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It seems de rigueur these days to claim that President Bush prevaricated when he took us to war against Iraq.
As Secretary of State Powell continues in efforts to promote the so-called Middle East "Road Map," the Bush administration's apparent departure from the firm, uncompromising anti-terror American resolve President Bush articulated on June 24th last year and re-enforced byOperation Iraqi Freedom, is nothing short of stunning.
It was not for nothing that last June, President Bush declared that for any progress towards Palestinian goals, there must be a "new and different Palestinian leadership ... not compromised by terror." Plainly the President had enough of Arafat's duplicitousness and deceit.
It would seem that Bismark, Metternich and even Machiavelli have nothing on Britain's Tony Blair. Having stood firm with President Bush on Operation Iraqi Freedom, it is widely reported that the President feels he "owes him one." And Blair is skillfully - and ironically - using that chip to ingratiate Britain in the Arab world and reverse the negative reaction engendered by the war against Iraq!
Ever since 9/11, President Bush's constant refrain has been an uncompromising effort at eliminating terror and its infrastructure around the world. Plainly, this has not been the product of a Pollyannish notion of refashioning the world in the American image, but rather of a hard-nosed evaluation of what it will take to minimize the threat from fundamentalists around the world bent on America's destruction.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair is on his way to Washington to meet with President Bush. As is being widely reported, his agenda includes the final disarming of Iraq, post-war rebuilding of Iraq and last, but certainly not least, implementation of the so-called "road map" to Middle East peace. There is a lot more at stake in this meeting than might be imagined.
President Bush gave Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon an overwhelmingly warm welcome at the White House Monday, reiterating his lack of trust in Yasir Arafat and his support of Israel?s right of self-defense.
?No one has confidence in the emerging Palestinian government,? Bush told reporters as Sharon stood by his side.
Democrats and their allies in the media who thought they could use those pre-Sept. 11 intelligence reports and FBI memos to diminish President Bush's standing with the American people were in full retreat this week, as a slew of polls gave Bush continued high marks, both for his overall job performance and his handling of the war on terror.
It is no small thing that the civilized world is rallying to Israel's side in its vigorous efforts to stamp out the Palestinian attacks. In the face of a no-nonsense President Bush, it seems that Arafat is no longer persuading anyone with his empty promises. And despite the protests of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, it appears that Arafat will finally be compelled to call a halt to the terrorism.
The recent developments in U.S. Mideast policy are nothing short of stunning. Over the past few days, in unusually blunt and unequivocal language, President Bush and Secretary of State Powell have left no doubt that they have had it with Yassir Arafat's duplicity regarding the violence directed at Israel. And in Tuesday's order freezing the financial assets of organizations allegedly linked to Hamas, there is also no doubt left that the day is past when we will prevaricate regarding funding for Palestinian terrorists. Yet, while most are viewing these welcome actions in terms of support for Israel ? and it certainly is that ? we also believe that they are key to our continuing war against terror.
Although "it's not over 'til it's over," the reports out of Afghanistan of the continuing collapse of the Taliban hold on the country are certainly welcome signs of the effectiveness of the President's anti-terrorism policy. To be sure, Osama bin Laden is still at large. But it cannot be lost on any of the nations of the world that if they provide safe harbor to terrorists, this is the kind of power that can be unleashed against them to, in President Bush's words, "cough them up."
As we and others have opined, the inclusion of Arab states that continue to harbor terrorist cells in the anti-terrorism coalition is seriously undermining the effort by signalling a political business as usual modus operandi. We have been equally critical of signs that the Bush Administration is agreeing to certain demands of Arab states in general in order to keep them in the coalition. Primary among the concessions was the recent public support expressed by President Bush for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Plainly, the Arab states think they are finally onto something in their effort to have the United States cut Israel loose. But the snickering that this has doubtless engendered seems about to turn into outright mockery if it hasn't already done so.
The word circulating around usually well-informed parts of town is that President Bush will be appointing Mayor Giuliani to a very prominent position connected with the war against terrorism. Director of the CIA and Director of Homeland Security are the two posts most often mentioned. Because the Bush Administration is fast losing points in the polls and the confidence of the American public seems to be waning, we don't regard this as mere speculation.
Although Prime Minister Sharon's "appeasement" analogy was not exactly apt ? President Bush is a proven friend of the Jewish State and is certainly no fainthearted Neville Chamberlain, nor is Israel a defenseless Czechoslovakia ? he did succeed in making an important point. There is no gainsaying that the task before us in seeking to uproot terrorism around the world does not lend itself to a quick solution. Indeed, everyone in the Administration, from Mr. Bush on down, continues to caution that we are in for a long haul.
As the days go by, the outlines of President Bush's strategy for dealing with the aftermath of September 11th are becoming more and more clear. As the President intimated in his riveting "This Is War"/"You Are Either With Us Or Against Us" speech to the nation, and as Secretaries Powell, Rumsfeld and Fleischer have since fleshed out, the United States is trying to craft the broadest possible coalition ? including even those who have heretofore harbored or otherwise assisted "terrorists." And the focus of the coalition is to be on terrorism with a "global reach" ? as opposed to "terrorism" in all its forms. The primary goals are to make the overall effort to appear as nothing other than a confrontation with international outlaws and to make as many, particularly in the Arab world, part of the solution with a vested interest in its success rather than having them remain as part of the problem.
In many respects, the Durban Conference on Racism presented Israel with one of its most critical challenges in its 53 year history. Had Arafat and other Arab leaders succeeded in hijacking the conference and having Israel branded internationally as an outlaw state, members of its government, diplomatic corps and military would be subject to arrest and trial around the world as war criminals. Moreover, had Zionism been equated with racism, the very basis of the Jewish state would have been delegitimized and it would have assumed the role of international pariah. So the statements and actions of President Bush and Secretary of State Powell in dramatically disassociating the United States from the parley and thereby blunting its anti-Israel mission, were the latest evidence that President Bush's election last November was providential. Indeed, the contrast with the reaction to events in Durban by the Democratic Party leadership is striking.
Prime Minister Sharon is being roundly criticized in his own Likud Party by those who are disenchanted with his policy of "restraint." Indeed, it would now appear that former Prime Minister Netanyahu would win a vote for leadership of the Likud if it were held today. Plainly, there is much frustration with the continuing violence and the failure of Mr. Sharon to bring an end to it.
During the past presidential election, we endorsed George W. Bush even though the opposing ticket featured a Vice-Presidential candidate who is a Sabbath-observer. Thus, in addition to strong support for Israel, we were confident that Mr. Bush, if elected President, would also demonstrate his support for religious observance and for the needs of the Orthodox Jewish community.
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