Monday, April 19, 2004

We Didn't Dare Wait ( "Up to that nightmarish day, the policy of the United States was to remain strong in the face of a foreign threat but to strike only if that threat became action. It was a policy that guided our nation for most of its history. Don't start anything with anybody, but crush anybody who starts anything with us. We were like the sheriff of the old Western movies, poised and ready, but waiting for the other guy to draw first.
My friends, Sept. 11 changed all that. Suddenly, waiting for the other guy to shoot first no longer made sense. That policy might have worked when the bad guys were armed with swords or six-shooters, when even the bad guys played by certain rules. It does not work in the face of evil that accepts no limits, that will not hesitate to destroy anything or anyone -- even fellow countrymen -- to achieve its objectives. "

Mr. Raspberry has won my interest again. I recommend you read the whole thing. He writes the speech that he thinks (and I agree) President Bush should have given last week. It is powerfully clear, and expresses, as the title says, why we didn't dare wait. Seriously, read it.

UPDATE [4/19/2004 - 11:48]: Thank God there are liberals like Mr. Raspberry who seem to get it. Take a look at today's column by Bob Herbert: "One of the things I remember from my time in the service many years ago was the ubiquitous presence of large posters with the phrase, in big block letters: Know Your Enemy.
This is a bit of military wisdom that seems to have escaped President Bush.
The United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, by Al Qaeda, not Iraq."

You see, Mr. Herbert is right. We were not attacked by Iraq. But the point he is missing is that we did not go into Iraq because we believed that they had been the ones to attack us. We went into Iraq so that they would not have the chance to do so in the future. We went in so that they could never again support groups, like Al Quaeda, who might one day hope to attack us again, even if Iraq couldn't or wouldn't do it themselves. We went in to stop the torture and murder (see below) of his own citizens. Fundamentally, we went into Iraq to begin the long struggle towards overturning states that endorse terrorism as a means of persuasion.

No one can deny that Saddam Hussein was a terrorist -- terror comprised his entire method of governance. If he could acheive the means (which he certainly hoped to) he would not hesitate from launching a worldwide terror campaign to get his way. As Mr. Raspberry outlines above, that is exactly the reason we had to act. We cannot allow people who pursue these means of action to achieve them. If someone gets a suitcase bomb, it isn't going to be the CIA who tells us -- and let us be clear on this point -- it will be the New York Transit Authority. We do not have time to hesitate, we must act at each step in this war on terrorism, this war on anyone willing to use terrorism, as soon as we possibly can.

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