Rich Tucker

Exactly. Sometimes the use of force really is the answer.

For another example, consider the Korean peninsula. Today, South Korea is a thriving democracy, an economic powerhouse and a critical partner in the war against terrorism. It has more soldiers serving in Iraq than any country except the U.S. and Britain. But things didn’t have to turn out this way.

Right next door, North Korea squats as evidence of what might have been. Its people live in darkness, literally and figuratively. Its repressive regime blocks all outside contact, so poor North Koreans won’t realize just how awful their lives are when compared to the rest of the world. There’s virtually no electricity and no food -- the U.N. estimates that more than a third of North Korean children are malnourished, and most of those who do get food get it from international agencies.

Why are South Koreans free and North Koreans repressed? Because of the United States military.

More than 54,000 Americans died fighting in the Korean War. Technically it ended in a stalemate, with both sides controlling the ground they’d had when the fighting started. But in fact it represents a great American victory. In Korea, the U.S. let the Soviet Union and China know we’d fight for freedom. And South Korea’s economic success is still a beacon to the rest of the world. Capitalism works and Communism doesn’t, which is why North Korea will eventually be absorbed by South Korea, instead of the other way around.

Sadly, some reporters are still struggling to decide what really matters. In her own Christmas Day report, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux mentioned, briefly, the recent Iraqi elections -- but only to shoot them down. “December landmark elections in Iraq are now overshadowed by the controversy as to whether or not Mr. Bush over-stepped his bounds in authorizing a secret domestic spy program,” Malveaux said.

Hardly. In years ahead this latest “scandal” will have faded from memory, while everyone will celebrate Iraqi democracy. The people of Iraq voted three times this year, while their former dictator went on trial for murder, all because of the intervention of the United States military.

Better late than never.

Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for