Fwd: Bush, Reagan, Qaddafi, and Saddam
> R. Emmett Tyrrell[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> March 13, 2003
> WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Last weekend, there was a series of newspaper
> articles in all the major papers that struck me as odd. They
> attempted to describe how the president is doing during these
> vestibular days before war with Iraq. He is relaxed. He is the same
> in public as in private. He is comfortable with his decisions.
> Well, of course he is. George W. Bush is a very straightforward man.
> He is among the most genuine men to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
> since Warren Gamaliel Harding. Wait, wait, that is not meant as a
> slight. Coolidge and Hoover were genuine. Truman was genuine. Ronald
> Reagan was a genuine guy and perhaps even Bush I, though Bush I has
> held so many positions in public life it would be difficult for him
> not to adopt certain artifices. Bush II is, however, down home and
> genuine. People who meet him usually recognize this. He does not take
> credit for things he has not done, and some of the admirable things
> that he does he does not boast about.
> He has come to the conclusion that terrorists and "those who harbor
> terrorists" are a threat to his fellow citizens. Like only one other
> president in the three decades during which terrorism has claimed the
> lives of four thousand Americans (about a thousand before 9-11), he
> intends to treat terror as an act of war not a crime. That other
> president was Ronald Reagan.
> President Reagan sent American warplanes in April 1986 to bomb Col.
> Qaddafi's compound after the Libyan dictator capped numerous
> bellicose acts worldwide by sending agents to a West Berlin disco
> frequented by American soldiers. There they set off a bomb that
> killed two American soldiers and wounded some 200 innocent people,
> among them 50 more American soldiers. Even in that surgical military
> strike against a dictator who had been terrorizing the world, certain
> European sophisticates were against us, most memorably Jacques
> Chirac, then only the French prime minister of France.
> Chirac denied French airspace to our strike force, causing its pilots
> to fly 2,400 more miles to attack Qaddafi. Chirac's motives were the
> same then as they are today: commerce, moral posturing and
> procrastination. At the time in this column, I described Qaddafi's
> network of terror as "a new abomination in the annals of war."
> Expressing the disappointment that millions of Americans feel toward
> now-President Chirac, I wondered if the French "would have allowed
> our planes to fly over a more precisely designated rout, leapfrogging
> such places as Ardennes, Suresnes, Rhone, the Lorraine Valley, St.
> James, St. Laurent and Espinal. All contain military cemeteries where
> American men lie face up, forever gazing into the skies of France.
> Surely these men would not object if they were to see once more the
> underbelly of an American bomber flying far from home to defend the
> values of the West."
> The lines struck a chord then. Pilots from the USS John F. Kennedy
> wrote me to tell me that they posted the column on their bulletin
> board. I reproduce part of it in hopes of stirring today's pilots as
> they prepare to strike against an even more monstrous brute than
> Qaddafi. The American military has served the cause of freedom as few
> other military forces ever have.
> I also reproduce these lines to remind us that the obduracy of
> certain European powers is not new. Nor is their reliance on American
> resolve. There is also another reason to recall our action against
> Libya. It sent Qaddafi hunkering. The fiery brute lost his fire.
> Reagan went on to stare down the Soviet Union, which gave up on the
> Cold War a few years later. Peace unfortunately is not secured by
> French procrastination. They might have learned that from their
> decade of appeasement in the 1930s.
> The resolute man in the White House is of course mounting a vastly
> larger strike against Saddam today than President Reagan mounted
> against Libya's tin pot colonel. Yet he has more of the world on his
> side. He has most of Europe, the Arab emirates and Jordan, and Turkey
> probably will be with us. Students of war as knowledgeable as
> Britain's John Keegan estimate the fighting will last only a week or
> so. First will come the most formidable aerial attack in history.
> Then air-mobile assaults will be mounted with heavily armed
> helicopters and elite troops from our airborne divisions and special-
> ops units. Finally, our ground forces will roll against what is left
> of the Iraqi army. Within a few days, Baghdad will be surrounded.
> Saddam will be dead or under arrest.
> The great questions that now cannot be answered are: Will the Western
> alliance recover? Will terrorism subside? Will Iraq accept peace and
> civilized government? My guess is that the answer to all three
> questions is yes, but the work that follows the war will be as
> arduous as the work that led up to it.
> ©2003 Creators Syndicate, Inc.