Don't lose the vision, Mr. President

Posted: Jun 05, 2003 12:00 AM

Dear President Bush,

I want to begin by telling you how much I admire you. I've defended you from your attackers, and it has been an honor to do so. I can't count the number of letters I've received accusing me of taking pay from the Republican National Committee. 

Even before Sept. 11, I prayed every day that you would follow the right path. And more than any president in my lifetime, you have. I have never been so proud to be an American than I was watching your speech on Sept. 11. Your moral vision, your clarity, your understanding that good must face evil and defeat it -- all of it made me proud.

Your vision dictated that America defend herself against the scourge of terrorism. And so our brave men and women liberated Afghanistan. Our government shut down organizations funneling money to terrorist groups. We freed women from the brutal oppression of fundamentalist Islam.

Your vision dictated that despots be forbidden from threatening civilization with terrible weapons of mass destruction. And so our brave men and women, along with our loyal allies, liberated the Iraqi people.

Your vision extended to domestic policy as well. You knew that it was unfair to force hard-working men and women to hand over huge sums to the government. So you cut taxes and prevented a mild recession from becoming a deep depression. You saw that judicial activism was determining policy far beyond the scope of its limited powers. So you nominated conservative judges who would interpret the Constitution of the United States not with their hearts but with their heads.

I haven't agreed with you all the time. I thought going to the United Nations for approval of action against Iraq was time wasted. I believed that raising steel tariffs was economically foolhardy. I disagreed with the bloated education bill you signed with Teddy Kennedy. But all in all, I agreed with your policy far more than I disagreed. And even when our views differed, I could respect your point of view.

I hope you can understand what pain it causes me to say what I will now. You are losing your moral vision. Perhaps the State Department has finally convinced you that moral foreign policy is passe. Perhaps you have repeated the mantra "Islam is a religion of peace" so many times that you are willing to stake your entire administration on that dubious claim. But whatever happened, you have lost your way.

Because now, you want Israel to concede to Islamic terror. You say that Israel must contribute to the establishment of a Palestinian state. You threaten to levy sanctions against Israel if it does not sacrifice its own security for empty promises. You pressure Ariel Sharon to state that Israel must end the "occupation." You suggest that a few suicide bombers and a few dead Israelis will not stop the "peace process."

You say that Israel's "occupation" has fostered despair in the "Palestinian people" and that Israel must foster hope in order to bring peace. This is backward. It is Palestinian hope, not despair, that causes terrorism. There were no suicide bombings before the Oslo Accords; only after Oslo did terror escalate to its present level. Concessions breed terrorism. In fact, you yourself have rejected the "despair causes terrorism" argument with respect to Al-Qaeda. Islamic terrorists are evil, and neither poverty nor despair causes them to hate us.

I was only 8 years old when your father lost the 1992 election. But I do remember that in 1991, right after the Gulf War, he forced Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to the negotiating table. The consequences were disastrous.

There is no question you are a stronger supporter of Israel than your father was. In fact, I have claimed that you are the strongest supporter of Israel in the history of the United States. You know the difference between right and wrong in the Middle East. Please do not repeat the mistakes of your father.

I want to be proud of my president. As an American, I want to work with you in your vision for a better future. It is not too late to turn back from this morally blind course. I pray that you will follow the right path.

With respect and hope,

Ben Shapiro