Tags: The | Big-picture | President | and | His | Snapshot | Opponents

The Big-picture President and His Snapshot Opponents

Thursday, 12 February 2004 12:00 AM

Most people agree that the greatest actors of this and the past generation are Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando. In interviews, however, both are surprisingly inarticulate in putting the art and science of their craft into words. Rather, they let their

President Bush is like that. Not given to verbal pyrotechnics or self-aggrandizing puffery, his actions seem predicated, like the actors', on deep thought and analysis, which then take form in bold execution and breathtaking scope in both domestic and foreign policy initiatives.

That is why I depart from general media consensus that the president's recent State of the Union address and interview on "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert were "disappointing" or "unimpassioned." I found both of them inspiring and impressive, and also refreshing for their lack of defensiveness, phony oratorical flourishes, glib talking points and mean-spirited attacks on any of his mean-spirited detractors.

If ever our country needed a "big picture" leader and not one who is driven by snapshot solutions to major problems, it is now, when we face unprecedented threats to our very existence.

In this regard, the president is strikingly unlike his stuck-in-the-past opponents, who seem dedicated to predicating their actions in the war on terror on ineffectual "peace" institutions like the U.N. and fickle "allies" like France and Russia that are more interested in "honoring" their billion-dollar deals with a dictatorship like Iraq than in making the world a safer place.

Since that fateful day when 3,000 of our countrymen and women were incinerated, the president's message has never wavered: America changed irrevocably after Sept. 11 and it is his job to take every possible step to insure that terrorists will not attack us again.

He immediately established a Department of Homeland Security, revamped and enhanced communication among intelligence agencies, and waged war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, effectively dismantling those terrorist regimes on their home turf.

He next set his sights on Iraq, which every intelligence agency in the world – as well as the United Nations, the former president and his entire Cabinet, and even his most entrenched adversaries in the Democratic camp, including Sens. Tom Daschle and John Kerry – agreed was stocked with weapons of mass destruction.

The president's plan was huge in scope – visionary and unprecedented. It was not only to topple Saddam Hussein but at the same time to introduce democracy (or some form of it) to a brutalized, dictator-led country, setting the stage for freedom to flourish in an entire region of the world where feudalism still reigns and potentates drive around in limousines and live in palaces while their populations starve, human rights are non-existent, and America-hating terrorists are financially supported and actively encouraged to commit their deadly deeds.

Legions of supporters for the war, including dozens of countries that joined the "coalition of the willing," knew that Saddam Hussein had inflicted deadly nerve gas on thousands of his county's population of Kurds; engaged in mass slaughter, burying hundreds of thousands of innocent people under desert sand; and built a nuclear facility (that the Israelis, presciently, bombed into smithereens in the early 1980s).

They also knew that Iraq was an actual or potential conduit for WMD to other terrorist nations like North Korea, Iran and Syria. And let's not forget Lebanon, where it is now suspected that caches of Iraq's WMD are hidden in the Bekaa Valley.

But when top U.S. weapons inspector David Kay reported recently that "we were almost all wrong" in assessing Iraq's WMD program, gleeful Democrats and their allies in a largely leftist media pounced – while all of them studiously avoided mention of Kay's other finding: that his discoveries of Iraq's potential for wreaking havoc may actually have been

So, after months of blanket coverage of the Democratic primaries, in which not three or five but all nine candidates engaged in an orgy of virulent Bush-bashing, the president decided to face the nation about their ongoing distortions of his record, including that he engaged in war with Iraq under "false pretenses" and bad intelligence.

"… only the ossified Left could decry poor intelligence for prompting us to go into Iraq, and then suggest we should have acted earlier on poorer intelligence prior to 9/11, as they now suggest with regard to North Korea," said Victor Davis Hanson (professor of Classics at Stanford University, visiting professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, and prolific author).

Logic like this, however, never washes with Leftist Democrats when it comes to vanquishing dictators and therefore preventing disaster. They rankle at President Bush's policy of pre-emption – striking a known enemy before he strikes us – preferring to strike only those who pose no threat to the United States, as we did in the ‘90s in Bosnia, Somalia, Haiti … the list goes on.

But pre-emption is the same health-care policy they advocate when doctors urge us to swallow a daily aspirin to avoid a heart attack, have a yearly mammogram and pap and PSA test, take folic acid if you're pregnant. It's the same policy that insurance companies employ: Give us your money to avoid being blindsided by illness or fire or crime. It's the same policy investment counselors suggest: Save now to avoid future financial disaster.

The consequences of not heeding this advice can be painful for an individual and his/her family. But if the president doesn't take pre-emptive action against terrorists, not only you or your family or your baby will suffer; millions of people will be annihilated in a single biological or nuclear terror attack!

Yet the uproar continues, the loudest being from Oval Office wannabe John Kerry – who has spoken out forcefully for years about the danger of Iraq's WMD program but now excoriates the president's decision to depose the Butcher of Baghdad in language that reeks like a contaminated stew of political opportunism and craven cynicism.

In fact, what is Kerry's big picture? On Iraq: Back to the U.N.! On the economy: Back to high taxes! On education: Forget about testing children and the accountability of teachers! In other words, a virtual scrapbook of retro black-and-white snapshots of strategies that have failed miserably in the past. And – significantly – no big picture at all.

President Ronald Reagan once said: "There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right."

To the everlasting good fortune of our nation, we now have a president who can see the big picture and has both the moral rectitude and the courage to act.


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Most people agree that the greatest actors of this and the past generation are Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando. In interviews, however, both are surprisingly inarticulate in putting the art and science of their craft into words. Rather, they let their President Bush is...
Thursday, 12 February 2004 12:00 AM
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