A Reaganesque appeal on Iraq

Posted: Sep 04, 2002 12:00 AM
An attack on Iraq is imminent, and the foreign-policy wonks are arguing over whether President Bush needs congressional approval. Some feel that Bush should use last year's Sept. 14 congressional resolution, which authorized military action against whatever President Bush deems a legitimate terrorist target. Others say the president should use the 1991 resolution allowing use of force against Saddam Hussein. Some liberal pundits even suggest that President Bush must get a congressional declaration of war. President Bush does not need congressional approval, nor should he seek it. President Bush should place troops in action against Iraq immediately. He should then make a national address, an appeal to the American people. "My fellow Americans," he should say, "this is a solemn time in our nation's history. We are faced with a foe that lurks in shadow, a foe that hides among children, a foe that can strike us at any instant and then retreat into the dark underbelly of human society. I stated following Sept. 11 that countries were either with us or with the terrorists and that we would bring justice to those who harbor, aid and abet terrorists. "Iraq is a country that harbors, aids and abets terrorists, and today and in the days to come, we will rain justice down upon it. For years, Saddam Hussein has been developing weapons of mass destruction, proclaiming that when he has them, he will use them against us and our allies. We know Saddam has biological and chemical weapons; it is only a matter of time until he reaches nuclear capability. We cannot afford to wait until he has nuclear weapons, with which he can hold the world hostage. We must strike now, and we must strike hard. "We are the most moral nation on the face of the earth," Bush should continue, "and we will fight morally. We will target those who deserve justice, and we will minimize harm to innocents. The American people must know, however, that terrorists do not advertise their status openly and that innocents will be killed along with the guilty. Their blood is on the hands of the terrorists who use them as human shields. "Some have said that America cannot go this War on Terror alone. Some have said that we need the support of 'Arab allies' or 'European allies.' I say they are wrong. This is not the way our country works. Our country is great because we refuse to compromise our values for the sake of international support. I say again -- we will not sacrifice our goals in this war in order that others may love us. The safety of American citizens is at risk, and we will not bend to the moral ambiguity that plagues other nations. "Some of you may be wondering why I did not go to Congress for its approval of this attack," Bush should say. "I will give you a simple answer: I did not want the bureaucrats in Washington to sidetrack a course of action that is clear and moral. And I know that congressional officials would do just that. In recent days, congressional officials have leaked confidential military matters to the press, and I will not risk the lives of American soldiers so that these congressmen and women may 'debate the issue.' "There is another reason that I did not seek congressional approval. For two years, I have been saddled with a do-nothing Senate. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and his Democratic cohorts have impeded America's progress because they place politics above people. They have refused the courtesy of open debate about my judicial nominees. They have tacked pork-barrel projects onto vital legislation that would ensure homeland security. They have implied that this administration knew Sept. 11 would occur and that we let it happen -- I can think of no more scurrilous political strategy than that. "And so, my fellow Americans," Bush should conclude, "I bring the case against Iraq to you. I ask that you tell your congressmen not to deny funding to the brave men and women of our military currently engaged in protecting our freedoms. I ask that you tell your congressmen that if they leak confidential matters, they will pay for it at the polls. I ask that you tell your senators to stop holding up the business of the American people. "America's national interest is at stake. Protecting it is a job for the American people, not for the bureaucrats in Washington. Thank you -- I know that together, we can do what must be done."