiite revolt and the country was nearing civil war. As I write this, the supply lines are open, there's plenty of ammunition and food, the Sunni Triangle is back to status quo and Sadr is marginalized in Najaf. Once again, dire predictions of failure and disaster have been dismissed by American willpower and military professionalism."

 The president needs to put things in perspective. Iraq is not Vietnam. My Lai was a massacre; Abu Ghraib was abuse. Hundreds of thousands of enemy attacked in the Tet offensive; a few thousand fought for Moqtada al-Sadr, and they are being rejected by his fellow Shiites.

 The gains to be won by persevering in Iraq are great -- an example of decent government can change the Middle East. The losses to be suffered by not persevering are even greater: Vast gains by terrorists determined to attack everything we hold dear.

 George W. Bush must set out our next steps and show, once again, that the media have got it wrong.

Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM