Saturday, November 26, 2005

A Proper Address for Our Achievements

In a commentary in the Wall Street Journal, James Q. Wilson (A Fitting Address – November 26, 2005 Read ) sketches out a speech he would like to hear President Bush give. In this speech Mr. Wilson describes the good that Americans have done as a result of our Middle East involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is his view that “…What most Americans care about is not who is lying but whether we are winning”. The following are excerpts from this imaginary speech – a proper speech for our President to give in light of what we have really achieved in our war against evil in spite of the anxiety ridden screeching from the left.

* * *
"My fellow Americans: We are winning, and winning decisively, in Iraq and the Middle East. We defeated Saddam Hussein's army in just a few weeks. None of the disasters that many feared would follow our invasion occurred. Our troops did not have to fight door to door to take Baghdad. The Iraqi oil fields were not set on fire. There was no civil war between the Sunnis and the Shiites. There was no grave humanitarian crisis.

“Saddam Hussein was captured and is awaiting trial. His two murderous sons are dead. Most of the leading members of Saddam's regime have been captured or killed. After our easy military victory, we found ourselves inadequately prepared to defeat the terrorist insurgents, but now we are prevailing.

“Iraq has held free elections in which millions of people voted. A new, democratic constitution has been adopted that contains an extensive bill of rights. Discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, or politics is banned. Soon the Iraqis will be electing their first parliament.

“An independent judiciary exists, almost all public schools are open, every hospital is functioning, and oil sales have increased sharply. In most parts of the country, people move about freely and safely.

“According to surveys, Iraqis are overwhelmingly opposed to the use of violence to achieve political ends, and the great majority believe that their lives will improve in the future. The Iraqi economy is growing very rapidly, much more rapidly than the inflation rate.

“In some places, the terrorists who lost the war are now fighting back by killing Iraqi civilians. Some brave American soldiers have also been killed, but most of the attacks are directed at decent, honest Iraqis. This is not a civil war; it is terrorism gone mad.

“And the terrorists have failed. They could not stop free elections. They could not prevent Iraqi leaders from taking office. They could not close the schools or hospitals. They could not prevent the emergence of a vigorous free press that now involves over 170 newspapers that represent every shade of opinion.

“Terrorist leaders such as Zarqawi have lost. Most Sunni leaders, whom Zarqawi was hoping to mobilize, have rejected his call to defeat any constitution. The Muslims in his hometown in Jordan have denounced him. Despite his murderous efforts, candidates representing every legitimate point of view and every ethnic background are competing for office in the new Iraqi government.

"The progress of democracy and reconstruction has occurred faster in Iraq than it did in Germany 60 years ago, even though we have far fewer troops in the Middle East than we had in Germany after Hitler was defeated.

“…To take their places, Iraq has trained, with American and NATO assistance, tens of thousands of new troops and police officers. In the last election, there were more Iraqi soldiers than American ones guarding the polling places.

“…Our success is not confined to Iraq. Libya has renounced its search for nuclear weapons. Syria has pulled out of Lebanon. Afghanistan has produced a democratic government and economic progress for its people. Egypt has had the beginnings of a democratic vote. In an area once dominated by dictatorships, the few remaining ones are either changing or worrying deeply about those that have changed.

“We have created a balance of power in the Middle East in which no regime can easily threaten any other. ...And we are winning. Soon Iraqi forces will be able to maintain order in the few hot spots that still exist in Iraq. We will stay the course until they are ready. We made no mistake ending Saddam's rule. We have brought not only freedom to Iraq, but progress to most of the Middle East. America should be proud of what it has accomplished. America will not cut and run until the Iraqis can manage their own security, and that will happen soon.

"Thank you, and God bless you."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Anarchy and Pirates

I read an incredible article about a Cruise Liner called the Seabourn Spirit which was sailing 100 miles off the coast of Somali with 151 passengers and 161 crew members when two boats filled with pirates sped toward them firing weapons. The captain of the ship sped the boat up and changed course thereby preventing the thugs from boarding the ship. But at some point the captain apparently also tried to run down one of the boats attacking them. Hurray for the captain and for the crew.

Can you believe it? In the 21st century and we have pirates trolling the ocean for victims to pillage!

Why along Somalia’s coast? Well, come to find out that between March and August of this year there have been 15 violent pirate attacks off of the 2000 mile coastline of Somalia. It is in a state of anarchy since the dictator thug Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted in 1991. Anarchy is defined in “The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary” as – absence of government in a society. So what do people do without a government to maintain order? The leaders in Somalia “turned on each other, transforming this nation of 7 million into a patchwork of battling fiefdoms ruled by heavily armed militias” (“Cruise Ship Crew Fends off Pirate Hijack Attempt” by Rodrique Ngowi, AP)

So it’s a free for all in Somalia. “If a society provided no organized protection against force, it would compel every citizen to go about armed, to turn his home into a fortress, to shoot any strangers approaching his door – or to join a protective gang of citizens who would fight other gangs, formed for the same purpose, and thus bring about the degeneration of that society into the chaos of gang-rule, i.e., rule by brute force, into perpetual tribal warfare of prehistorically savages” (The Nature of Government, Ayn Rand).

This is what some Libertarians espouse, the anarchy of competing “governments”. They should move to Somalia and experience their ideal first hand. But I digress. So what is the purpose of government?

Ayn Rand defined government as an “institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area…If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules….A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control – i.e., under objectively defined laws…The source of the government’s authority is ‘the consent of the governed’. This means that the government is not the ruler, but the servant or agent of the citizens; it means that the government as such has no rights except the rights delegated to it by the citizens for a specific purpose” (The Nature of Government, Ayn Rand).

This is the rule of law and what maintains order thereby allowing a nation to prosper. Somalia’s descent into a kind of hell is warning to all of what will happen when people lose their ability to use reason to solve problems. There is nothing left but the use of physical force otherwise called the law of the jungle. No prosperity ever resulted under those conditions. Africa is a continent self-destructing into the abyss of dictatorship and anarchy.

The problems of Africa, be they poverty, hunger or disease will never be solved by charity from the West (as our genius Hollywood Actors continually suggest). It's simpler than that: all one has to do is think, study history and rediscover the use of reason and the rule of law.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Walls of Evil Came a Tumbling Down

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing is worth a war is much worse.” (John Stuart Mills)

Yes, “the ugliest of things” is observing our fellow “Americans” denounce our President Bush and accuse him of the vilest of conspiracies – that of fabricating the reason for our war with Iraq. Well we know that the CIA had evidence that Iraq WAS trying to produce WMD’s. So what was America to do? Wait and see what happens? Guess what? We did that and it cost us 9/11.

Then you have the spectacle of a Senator Leahy, marking the 2000th American death in Iraq by saying during his acrimonious floor speech recently that we’ve ignored the lessons of Vietnam. I beg to differ, Senator. We lost Vietnam precisely because we did not stay the course in a war we were winning. The communist North Vietnamese knew that they could only win the war in the end if they could just wait it out while the American leftist media won it for them.

Apparently, Mr. Leahy, President Bush HAS learned the lesson: America was attacked – we went to war – and now we will stay the course and get the job done. The formula is this: Attack us or our interests and we will retaliate. Americans don’t cower and plead for mercy from evil.

Perhaps Mr. Leahy could stop counting the dead soldiers in Iraq for a moment to remember the millions liberated by America from oppression and tyranny: Afghanistan, Kuwait, Lebanon, most of Europe during WWII, most of the countries in the Soviet Union orbit such as Poland and the millions who will be liberated (again by America) if Syria’s government crashes as it is expected to and if Iran’s threats are taken seriously by our government.

Look, there are billions of people – today – still living under tyranny. What the left does not understand is that living under tyranny is NOT FUN. Those Hollywood marvels and leftist politicians are so out of touch with the reality of these people locked away in their prisons of oppression that their la-la land version of truth is that Bush is the epitome of tyranny!

Remember how President Reagan was ridiculed and maligned for daring to speak the truth about the “Evil Empire”. Reagan announced in March of 1983 his Strategic Defense Initiative and in 1987 called for Gorbachev to “tear down this wall”. But despite the left Reagan stayed the course and the walls of evil and oppression came a tumbling down, revealing the truth of the purveyors of evil.

Reagan gave such an important and brave speech on June 12, 1987 before the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, Germany that I will reprint a large portion of it here as follows to remind my fellow Americans what can be accomplished when a leader is strong, honest and courageous in the face of evil.

“In this season of spring in 1945, the people of Berlin emerged from their air-raid shelters to find devastation. Thousands of miles away, the people of the United States reached out to help. And in 1947 Secretary of State--as you've been told--George Marshall announced the creation of what would become known as the Marshall Plan. Speaking precisely 40 years ago this month, he said: "Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos."

In the Reichstag a few moments ago, I saw a display commemorating this 40th anniversary of the Marshall Plan. I was struck by the sign on a burnt-out, gutted structure that was being rebuilt. I understand that Berliners of my own generation can remember seeing signs like it dotted throughout the western sectors of the city. The sign read simply: "The Marshall Plan is helping here to strengthen the free world." A strong, free world in the West, that dream became real. Japan rose from ruin to become an economic giant. Italy, France, Belgium--virtually every nation in Western Europe saw political and economic rebirth; the European Community was founded.

In West Germany and here in Berlin, there took place an economic miracle, the Wirtschaftswunder. Adenauer, Erhard, Reuter, and other leaders understood the practical importance of liberty--that just as truth can flourish only when the journalist is given freedom of speech, so prosperity can come about only when the farmer and businessman enjoy economic freedom. The German leaders reduced tariffs, expanded free trade, lowered taxes. From 1950 to 1960 alone, the standard of living in West Germany and Berlin doubled.

Where four decades ago there was rubble, today in West Berlin there is the greatest industrial output of any city in Germany--busy office blocks, fine homes and apartments, proud avenues, and the spreading lawns of parkland. Where a city's culture seemed to have been destroyed, today there are two great universities, orchestras and an opera, countless theaters, and museums. Where there was want, today there's abundance--food, clothing, automobiles--the wonderful goods of the Ku'damm. From devastation, from utter ruin, you Berliners have, in freedom, rebuilt a city that once again ranks as one of the greatest on earth. The Soviets may have had other plans. But my friends, there were a few things the Soviets didn't count on--Berliner Herz, Berliner Humor, ja, und Berliner Schnauze. [Berliner heart, Berliner humor, yes, and a Berliner Schnauze.]

In the 1950s, Khrushchev predicted: "We will bury you." But in the West today, we see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history. In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness, declining standards of health, even want of the most basic kind--too little food. Even today, the Soviet Union still cannot feed itself. After these four decades, then, there stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor.

And now the Soviets themselves may, in a limited way, be coming to understand the importance of freedom. We hear much from Moscow about a new policy of reform and openness. Some political prisoners have been released. Certain foreign news broadcasts are no longer being jammed. Some economic enterprises have been permitted to operate with greater freedom from state control.

Are these the beginnings of profound changes in the Soviet state? Or are they token gestures, intended to raise false hopes in the West, or to strengthen the Soviet system without changing it? We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

I understand the fear of war and the pain of division that afflict this continent-- and I pledge to you my country's efforts to help overcome these burdens. To be sure, we in the West must resist Soviet expansion. So we must maintain defenses of unassailable strength. Yet we seek peace; so we must strive to reduce arms on both sides.

…While we pursue these arms reductions, I pledge to you that we will maintain the capacity to deter Soviet aggression at any level at which it might occur. And in cooperation with many of our allies, the United States is pursuing the Strategic Defense Initiative--research to base deterrence not on the threat of offensive retaliation, but on defenses that truly defend; on systems, in short, that will not target populations, but shield them. By these means we seek to increase the safety of Europe and all the world. But we must remember a crucial fact: East and West do not mistrust each other because we are armed; we are armed because we mistrust each other. And our differences are not about weapons but about liberty. When President Kennedy spoke at the City Hall those 24 years ago, freedom was encircled, Berlin was under siege. And today, despite all the pressures upon this city, Berlin stands secure in its liberty. And freedom itself is transforming the globe.

In the Philippines, in South and Central America, democracy has been given a rebirth. Throughout the Pacific, free markets are working miracle after miracle of economic growth. In the industrialized nations, a technological revolution is taking place--a revolution marked by rapid, dramatic advances in computers and telecommunications.

In Europe, only one nation and those it controls refuse to join the community of freedom. Yet in this age of redoubled economic growth, of information and innovation, the Soviet Union faces a choice: It must make fundamental changes, or it will become obsolete.

Today thus represents a moment of hope. We in the West stand ready to cooperate with the East to promote true openness, to break down barriers that separate people, to create a safe, freer world. And surely there is no better place than Berlin, the meeting place of East and West, to make a start. Free people of Berlin: Today, as in the past, the United States stands for the strict observance and full implementation of all parts of the Four Power Agreement of 1971. Let us use this occasion, the 750th anniversary of this city, to usher in a new era, to seek a still fuller, richer life for the Berlin of the future. Together, let us maintain and develop the ties between the Federal Republic and the Western sectors of Berlin, which is permitted by the 1971 agreement.

And I invite Mr. Gorbachev: Let us work to bring the Eastern and Western parts of the city closer together, so that all the inhabitants of all Berlin can enjoy the benefits that come with life in one of the great cities of the world.

To open Berlin still further to all Europe, East and West, let us expand the vital air access to this city, finding ways of making commercial air service to Berlin more convenient, more comfortable, and more economical. We look to the day when West Berlin can become one of the chief aviation hubs in all central Europe.

With our French and British partners, the United States is prepared to help bring international meetings to Berlin. It would be only fitting for Berlin to serve as the site of United Nations meetings, or world conferences on human rights and arms control or other issues that call for international cooperation.

There is no better way to establish hope for the future than to enlighten young minds, and we would be honored to sponsor summer youth exchanges, cultural events, and other programs for young Berliners from the East. Our French and British friends, I'm certain, will do the same. And it's my hope that an authority can be found in East Berlin to sponsor visits from young people of the Western sectors.

…In these four decades, as I have said, you Berliners have built a great city. You've done so in spite of threats--the Soviet attempts to impose the East-mark, the blockade. Today the city thrives in spite of the challenges implicit in the very presence of this wall. What keeps you here? Certainly there's a great deal to be said for your fortitude, for your defiant courage. But I believe there's something deeper, something that involves Berlin's whole look and feel and way of life--not mere sentiment. No one could live long in Berlin without being completely disabused of illusions. Something instead, that has seen the difficulties of life in Berlin but chose to accept them, that continues to build this good and proud city in contrast to a surrounding totalitarian presence that refuses to release human energies or aspirations. Something that speaks with a powerful voice of affirmation, that says yes to this city, yes to the future, yes to freedom. In a word, I would submit that what keeps you in Berlin is love--love both profound and abiding.
Perhaps this gets to the root of the matter, to the most fundamental distinction of all between East and West. The totalitarian world produces backwardness because it does such violence to the spirit, thwarting the human impulse to create, to enjoy, to worship. The totalitarian world finds even symbols of love and of worship an affront…

As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner: "This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality." Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.

And I would like, before I close, to say one word. I have read, and I have been questioned since I've been here about certain demonstrations against my coming. And I would like to say just one thing, and to those who demonstrate so. I wonder if they have ever asked themselves that if they should have the kind of government they apparently seek, no one would ever be able to do what they're doing again.