Churchill finally got his voice, of course. He stressed strategy, but it was his voice that armed England at last with the old-fashioned moral concepts of honor and duty, justice and mercy. The voice called a nation to the fight for the survival of freedom.
The critics who decried the war to depose Saddam Hussein, who prescribed endless delays and more time for the United Nations to act, who wanted to make a virtue of powerlessness in the name of peace, are having a merry old time with the president today. Without finding weapons of mass destruction, the president is left defending a strategy that may have been based on a fact, but a fact that can't be proved. There were practical arguments for going to war against Iraq, but persuasive only to those with a knowledge of the stakes in the war against global terrorism.
Saddam Hussein was a monstrous bully to his own people and a menace to the security of the West. But George W. Bush is not making the obvious moral argument that the United States and its allies are doing the right thing in Iraq. He should. Americans always respond when a president calls them, as John F. Kennedy did in his inaugural address, to defend freedom.
"The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it," he said, "and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: Ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
This is the argument that Americans find most congenial of all.
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