Tuesday, March 18, 2003
Countdown to war: I was in the newsroom earlier tonight when President Bush made his speech to the nation. Most action stopped as people gathered around the television sets to watch.
Though I've long advocated war, if necessary, to bring about the end of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's evil regime, as the time nears where American soldiers venture into harm's way, I feel no joy. American soldiers, I know not how many, will die in the coming days, in an effort to bring an end to terrorism, tyranny and evil in Iraq.
It's unfortunate that it's come to this. Twelve years ago we made a couple of mistakes.
First, we didn't go to Baghdad. Even though this would have likely resulted in the fracturing of Bush 41's vaunted alliance, it should have been done.
Second, after encouraging uprisings to overthrow Saddam Hussein, we withdrew our support when it was needed most -- leaving Saddam in power and his opponents dead.
All of that is done now, and we are set to correct the mistakes of the past decade.
It is time for the Iraqi people to live free from terror. To live free from tyranny. Once again, that freedom will be bought by American servicemen.
Too much of the world doesn't like this. Many Arab rulers do no not approve of the creation of a democratic Iraq, because it will put pressure on their despotic regimes to reform.
The French and Russians do not like it because it puts in jeopardy lucrative oil contracts and debts incurred by the current regime.
Some are criticizing us for wanting to remake the world in our own image -- as though democracy is a bad thing.
Anti-war protesters decry a "war for oil" or "American imperialism" -- willfully ignoring American history -- and the fact that in the past 100 years every war in which we've been involved has been a war for freedom. They ignore the fact that when we had control of Iraq's oil fields at the end of the 1991 Gulf War we did nothing to "steal the country's oil."
American soldiers will die for freedom. As they fight in the deserts of the Middle East, anti-war activists take to the street because they hate President Bush more than they do murderous tyrants.
Change is coming to Middle East -- and it's a good thing. It may not be an easy job, but the world will be a better place when Saddam Hussein isn't in it.