This November, people will gather at the voting booths to choose the next American President. Third-party candidates notwithstanding, the contest will boil down to the incumbent Republican candidate, President George W. Bush, and the Democrat candidate, Senator John F. Kerry. (I am choosing to ignore the rumors that something sneaky will happen between now and November, putting Hillary Clinton into the race.) While I have already written why I won’t be voting for Senator Kerry, I haven’t formally written why I will be voting for President Bush. It’s about time I did.

Of the serious Republican candidates for the 2000 race, I was pleased to see George W. Bush get the nod to be the Republican candidate. Since his election, I have had occasion to see that he hasn’t been a perfect, ideal President, but I believe he has been the right President for our time. Besides, we can’t hold the Good hostage to the Perfect. While we strive for perfection, at times we must accept the merely good. The other option would be settling for something far inferior.

I have problems with several of President Bush’s propositions – the illegal aliens amnesty program, expanding Medicare with prescription drug benefits, signing the anti-free-speech Campaign Finance Reform Act, and other acts which promote commonly-held liberal ideas. I understand that President Bush may have done these things to take the issues away from the Democrats, but it still doesn’t make me happy to see liberal items made law. In this case, the Perfect would be the passing of conservative issues only, but the Good is seeing a few liberal ideas made law and realizing that President Bush is still President for the important things.

So what are the important things? President Bush has correctly identified that we are a nation at war. He has shown that he has the right idea about this war, Michael Moore’s silly “documentary” Fahrenheit 9/11 notwithstanding. In addition to realizing that we are at war, President Bush has correctly identified our enemies as evil. And yes, I absolutely mean it when I say that the fanatics who have declared war on the U.S. and the Western world are evil. What else would you call the action of specifically targeting noncombatant civilians, of beheading innocent people whose only “crime” is not being part of their particular brand of evil, of openly proclaiming their utter lack of concern for the lives of others? Don’t believe me? One of the leaders in the “religion of peace” recently said, “We don’t make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. And the life of an unbeliever has no value. It has no sanctity.”

President Bush was certainly willing to bring the worthless United Nations into the conflict to free Iraq, but he was not willing to sacrifice the Good of freeing Iraq and reducing its threat against the United States on the altar of the Perfect of a unified world response. With 17 resolutions against Iraq, the UN Security Council had recognized the threat of Saddam Hussein and realized that he had ignored their wishes, but they were still unwilling to actually do something about it. President Bush and the other coalition nations were willing to stop Saddam’s threat.

So President Bush knows that you cannot negotiate with evil. Senator Kerry does not. President Bush is willing to call these attackers by their rightful title: evil. Senator Kerry is not. President Bush is willing to ask for international aid, but he is not willing to wait for the international leaders to get off their bribed butts before he does what is necessary to keep America safe. Senator Kerry wants international approval at any cost. President Bush has the vision and drive to free 50 million people from the tyrannical governments that oppressed them. Senator Kerry does not.

We are a nation at war, and this war must be fought and won. The War on Terror is the driving issue of this election, and while I often disagree with President Bush on some domestic issues, the War on Terror is more important than any of these. Once the War has been won, the domestic issues will once again be important. Wrangling about minor domestic issues when we are embroiled in a war for our nation’s survival makes as much sense as debating hair color while a murderer stands behind you with a drawn knife, chanting “Allahu akbar.”

I like David Brin’s writing, and many of his novels and short stories sit on my bookshelf to be read and reread. The first of Brin’s novels that I read was The Postman, a post-apocalyptic story of a wanderer who found a postman’s uniform, and how that uniform changed the people he met. The book is a fast read, and I recommend it highly.

The movie version of this story, however, stinks like yesterday’s diapers. I do understand that movies and novels are different media, and while an author may have hundreds of pages in which to tell his story, the film director has only 90 to 180 minutes. However, it never ceases to amaze me when a screenwriter rewrites a million-copy-selling novel to “make the story better.”

*movie spoiler warning*

The 1997 movie The Postman stars Kevin Costner. It shares the character of a postman, some names, and the post-apocalyptic setting with the book. Pretty much everything else comes from the brain of someone other than David Brin.

At the end of the movie, there is a major mounted attack by postmen (not in the book) against General Bethlehem (not in the book) and his survivalist troops. It ends with a one-on-one fight between the Postman and the General (not in the book) for command of the troops, ending with the Postman choking the General (not in the book – I think you get the point). Rather than finishing the General and gaining control of the troops, thus stopping the attacks on the remaining people, the Postman stops and declares, “The killing stops here.” While this sounds good and “touchy-feely,” it bears no resemblance to reality. You can’t attack a vicious killer and, after hitting him a few times, tell him that his reign of power and slaying is over – particularly when your enemy doesn’t believe in peace. The people of Oregon didn’t have peace by giving up to the survivalist troops. They didn’t have peace by negotiating with the survivalist troops. They had peace when the troops were defeated and when General Bethlehem was killed. That is what you must do when you are at war.

And we are at war.

We didn’t realize it for years, but a group of Muslim fanatics had declared war on the United States. During the many attacks on America preceding the events on September 11th, 2001, we ignored what these zealots were doing, but seeing the World Trade Towers collapse was hard to ignore.

So here we are at war – the War on Terror – and there are three basic reactions to these attacks:

We Should Give Up

Osama bin Laden has said that America could avoid any further bloodshed if we were to give up our evil ways, renounce Israel, and become good Muslims. There’s just one problem with surrendering to a bully: once you have given in to him, what will stop you from giving up when the next bully comes around? Once a band of thugs realize that you are willing to roll over and piddle on yourself whenever they threaten you, just how much respect will you have in their eyes? And what will stop them from raining down all the horrors they choose upon you? Saudi Arabia is a Muslim nation, but al-Qaeda doesn’t have a problem with killing Saudis. Indonesia has a very large and faithful Muslim population, but this didn’t stop al-Qaeda from detonating a bomb in Bali.

But as much as al-Qaeda would like to see America give up, surrendering just isn’t part of our nature.

We Should Negotiate

“They attacked us! We must start some negotiations with them right away! If we could just talk with them and understand why they are so upset, we could get down to the root of the problem and make everything OK again. Why, with just a bit of work at the negotiation table, we could have peace in our time!”

The Democrat party is a leading proponent of going all Neville Chamberlain on these terrorists. The Democrats are as eager to solve things diplomatically as the former Prime Minister of England was to negotiate with Hitler, and they will have as much success. After all, how can you find common ground with people who want you dead? Do you think you could successfully negotiate them down to only a light maiming? Do you seriously think you can negotiate with evil people? I can just imagine the discussion:

Liberals: We must have done something terrible to make you hate us so. What was it?
Evil: We will kill you.
Liberals: I’m sure you suffered from a poor childhood. Let’s get you on
Oprah so you can talk about it.
Evil: We will kill you.
Liberals: Even though you have lots of oil money, I’m sure poverty is the root problem. Have some money.
Evil: We will kill you.

Oh, yeah, negotiating is the way to go here.

We Must Defeat Them

The only way to stop evil is to defeat it. If you must negotiate, do so after you have removed the evil from power. While the threat and use of violence can be powerful in overthrowing evil, there is something better: the word of God. When the Lamanite people were under attack by the al-Qaeda of their day, they “did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton; and they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that this band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanites.”[link] Isn’t it interesting that preaching the word of God has a stronger effect on people than the sword, and that this type of proselyting is specifically forbidden in Muslim countries? Since we are blocked from using the word of God, we are left with the less-powerful tool of defeat – the sword – and it is with the sword that we must now defeat the evil that is in the Earth.

The War on Terror is a war against evil. Too many liberals deny that we can or should look at the world in terms of black and white – but when your opponents are willing to behead innocent people whose only fault was being alive, non-Muslim, and available, what else can you call it? Can you really consider the beheading of Paul Johnson, Nicholas Berg, and now Kim Sun-il as anything but deliberately evil acts?

So after September 11th, President Bush looked over the world and saw the greatest threat of evil to the U.S. came from al-Qaeda, and Afghanistan was guilty of harboring Osama bin Laden and his organization. President Bush realized it was time to deny this evil the nation-state that protected it, and so he launched an offensive to remove the Taliban from power. Thanks to his vision, 24 million people are no longer under that oppressive government, and they are working toward a lasting freedom they have not known for years.

Once the Taliban had been overthrown and al-Qaeda scattered to the hills, what was the next place to go in our War on Terror? President Bush had identified an Axis of Evil that actively supported terrorism, and Iraq was specifically mentioned as part of this Axis. Liberals claim that President Bush led a “rush to war,” but this “rush” took over a year to gather up and execute. Thanks to his vision, 26 million people are no longer under that oppressive government, and they are working toward a lasting freedom they have not known for years.

Iraq had ties with al-Qaeda and funded other terrorists. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said that after September 11th, 2001, the Russian intelligence agency passed information to the United States that Iraq was “preparing terrorist acts on the territory of the United States and beyond its borders, at U.S. military and civilian locations.”

So let’s review what we know about Iraq, folks:

  • Iraq certainly had weapons of mass destruction; it used them against its own people and Iran.
  • Iraq had twice launched major wars against its neighbors in recent history.
  • Iraq was funding terrorism and training terrorists.
  • Iraq had plans to attack America and Americans.

It’s pretty clear that removing Saddam was a fundamental part of the War on Terror. Twice now President Bush has been successful in major operations in this war. Notwithstanding these successes, the liberal left is certainly fully capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory if they have their way. Their continual harping on President Bush and the War on Terror can succeed in distracting us and sapping from this nation the resolve we need to win against this evil. As they keep demanding that we either give up or negotiate, they are pulling us away from the only option that will truly give us peace in our time: defeating the terrorists completely.

Addendum (6/27/2004): I added the discussion about The Postman to the beginning of this editorial. And speaking of the movie, I threw it out after watching it.

There is an old Russian joke, dating back to the Soviet Union’s heyday when the two government newspapers were called Izvestia and Pravda. Izvestia means “news,” and Pravda means “truth,” leading to the joke, “There’s no news in the Truth, and no truth in the News.” At times I look at the major media here in the United States, and I wonder if we could say the same thing.

On June 16th, the 9-11 Commission held meetings and, as the New York Times put it, “Panel Finds No Qaeda-Iraq Tie“. Here is a quote from that Times article: “However, the commission said in a staff report, ‘We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States.’” Oddly, the quoted phrase shown in the Times does not appear in any of the pdf files released by the 9-11 Commission on June 16th. The Times article says in its first paragraph, “[T]here did not appear to have been a ‘collaborative relationship’ between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.” It is again interesting that the phrase “collaborative relationship” does not appear in a search of the four pdf files released on Wednesday.

But here is a quote from another New York Times article: “Both indictments offer new information about Mr. Bin Laden’s operations, including one deal he is said to have struck with Iraq to cooperate in the development of weapons in return for Mr. Bin Laden’s agreeing not to work against that country. No details were given about whether the alleged deal with Iraq led to the development of actual weapons for Mr. Bin Laden’s group, which is called Al-Qaeda.” This article was published on November 5, 1998, and it certainly reads as a “collaborative relationship” to me.

Here is what former Illinois governor and 9-11 commissioner James Thompson said the next day on CNN with Soledad O’Brien:

In fact, the report says that President Bush and Vice President Cheney are correct. It’s a little mystifying to me why some elements of the press have tried to stir this up as a big controversy and a big point of contradiction because there is none. We said there’s no evidence to support the notion that Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein collaborated together to produce 9/11. President Bush said that weeks ago. He said it again yesterday. The vice president said it again yesterday. I said it again yesterday in television interviews. What we did I say was there were contacts between Al-Qaeda and the Iraqi administration of Saddam Hussein, and the president has said there were contacts. The vice president has said there were contacts. They may be in possession of information about contacts beyond those that we found, I don’t know. That wasn’t any of our business. Our business was 9/11. So there is no controversy; there’s no contradiction, and this is not an issue.

But it is an issue, because the liberal media has spun the story to convey information quite different from the commission’s actual findings. Vice President Cheney met on CNBC’s “Capitol Report” show with Alan Murray and Gloria Borger. The following is a transcript of this show:

BORGER: But obviously first the news of the week is the 9-11 Commission report. And as you know, the report found, quote, “No credible evidence that al-Qaida collaborated with Iraq or Saddam Hussein.” Do you disagree with its findings?

Vice Pres. CHENEY: I disagree with the way their findings have been portrayed. This has been enormous confusion over the Iraq-al-Qaida connection, Gloria. First of all, on the question of whether or not there was any kind of a relationship, there clearly was a relationship. It’s been testified to. The evidence is overwhelming. It goes back to the early ’90s.

It involves a whole series of contacts, high-level contacts between Osama bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence officials. It involves a senior official, a brigadier general in the Iraqi intelligence service going to the Sudan before bin Laden ever went to Afghanistan to train them in bomb-making, helping teach them how to forge documents. Mr. Zarqawi, who’s in Baghdad today, is an al-Qaida associate who took refuge in Baghdad, found sanctuary and safe harbor there before we ever launched into Iraq. There’s a Mr. Yasin, who was a World Trade Center bomber in ’93, who fled to Iraq after that and we found since when we got into Baghdad, documents showing that he was put on the payroll and given housing by Saddam Hussein after the ’93 attack; in other words, provided safe harbor and sanctuary. There’s clearly been a relationship.

But after a clear answer like that, Gloria Borger continued to harangue the Vice-President about this issue. Clearly, some liberal leftists in the media are creating a political mountain out of a non-existent molehill. Why are they doing this? Quite simply, because they disagree with the President’s agenda.

In a world where the enemies of this nation have cut off the heads of American noncombatants simply because they are Americans, we need to be united in our response to terrorist murderers. Instead the liberal press portrays to the world, and to al-Qaeda, a weak and divided America. The media will fill up the papers and airwaves with outrage over the mistreatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib Prison for months, but when truly horrific events such as the September 11 attacks and the decapitation of Paul Johnson and Nicholas Berg occur, they will hold off publishing the evidence. Why? Because such information would put steel in the backbone of Americans, and we would unite behind our President as he directs the war against this evil. And the press can’t allow that to happen.

One of the things you will hear in the news, most often from someone on the liberal end of the political spectrum, is the need for an international response to one crisis or another. Our Democrat leaders in the U.S. House and Senate have called for a multinational response to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the War on Terror. Without the blessing of the United Nations, these leaders were not willing to proceed in any of these actions.

But what is it about the United Nations that makes its involvement necessary as part of the American President’s sworn duty to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”? If America must protect itself, does it need the permission of Angola, Benin or Chile? This would be like appealing to your neighbors for permission to stop the armed thug breaking though your front door in the middle of the night. It makes more sense for the head of the household to arm himself and repel the intruder than to waste time on the phone with all the people on the block, asking if it were all right with them if he confronted the trespasser.

You could respond to the example above that the most logical action would be calling the police. While that would be an excellent choice in such a situation, calling the police does not adequately defend you against the armed assailant who is in your house now. Besides, there is no international equivalent of the police department. Regardless of what some people may think, the United Nations has no more power and authority than what the individual member nations choose to give it. And typically, if the United States doesn’t want something to happen in the United Nations, it normally doesn’t happen.

So what benefit is there actually in having the United Nations? The organization will celebrate its 59th anniversary this October, so perhaps it’s time to ask: what tangible benefit does the United States derive from continued membership in the United Nations that it could not achieve on its own? Cannot the U.S. get together with other nations as it sees fit, to create treaties or hold meetings? Certainly it can, and it did so last week during the G8 summit. The eight member states that gathered were Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The United Nations did not need to be present for the world’s eight most economically influential nations to congregate and discuss their goals, needs and plans.

When President Clinton wanted to enter the fighting in Kosovo, he didn’t bother going to the United Nations to get permission. He side-stepped the United Nations completely and started the bombing on his own. President Clinton’s actions in this regard showed how immaterial the United Nations is if the United States chooses to make it so.

But as immaterial as the United Nations is in all practical matters, this does not stop some people from wanting to give the United Nations sufficient power to make it a world government in deed, not just word. I wrote how the laws of thermodynamics work both in biology and sociology. With each level feeding off the level below it, only a small fraction of the energy passed up the food chain actually does any good. Since we already have city, county, state, and federal bureaucracies, do we really need to add another layer of world government and its attendant bureaucracy?

We certainly do not need the United Nations if Rwanda is any indication of how things normally work. In 1993, the United Nations dithered for five months trying to raise a few thousand troops to keep an eye on the warring Tutsi and Hutu peoples. When the larger Hutu population started the outright slaughter of the minority Tutsis, the United Nations stepped right in to stop the massacre. Well, maybe in an alternate universe, but certainly not in this one. In reality, the UN spent the next six months dithering in an attempt to get from 3,000 troops to 5,500. Endless resolutions were passed, and these stern pronouncements were predictably impotent, while over 800,000 Rwandans were hacked to death by machetes.

You may recall that the UN passed 17 such resolutions about Iraq over 12 years; apparently Saddam felt no pressure to comply with them. Only the projection of power supplied by the United States gave these resolutions any teeth. But when the United States decided it was time for Saddam to comply in full with the UN Security Council’s resolutions, the bureaucrats in the United Nations wrung their hands and moaned about the United States acting unilaterally. It was almost as though these bureaucrats were more concerned with keeping control of the situation–even if it were in name only–than they were of making their resolutions stick.

Afghanistan and Iraq are no longer governed by tyrannical and oppressive governments, while Rwanda saw 10% of its population floating down the river in hacked-up chunks. There is a reason why the fates of these two nations are so different. At the beginning of this new century, the United States has a President who is prepared to do the right thing regardless of what the other nations of the world may think or say, and Iraq and Afghanistan are free because President Bush is such a leader. But at the closing of the last century, the United States had a President who was willing to work with the United Nations and too often shared in the slow-acting, ineffectual hand-wringing that typifies an entrenched bureaucracy. Rwanda became a genocidal bloodbath because President Clinton wanted to gather consensus rather than to lead.

It was President Clinton’s brief moments away from the United Nations that led to military victory in Kosovo. But this same President and his minions are now raising their blood-drenched hands to President Bush, demanding that he work not with the nations who willingly joined our coalition, but with the sluggish, ineffectual United Nations bureaucracy. President Bush should give them all the finger and proceed to do his job in the ongoing war, just as President Clinton did in Kosovo.

I believe our culture has become separated from the reality of death. Not too long ago in history, we saw young and old pass away in our homes, and disease ravaged families. But with technological improvements to medicine and health care, people expect to live longer and better lives. Now when someone is sick, we rush him or her to the hospital; this is where the terminally ill most often die. Have we reached a point where people die more often in or en route to a hospital than in their own homes?

I cannot help noticing that we are raising a generation so separated from death that they think meat comes from a wrapped Styrofoam tray and not from the body of a dead animal. I have tried to explain to my niece the connection between the cute deer nibbling on my garden (get out of there, you $#@%ing deer!) and the venison I cook up in a stew or roast. So far she hasn’t been able (or willing) to link the two. How many people would lose their lunch if they had to watch a cow being butchered, but have no problem ordering a rare steak for lunch?

I remember watching a four-part documentary on PBS about five years ago called “Death: The Trip of a Lifetime.” The host, Greg Palmer, discussed death and the various ways in which human cultures react to it. I’ll have to visit my local libraries and see if they have a copy of this series. It is well worth finding and watching if you want to explore some of the ways human beings deal with death. I must confess that President Reagan’s funeral had the proper combination of religion and military pomp to be a proper funeral service in my eyes. But I am a product of my Christian and military upbringing, so this is only to be expected.

If you haven’t guessed from the tone of this article, I’ve been dwelling on death and our reaction to it this week. Ever since I heard of the death of President Reagan and later the death of singer Ray Charles, the whole subject of death was almost impossible to avoid if you followed the news. People die every day, and while this is often a sorrowful event for the loved ones who remain, the media doesn’t dwell on these deaths as they do when someone famous dies.

I was glad to see that President Reagan’s casket was kept closed. Having died at the age of 93 after years of Alzheimer’s disease ravaging his body, President Reagan no longer looked the way I remembered him as he left office, and I would rather remember him as the vibrant leader than the stricken invalid. I agree with my wife that there seems to be something barbaric about an open-casket viewing. Back when it was difficult for medical science to prove that a person was dead, it made sense to lay out the body and watch over it for a while. The fear of being buried alive would prompt people to give their dearly departed the opportunity to change their minds. This reminds me of the movie Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, specifically the scene of them sitting at her dead husband’s viewing. Several unsavory strangers approach the body to satisfy themselves that he is indeed dead. I remember one holds up a mirror to see if Mr. Lampert is breathing, while a second sticks him with a pin. I can’t remember exactly what the third guy does, but I’m thinking he throttles the corpse for a bit. Since my life is not a movie, I see no reason to have my body lie in repose so that my family (or readers) can get in their last few hits.

I was at work and missed some of the pomp and pageantry that surrounded President Reagan’s funeral throughout the week, but I watched the final sunset ceremony in California. I was touched by the comments from his children and the crisp performance of the military. As a former military brat, I found the military aspects of the funeral both familiar and touching. Specifically, as an Air Force brat, the missing-man maneuver always affects me strongly and will often bring a tear to my eye. I was pleased to see the U.S. Navy perform this maneuver flawlessly with a four-man flight of F-18 Hornets. My father has requested burial with full military honors as befits his career as an Air Force officer, but while he is important in my eyes, something tells me that I won’t see quite the level of pageantry at his funeral as we saw at President Reagan’s.

Matt Drudge reported on his website that a top Clinton source said, “President Clinton really held out all hope the funeral would be a nonpartisan event, like Nixon’s was. He’s angry and disappointed neither he nor President Carter have been asked to speak, as of yet.” Clinton insiders murmured that Nancy Reagan was responsible for the service in which the two former Presidents were not invited to participate, but I cannot fault her. It was, after all, the burial of her husband, and the two of them were well within their rights to decide and declare how the service would be carried out. This is only to be expected.

What I didn’t expect was the very different tone of the memorial service for Senator Paul Wellstone. The Democrat Senator from Minnesota died unexpectedly in a plane crash only days before the 2002 election. Presidents Clinton and Carter were not specifically asked to participate in President Reagan’s memorial, but they were invited to attend the service. In contrast, Vice-President Richard Cheney was specifically instructed not to attend Senator Wellstone’s memorial. When Democrats gathered in what I believe should have been a solemn assembly to pay homage to a man’s life, somehow the memorial became a rowdy political rally, complete with chants and cheers and a call to arms to march to the ballot box and vote. When fellow mourner Senator Trent Lott was shown on the large screens, the hall erupted in boos. Not what I would really call appropriate for a solemn occasion, but I suppose this was what the family and Democrat leaders wanted.

Frankly, I’d choose the solemn over the vulgar any day.

I recently came upon a post by someone on Epinions. Normally I would ignore the drunken ramblings of a liberal, but two phrases struck me, and since the author wrote that he seriously wants my feedback and opinions, I will share them with him and the general public.

Chad, who posts under the name of lemon_lime on Epinions, recently wrote a disjointed screed about school teachers, their pay, and a bunch of other (un)related issues. Here was the first sentence that struck me:

“In other news, and just for certain readers, anybody willing to vote for George W. Bush in the upcoming election is officially insane.”

Referring to someone with whom you disagree politically as “officially insane” is merely a debate trick designed to shut up the opposition. There are a multitude of these ad hominem “debate stoppers,” but the most common ones include calling one’s opponents insane, or book-burning Nazis, or sheet-wearing Klansmen. Once these phrases are used, the debate effectively dies, and the name-caller’s objective has been achieved.

Orson Scott Card very recently touched on this subject:

“Folks, it’s the first mark of fanaticism when you assume all your opponents are either stupid or immoral. Even if it’s true, it’s very bad manners to say so, and doesn’t promote rational discussion.”

Back in the heyday of the Soviet Union, political dissidents were often judged clinically insane because, after all, only the truly insane would stand up to the Politburo or disagree with them. Total conformity was the rule, and woe be unto the nonconformist “nails” that stood out from the crowd. The Soviet hammer came down hard on them. Since Chad is willing to judge Bush supporters as insane, how close is he to endorsing the Soviet re-education camps of yesteryear?

Here’s the second bit of Chad’s post that struck me as interesting:

“Rather, I am voting for Kerry (though fully admitting that he was not my first choice for Democratic candidate) because of the fact that he is pro-choice and pro-international involvement in the ‘war in Iraq’ that Bush, sadly, guided us into.”

I realize it would be useless for me to argue the point about abortion. In my decades of debating the issue, I have yet to encounter a person whose opinions and views on the subject have not become fixed and immovable. But Chad’s claim that Kerry is worth voting for because he is “pro-international involvement” seems to ignore the fact that the Iraq war already is international. Back in 1991, President George H. W. Bush amassed over 30 countries in his coalition to remove Saddam from Kuwait, but his son brought together over a dozen more countries in his coalition to remove Saddam from power. Granted, this number was reduced by one when Spain suddenly turned French and surrendered to the 3/11 terrorists by electing their new, craven Prime Minister. But apart from the Spaniards’ lack of political spine, about 25% of the world’s nations have followed the lead of President George W. Bush and joined the coalition. If one-quarter of the world’s nations doesn’t count as “international,” what would?

I can tell you what would make this coalition truly international for many liberals: the addition of France, Germany and Russia to the list.

But why should we bother? Russia was once a great power, but now, like an old and worn-out boxer, has the mere shadow of the military might it once commanded. The last time Germany was a major military player, Panzer IV tanks were rolling down the Champs-Élysées. And speaking of the French, their military history is far from impressive. But taunting the French aside, there is a very simple explanation why France, Germany and Russia were not eager to oust Saddam from power: Saddam was bribing these nations with the “Oil for Food” program. So they dug their heels in and resisted shutting off their gravy train.

But John F@#$%ing Kerry is Chad’s main man because Kerry wants to suck up to the French, Germans and Russians to make this coalition “truly international.” Kerry must be as ignorant as Chad when it comes to recognizing the international nature of the coalition that has already removed a tyrant from power. But let’s pretend for the nonce that Chad’s idea of a more international force is a good and needful one, and let’s also pretend that John Kerry is the U.S. President instead of George Bush. If Kerry were President, the 17 United Nations Security Council resolutions against Iraq and Saddam would not have been enough. He would have shown Saddam no mercy by introducing an 18th, 19th, and yes, if necessary, a 20th UNSC resolution. Boy, that sure would have shown Saddam who’s boss, wouldn’t it?

What bloody good is the United Nations, anyway? Can anyone point to a concrete benefit that derives from being a member nation? What exactly does the UN do for America that America couldn’t accomplish confidently and competently on its own? Other than taking up expensive New York acreage, what does the United Nations offer to America?

Regardless of the nay-sayers in the UN and at home, President Bush has been responsible for the liberation of more than 50 million people from the oppressive governments that once dictated their lives. While the UNSC dithered and scribbled endless resolutions, and liberals wrung their hands and demanded that we give the sanctions still more time to work, President Bush saw no need to wait for France, Germany and Russia to stop accepting oil bribes before he took decisive action. After all, a leader rarely has the luxury to wait for a consensus that may never come, nor should he stick his finger into the wind to determine his opinion for the day. A leader must learn to make decisions and proceed, accepting the consequences. President Bush has shown he is quite capable of doing just that. John Kerry, on the other hand, wants to build consensus with the same nations who were elbow-deep in Saddam’s pocket. This is one reason why I could never, in good conscience, vote for Kerry.

But what do I know? I’m just one of Chad’s “officially insane” conservatives. I guess that means I should shut up now.

Addendum (7/07/2004): While talking about abortion is often useless because of the deep-seated opinions people hold on it, Senator Kerry recently exposed himself as the flip-flopping hypocrite that he is. He said, “I oppose abortion, personally. I don’t like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception.”

I would understand if this revelation were devastating to Chad, who identified Kerry’s stand on abortion as a primary reason he would vote for the man, but it should also be disquieting to anyone who truly considers the implication of Senator Kerry’s words. Since Kerry believes that life begins at conception, the taking of such a human life by abortion cannot be seen as anything else but murder. Well, unless you are a liberal.

Addendum (7/27/2004): I sent this article to Chad after I wrote it. After he replied, I sent him the following on June 14th in response:

> Oh, and come on man, the idea that the war in Iraq was an International Effort is a joke. You lost a bit more credibility when you tried to claim otherwise in your essay. I’ll concede some points, but that’s just a joke.

Well, let’s look at it. Our strongest ally in this conflict has been the UK, and last time I counted, the U.S. and the UK made two nations. The simplest definition of “international” is comprising two or more nations, and this coalition contains over forty member nations to date. So, yes, the coalition is an international effort. It just isn’t, obviously, international *enough* for your tastes. So what would make it international enough for your liking? As you have probably already read in my article, France, Germany, and Russia had no intention of joining this international effort while they had sufficient financial reasons not to join–in essence, they were receiving lucrative oil bribes from Saddam’s government in exchange for their opposition to the war.

Had President Bush decided that we needed the backing of these three bribed nations, we would still be wrangling with the UN Security Council about what to do with Saddam. Are the Iraqi people better off now that Saddam is out of power? Dr. Iyad Allawi, the new Prime Minister of Iraq, seems to think so. When giving a recent address in Arabic, he broke into English to say, “I would like to thank the coalition led by the United States for the sacrifices they have provided in the process of the liberation of Iraq.”

Approximately fifty million people are no longer under the thumb of oppressive, dictatorial governments in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’d say that is a notable accomplishment on President Bush’s part, and one you need not be insane to appreciate.

Three weeks ago I sent him a follow-up message letting him know I had posted my comments as to why I will vote for President Bush this November. There has been no response, even though he stated in the Epinions article that he really wanted feedback and opinions.

President Ronald Reagan died today at the age of 93; when I heard, I lowered my flag to half staff. And there it will stay for a while as the nation mourns the death of its 40th president.

Addendum (6/7/2004): So now there has been enough time for people to start talking about Reagan. Some were favorable (here, here, here, and here), and some were not (here, here, and here).

You knew that his death would bring out the haters.

 

“I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there’s purpose and worth to each and every life.”

President Ronald Wilson Reagan
1911-2004