Michael Barone

At the heart of that thinking is this proposition: We're the problem. America, or rather George W. Bush, is the problem. We're not doing enough to get the Israelis and Syrians together; we're not doing enough to address the grievances of the Palestinian people (than whom "nobody is suffering more," according to Barack Obama); we're not doing enough to mollify the dictators who are working against us.

Akin to this is the feeling shared by most Democrats and, it seems, by most American voters, that if we can just get our troops out of Iraq all will be well in the world.

I recall reading a few weeks ago an article on Democratic fund raising that quoted a woman as saying that "we were very safe under the Clinton administration." No, we weren't "very safe" -- we just thought we were. Bill Clinton knew we weren't "very safe," and he took some steps -- unfortunately, not enough -- to make us safer.

You can say the same of George W. Bush during first eight months in office. There are evil leaders out there -- the mullahs of Iran, Assad and his thugs, Kim Jong Il, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and his pal Fidel Castro -- who hate the United States and want to do us as much damage as they can.

They don't hate us just because the Republican Congress didn't raise the minimum wage or because George W. Bush has a stubborn streak and speaks with a West Texas accent. They hate us because of our freedoms and because we have worked to export those freedoms around the world.

Friendship, hope and a determination to be on the road to peace are not enough to protect us in this world. A speedy exit from Iraq might make many Americans less unsettled while watching cable news -- for a while. But it wouldn't make us safer. It will just leave us more likely to face the kind of surprise we had on Sept. 11, 2001.

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