Decision time

A joke has President Bush and the Pope sailing down the Potomac on the Presidential yacht. The wind blows the Pontiff's cap off and it falls into the water. President Bush orders the yacht stopped, gets off and walks across the water to retrieve the Pope's cap.

The next day's headline in the New York Times reads: BUSH CAN'T SWIM.--Thomas Sowell

Just in case the media giants successfully hid this news from you, they held an election in Australia and George W. Bush won.

Try this from John O'Sullivan of the New York Post:

Above all, Howard demonstrates the virtue of political courage especially on Bush and the Iraq War. He refused to be bullied by either the "chattering classes" of the Australian media or their international equivalents. He never wavered on his involvement in the Iraq war and he expressed warm personal support for George W. Bush. Not all of these beliefs were shared by most Australians. But the great majority respected Howard for sticking to them. And they chose a leader who would show courage rather than truckle to them.

The result for America and the world is reassuring. Australia will continue to be led by a courageous and far-sighted friend of America. He will be a leader in the movement towards a more efficient and prosperous global economy, a leader in the resistance towards rule by unaccountable transnational elites in the U.N. and NGOs and a leader in the fight against Islamist terrorism.

Al Qaeda has received a serious setback, Kofi Annan a rebuke, France and Germany a disappointment and the media elites a slap in the face so stinging that outside Australia Howard's victory has been a non-story.

Not for the first time, America owes the Australian people a hearty vote of thanks. Something on the lines of "Good on ya, Cobber. Have an ice-cold tube of Fosters on us."

Or, these days, "a nicely chilled Sauvignon Blanc from the Margaret River."

Yeah. So one of W's staunchest allies was reelected and that news gets nary a mention in the press. Yet...last March, when Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero defeated Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar on the promise to withdraw troops from Iraq in the wake of the Madrid train bombings, the press made damn sure we heard about it 24/7.

Apparently, we're only allowed to hear of the bad news. The bad news for Bush. The bad news for Iraqis. The bad news from Afghanistan. And the bad news for the lovers of freedom. It's quagmire, quagmire, and more quagmire. That's the template. That's the agenda. Bad news until Bush is voted out of office.

And the broadcast networks can't figure out why Fox News is quickly becoming the preferred source of broadcast news for millions upon millions of Americans. And the usual left-leaning suspects in print journalism are aghast at the thought that bloggers are becoming a more reliable source of information. Go figure.

And just in case you missed it...

...elections were also held in Afghanistan.

I'm not making this up. For the first time, Afghans were able to choose their leaders. This is like...historic, heyna?

Afghan women, long considered to be no more than the property of their male counterparts, were not only allowed to vote, they were encouraged to run for elected offices. Freedom, democracy and Islam can be intertwined, so long as the murderous lunatics are either killed, captured or convinced to give it up already.

10 million Afghanis flocked to the polls and the violence expected to materialize never did. So this is not news. This is page 45 fodder. For Dubya, it's good news, so we're not going to hear much about it. But what if suicide bombers went berserk all over that country and countless people just trying to vote were maimed and killed? Whoa! Hold the freaking presses! That would have been bad news for Bush and it would have been front page news from sea to polluted sea. And Mike McGlynn would have to crank out an extra anti-Bush screed.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the democratic challengers to the throne, have pounded home the point that we somehow sold the Afghanis short by diverting troops and resources to Iraq. They have claimed that we allowed Osama to escape and allowed the Taliban to regroup while Bush went off to avenge his Daddy's biggest mistake. (?) I think the relatively successful Afghan elections once again proves that Rome wasn't built in a day. It can't be denied that the fledgling Afghan democracy has enough warts to scare off even the most devoted and hopeful Princesses, but if we remember correctly, we were told by the doomsayers on the left side of the aisle that elections such as the one that was just held were an impossibility in a country that has known only war and tribalism for most of it's existance. Can the folks in that region of the world handle freedom? Sure they can. If we stick by them. If we follow through on our promises to them.

Much has been made of Bush's supposed "mistakes." You know, he didn't have a plan to win the peace, and other oft-repeated nonsense. In the case of Afghanistan, a contrary argument can easily be made. The Russians rolled 100,000 troops into Afghanistan and brought all of the air power they possessed to bare for ten years. The result? Their troops were systematically churned into Monkey Meat and they withdrew with their tails between their legs. They suffered their own Vietnam just a few years after funding ours.

Conversely, we swooped in there with one-tenth the forces backed by our air power. As a result, the Taliban is no more. Al Queda was undeniably put on the run. The numerous terrorist training camps are no more. Osama is probably worm food. Girls are allowed to attend schools. Long-suppressed people can now choose their leaders. And freedom now has a tenuous foothold in a region thought to be too completely backwards to ever hope to embrace it. What was unthinkable only a few months ago has actually come to pass. Why? Because one man routinely dismissed as a stubborn nincompoop believed that all of the people of the world not only deserve freedom, they yearn for it.

What should be recognized as a noble undertaking worthy of heaps of praise is summarily dismissed out of hand as more bungling from the lead bungler. At least, that's what the bedwetters want us to believe.

How the hell will we ever be able to "provide" free health care to ourselves while we're wasting billions of dollars trying to replace tyranny with freedom?

Iraq is a hopeless quagmire...

...and no Weapons of Mass Destruction have been found there.

That's what the media elites and their Democratic bed mates want us to swallow hook, line and sinker.

The WMD question no longer matters. For me personally, it never really did resonate to any great degree. Saddam huffed and puffed for years on end and the world took him at his word. He pretended to be the ultimate defender of the middle eastern faith, and he spared no occasion to rattle whatever WMD sabers he had tucked away in a bunker somewhere. He loved the spotlight and promised to be a thorn in the side of the western world so long as he retained his power. And after 9/11, it would have been foolhearty to ignore his usual anti-American bluster anymore.

So Bush gave the order and we rolled the M1/A1s in there. And to this very date, the location of the WMD totally escapes us. Are they buried in the sand somewhere? Maybe. Maybe not. Were they spirited off to Syria at the last possible minute as so many intelligence types suspect? Maybe. Maybe not. Probably. But the question of how we got where we're currently at, or how we can beat a hasty retreat out of there should not be dominating the debate at this point. Our efforts should be solely focused on how we're going to make this thing work out to everyone's benefit.

Which is not to say that Dubya's decision to roll in there should not be scrutinized. It should be. And if he deserves to be voted out of office come November, so be it. I get the distinct impression that he'd be perfectly fine with heading back to Crawford, clearing some brush, and taking solace in the fact that he did what he thought was right. He's not evil and he's not a liar. He's but a guy that was presented with some daunting challenges and he did not shy away from making a decision. And I will always respect a guy who can make a concise decision where others would be shaking in their wishy-washy shoes. It's called leadership.

The Iraqis have an election of their own scheduled for January 2005. We've been told over and over that this election will never take place. The loonies have stepped up the violence and with each car bomb that explodes, the media and the Democrats offer that up as proof that Iraq is a worsening quagmire that we need to extract ourselves from as soon as possible. I say that defeatist train of thought is 180 degrees out of phase.

I say we need to press onwards and see this thing through. There are 25 million mostly innocent lives hanging in the balance and to turn our backs on them now would be a mistake that would haunt us and the remainder of the world forever.

At this point in time, Iraqis need good paying jobs and they are flocking to the best paying jobs currently available in that country. Namely, police, national guard, and security force jobs. The U.S.-trained security forces now stand at 100,000 with 40,000 more due by the time the elections are scheduled to go forth in January. With increasing frequency, American forces are backing up Iraqi forces as they take the fight to the terrorists, the insurgents and the rest of the folks that prefer tyranny over freedom. Slowly but surely, the Iraqis are taking control of their own country. And now is not the time to embrace any of John Kerry's always mutating exit strategies. Now is not the time when we need to run away. Now is the time when we need to press onwards and deliver what only this country can deliver: Freedom and liberty.

And if you mistakenly believe that promoting freedom is a silly and idealistic exercise that we can't afford, you obviously have no clue as to why we enjoy the blessed lives that we do.

Election year politics can be a very bloody game, but if we're not real careful, this election could end up spilling more blood than we previously thought possible.

And the Iraqis deserve better from us.

It's decision time, kiddies.