December 07, 2003

One Big Thing

On December 7th, it is good and proper to recall the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. It is also worth remembering that President Franklin D. Roosevelt is considered to be one of our greatest presidents ever, primarily because of his administration's conduct of World War II. In many respects, especially with the benefit of hindsight, without our victory in World War II there is no way the President Franklin D. Roosevelt would be considered as one of our nation's greatest presidents, what with his threats to pack the Supreme Court and other actions during his first two terms that did more to prolong the depression than to get us out of it, and the legacy of the New Deal which still hurts us today and threatens to bankrupt the United States in the coming years unless we get serious about our ever-expanding entitlement programs. Nevertheless, President Franklin D. Roosevelt got the one big thing he had to get right right, and that one big thing overwhelms all the other negatives.

On this December 7th, we find our nation at war once again, though this enemy is quite different in many respects than those that have dared threaten or attack us in the past. It still astounds me that so many people are unable or unwilling to understand that as the world around us has changed, the nature of warfare has changed, since, as von Clausewitz noted, "war is just the extension of politics by other means." After all, look at how much the rest of the world has changed since World War II. The advance of technology has been remarkable, colonialism has virtually disappeared, all the old empires have crumbled, old enemies become new friends and vice versa, and the world has become a very small place with the advent of cheap travel, worldwide media, and the Internet. Why shouldn't warfare, or armed conflict, be expected to change and evolve as well? But the world at large, with the exception of Israel, has been slow to apply the lessons of Hitler's appeasement prior to World War II to terrorists today. Only now are we starting to deal with terrorism on a principled basis, instead of allowing hope to triumph over experience in our therapeutic culture that seeks to excuse evil deeds, mitigate wickedness, and discount individual responsibility in a misguided search for root causes.

At this time it is hard for me to envision any scenarios that have me voting for anyone other than President George W. Bush for president again next year -- unless something truly terrible should happen, and then I expect to be voting for Vice President Dick Cheney. I find myself in substantial disagreement with many of the policies the current administration has implemented and advocated, though not as much as some, and I'm no more willing to give President George W. Bush complete credit for the economic recovery, unlike some, than I am to give Bill Clinton credit for being president during the prosperous times the nation enjoyed while he was president. As I have stated before, heaven help us if any president should ever be able to actually control the economy.

Ultimately, my support for President George W. Bush comes down to the fact that he is right on the one big thing that overrides virtually everything else today -- the War on Terrorism. The administration may not pursue it as aggresively as I might like, or others, but short of assuming dictatorial powers, it is hard to imagine the Bush administration pushing much harder than it is now. With Congress as closely divided as it is and without the American people solidly behind a more aggresive policy towards those who oppose us, it is just not possible to move much faster than we have. Considering the depleted state of our armed forces, the interconnectedness of the world economies, the anti-Americanism so prevelant in governments around the world, and an actively hostile media, I am pleasantly surprised at how much we have actually accomplished.

I believe that the current administration would like to do more, and I will continue to advocate doing more, but as with most other things in life, the perfect is the enemy of the good. No matter how one might choose to measure it, President George W. Bush is good on the War on Terrorism. The carping from the Left and the current crop of Democrat presidential aspirants in favor of a utopian perfect solution stands in stark contrast to what has been accomplished thus far and what still remains ahead of us. I don't expect the War on Terrorism to end in my lifetime, but I do expect us to stay ahead of the game, acting preemptively where necessary and extracting a heavy toll from those that dare harm us or our interests.

Until such time as the Democrat Party decides en masse to accept that we are at war and aggresively defend the United States, they will be dead to me. I am an Independent, but I may feel obligated to become a Republican, if only to help ensure that we as a nation continue to get the one big thing right.

Posted by Charles Austin at December 7, 2003 12:20 PM

Absolutely. I sure wish Bush was spending less (though he doesn't have much to worry about from the dwarves on that score, does he?), downsizing government, much stronger on free trade, etc., etc., etc.

But for the foreseeable future there's only one issue that matters, because if we don't get that right, all of the rest are irrelevant. And while Bush may not be doing all on that score that I would like, there doesn't appear to be anyone on the horizon who would do more--or comes even close (except maybe Condi? On the horizon?).

Posted by: jsmith at 10:37 PM