Leadership and liberation

Posted: Jan 31, 2003 12:00 AM
Washington, D.C. -- Those who were hoping that 2003 would bring a new sense of urgency at the United Nations to liberate the world from terrorism have been greatly disappointed. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has shown indifference to Iraq's refusal to cooperate with UN weapons inspectors, while at the same time he was installing a terrorist dictator from Libya to lead the body's Human Rights Commission. Jacques Chirac's French government, allegedly on the take from Iraq, and Gerhard Schroeder of Germany, who provoked anti-American sentiments to get himself re-elected, have exploited their positions on the Security Council to thwart U.S. efforts to separate Saddam from his weapons of mass destruction. Earlier this week, the UN's chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, noted that although Iraq's cooperation was "withheld" and the inspections were nothing more than a game of "hide and seek," he naively holds out hope that Saddam really will cooperate if we just give him another chance. Thank God for George W. Bush. The president's State of the Union address last Tuesday was a welcome dose of reality in the aftermath of the UN's Keystone Kops routine. Bush's ringing call for Americans to boldly confront foreign adversaries with "focus, and clarity, and courage" is a welcome contrast to Blix's impotent plea for Iraq to "make more effort" to comply with UN Security Council resolutions demanding Iraqi disarmament. George W. Bush has emerged as a statesman who does not flinch from making tough decisions, though his critics are everywhere. Pessimistic pundits permeate the airwaves. Congressmen carp from the sidelines, and the French are living up to their unmanly reputation as "lovers, not fighters." But Bush will not be deterred. He reminded our allies that, "All free nations have a stake in preventing sudden and catastrophic attack," but reassured America's citizens that their security "does not depend on the decisions of others." This is a president who understands that the American saga has been one of great promise leavened by an awareness that liberty has not always been a universal condition; its achievement is a historic exception and triumph. Freedom, as America's founders understood, is maintained only through eternal vigilance and a willingness to meet the costs of liberty. President Ronald Reagan expressed this sentiment to Congress in 1987, warning them to guard against the "paralysis of American power" that too often has imperiled "the cause of world freedom." George W.'s father understood the significance of peace. He enlisted to fight in World War II on his 18th birthday, becoming the Navy's youngest aviator. He later flew 58 combat missions before being shot down on Sept. 2, 1944, over Chichi Shima in the Bonin Islands. During his career, he fought the evils of communism from his posts as ambassador to the United Nations, as chief liaison to communist China and as director of the CIA. He helped Ronald Reagan bring the Soviet Union to its knees, and in a 1992 address to Congress, described the death of communism as "the biggest thing that has happened in the world in my life: America won the Cold War." But enemies of liberty never rest. While George Bush presided over the Cold War victory celebrations, his son was forced to declare a war on terrorism whose first shots were fired on his predecessor's watch, but went unanswered. "The threats we face today as Americans respect no borders," Bill Clinton told Congress in 1996. "Think of them: terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction ... ethnic and religious hatred, aggression by rogue states." But unlike William the Zipper, who pondered issues of war and peace in late-night pizza party rap sessions with 20-something interns in the Oval Office, President George W. Bush intends to do more than "think" about the threats that imperil liberty and world order. "Whatever action is required, whenever action is necessary, I will defend the freedom and security of the American people," he promised. Terrorists will be brought to justice "dead or alive." Saddam Hussein will relinquish his dictatorship, voluntarily or involuntarily, and "free people will set the course of history," Bush declared. Many in our media need to dust off their dictionaries and discover that this is the definition of leadership. The American public understands it, which was reflected in the strong approval numbers in polls taken after his State of the Union address. And although France and Germany still don't get it, the majority of their European colleagues do, and expressed their commitment to Bush's leadership in an open letter printed this week in The Wall Street Journal and leading European newspapers. Yes, there are still those who will argue that Hans Blix and his merry men should be given more time to prance around Baghdad, but the fact remains that resolute action is required to confront international aggressors and, as Bush so eloquently stated, "to confound the designs of evil men." Fortunately, the United States finds herself led by a president who is worthy of confronting such challenges and restoring America and the world to peace and tranquility.