Tags: George | Bush's | Remarkable | Legacy

George W. Bush's Remarkable Legacy

Tuesday, 08 March 2005 12:00 AM

As the president noted in his January 20 Inaugural Address: "For half a century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders. After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet, years of repose, years of sabbatical. And then there came a day of fire."

His immediate solution: "There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom," he said.

Indeed, since the catastrophe of September 11, 2001, when over 3,000 innocents perished, President Bush has effectively exposed former American leaders (excepting Reagan) as well as many of our foreign "allies" for the ineffectual appeasers they have been by focusing his laser-like vision on the threats from both inside and outside our country and

First came the toppling of the repressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan and most of the al-Qaida terrorist network that had wreaked its havoc on America through the previous decade – with the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the bombing of American embassies in Africa in 1998, and the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.

True to the Bush Doctrine that mandates fighting terrorists worldwide, zero tolerance for governments that harbor and finance terrorists, and telling countries throughout the world that "you're either with us or against us," the victory of the U.S. and its allies against terrorists in Afghanistan resulted in the first free election in that county's history, with an 80 percent turnout – 10 million people!

Then, responding to Iraq's decade-long flouting of 17 United Nations resolutions to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction (which there is now good evidence were ferreted out of Iraq to Syria and to Lebanon's Bekaa Valley), and after spending months on end in go-nowhere, U.N.-fueled "diplomacy," the president invaded Iraq, promptly toppling its sadistic dictator, Saddam Hussein, and scattering the country's brutal Baathist regime.

What followed was the establishment of an interim government and, on January 30, a stunning democratic election in which 8 million people – risking life and limb under threats by terrorist insurgents – turned out to vote in the first free election most of them could ever remember.

Liberals, who had little to say about human rights violations in Afghanistan and nothing to say about Saddam's vicious murder sprees and rape rooms, had plenty to say about Bush. Throughout his entire first term – including the 2004 presidential campaign – they conducted a relentless campaign to discredit, undermine and sabotage his efforts.

But something funny happened on the way to history. While the liberal establishment and its de facto employees in the left-wing media were screeching, writing, distorting and contorting, millions upon millions of people throughout the world were watching that history unfold before their eyes.

The results have been staggering, starting with the resoundingly victorious re-election of President Bush. Then came the following:

After all the naysaying and nitpicking and skepticism and cynicism, it turns out that Bush was right.

As the president noted in his Inaugural Address: "We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."

His address expanded on this vision: "We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies."

Finally, the president expressed an idea that millions of people have already begun to grasp – and act on. "Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world. All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: The United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you."

Saying that "the freedom genie is out of the bottle in the Middle East," journalist Gary D. Halpert notes that "even some in the liberal media are finally having to accept that the rise in freedom around the world is a good thing and (gasp!) that President Bush deserves some, if not most, of the credit for it."

Halpert cites one of the Iraq war's premier skeptics, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, who recently wrote: "… this has so far been a year of heartening surprises – each one remarkable in itself, and taken together truly astonishing. The Bush administration is entitled to claim a healthy share of the credit for many of these advances."

Who was it who said "Success has a thousand fathers but failure is an orphan"?!

The bandwagon effect, grudging as it still is in most of the media, is fine and good as far as it goes, but as writer Jack Kelly has said: "Journalists demand accountability from political leaders for 'quagmires' that exist chiefly in the imagination of journalists. But when will journalists be held to account for getting every major development in the war on terror wrong?"

Well, this is not one to hold one's breath about!

But writer JB Williams' sights are elsewhere. "Before you know it," he writes, "even DNC constituents will begin to get the notion that people can actually govern themselves, and prefer to do just that! The tsunami-sized wave of democracy sweeping across a region of the world that has never known anything but war, death, torture and fear, is getting hard to deny – even for Democrats!" And even, I might add, for that ignominious, scandal-ridden body, the U.N.

Whether the diehard leftists get on board or not, the train of freedom and democracy in the Middle East has left the station. In a remarkable article in Arabnews.com, the Middle East's leading English-language daily, Tariz A. Al-Maeena writes of a recent phenomenon that is sweeping the land: females driving cars!

"Obviously, women drivers initially will be the targets of attention," Al-Maeena writes, "some of it unwarranted, if seen behind the wheel, in a society not accustomed to such a sight. What happens if they perchance are involved in a collision? In pockets of a culture that frowns on such independence, women may feel threatened. The answer is ZERO tolerance toward anyone bothering these women. Males caught in the harassment of women should have their heads shorn and their photos displayed in newspapers, as some countries in the Gulf do."

Can anyone imagine this sentiment being expressed in a free Arab press even two months ago?!

Journalist Michael Ledeen, in an article titled "The Lethal Weapon of Freedom," says, "Many of the brave people in the suddenly democratic Arab streets are inspired by America, and by George W. Bush himself."

Yet Ledeen sees bumps in the road. "One of the most frustrating paradoxes of the moment," he writes, is that Bush's "vision is rather more popular among the peoples of the Middle East than among some of our top policymakers. For anyone to suggest to this president at this dramatic moment, that he should offer a reward to Iran for promising not to build atomic bombs, or that we should seek a diplomatic ‘solution' to Syria's oft-demonstrated role in the terror war against our friends and our soldiers, is a betrayal of his vision … yet that sort of reactionary thinking is surprisingly widespread, from leading members of congressional committees, from the failed ‘experts' at State and CIA, and even some on the staff of the National Security Council."

Nevertheless, it is clear that George W. Bush is an expert himself in confounding critics, dismissing reactionary ideas, and forging ahead with high-mindedness and faith. Even if his heroic efforts should falter in the short run, his legacy – his prophetic dream of spreading democracy and freedom throughout the world – will be hailed in the long run as visionary.

Why? Because throughout recorded history, humans have yearned and fought and died for freedom, risking and too often sacrificing their lives to live free or die. The president – whose actions have freed over 50 million formerly oppressed people – understands the yearning for freedom and has put his presidency and his legacy on the line to embrace and fight for it.

Not to worry, Mr. President. Your legacy is already being lived!

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As the president noted in his January 20 Inaugural Address: "For half a century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders. After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet, years of repose, years of sabbatical. And then there came a...
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Tuesday, 08 March 2005 12:00 AM
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