Alexander's Column

Defending, protecting and extending the peace

Mark Alexander · Jul. 23, 2004

Tuesday, UPI reported that Iraqi officials, after arresting one of Saddam’s Ba'athist henchmen Khoder al-Douri near Tikrit, located, with Khoder’s assistance, three small tactical nuclear warheads concealed under six meters of concrete. The report, as it turned out, was unsubstantiated – but, significantly, it got the attention of everyone on Capitol Hill. Why? Because, despite the partisan rhetoric about the existence of Iraqi WMD, everyone knows that Iraq, and by extension its Jihadi surrogates, could possess such weapons.

On that note, in advance of the 9-11 Commission report released Thursday, President George Bush delivered his assessment of our nation’s progress in our campaign against terror, detailing the U.S. strategy for defense of the homeland and U.S. interests abroad.

“[W]e are defending the peace by taking the fight to the enemy,” said the President. “[W]e are protecting the peace by working with friends and allies and international institutions to isolate and confront terrorists and outlaw regimes …[and] extending the peace by supporting the rise of democracy – and the hope and progress that democracy brings – as the alternative to hatred and terror in the broader Middle East.”

It is of some significance that President Bush delivered his remarks at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This, of course, was the birthplace of the United States’ nuclear arsenal amid the hostilities of World War II, which placed the stamp upon – in a violent but necessary way – the U.S. emergence from isolationism that had characterized the country even after December 7, 1941. At that time, emergence from isolationism meant that the U.S. took on the responsibilities of a superpower in a world at war, first defeating the enemies of freedom, then restoring the balance of international power against the Soviets in the war’s aftermath.

Predictably, amid today’s global uncertainties, the United States is still taking the lead in unseating dictators who threaten the security of entire regions, and we are taking the lead in creating new, regional balances of power, though now such actions are, ironically, called isolationist.

Who could forget the words of French President Jacques Chirac before the UN last September, seeking to discredit U.S. world leadership following the liberation of Iraq: “In an open world no one can live in isolation. No one can act in the name of everyone. No one can accept the anarchy of a society without rules. There is no alternative to the United Nations.”

Defending Saddam to the bitter end, Chirac’s strange assertion shows just how much standards have changed since the U.S. turned the tide of war in Europe, spared the lives of a million with the painful decision to end the war in the Pacific, and gathered allies in the post-war world to confront the growing Soviet menace. The French didn’t seem nearly so picky when the U.S. acted “in the name of everyone” to liberate their shores 60 years ago. So much for liberte.

President Bush underscored that the U.S. doctrine of preemptive warfare is anything but isolationist. Aside from the fact that preemption allows us to defend the peace – “confronting [terrorist enemies] overseas so we do not have to confront them here at home,” preemption enables us to protect the peace “by working with friends and allies and international institutions to isolate and confront terrorists and outlaw regimes,” said Mr. Bush.

The process and promise of democratization, we at The Patriot believe, is the Middle East’s last, best hope for peace, prosperity and integration into the modern world. For democratic governments, the President concluded, “do not shelter terrorist camps, or attack their peaceful neighbors.”

The President went on to detail successes – and ongoing battles – in the War on Terror. “We have followed this strategy – defending the peace, protecting the peace and extending the peace – for nearly three years,” he said. “We have been focused and patient, firm and consistent. And the results are all now clear to see.”

Afghanistan: Three years ago the home of al-Qa'ida and the Taliban; now with the terrorists neutralized or on the run, and scheduled for historic free elections in the fall.

Pakistan: Three years ago one of only a few countries to recognize the Taliban regime, active in the proliferation of WMD technology and on course for possible nuclear conflict with neighboring India; now a key ally against terrorism and in the fight against nuclear weapons proliferators and aspirants like North Korea and Iran.

Saudi Arabia: Three years ago, the President’s analysis continues, terrorists were well established, financially supported and logistically facilitated within Saudi Arabia; now, given the impetus of the War on Terror – and coupled with the self-preservation instincts of the House of Saud – this is no longer the case.

Iraq: Three years ago a safe haven for terrorists, ruled by a tyrant in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and a regional threat to our national security interests; now a sovereign, democratic state amid Middle Eastern autocracies, allied with the U.S. in the fight against terrorism.

(In addition, other revelations this week have blown gaping holes in the much-ballyhooed assertions of onetime Leftmedia darling Joe Wilson and have given new life to the “discredited” claim that Iraq sought to purchase uranium from Niger. See the “National Security Front,” below.)

Libya: Three years ago, the hub of a WMD proliferation network and a known backer of terrorism; now disarmed, with “nuclear processing equipment that could ultimately have threatened the lives of hundreds of thousands…stored in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.”

The conclusion on all counts, says President Bush: “The American people are safer.”

For his part, Candidate John Kerry has repudiated the U.S. doctrine of preemption and would leave the fight against terrorism – exclusively – to the United Nations. This would be the same UN that failed miserably to enforce its own Security Council resolutions against Iraq (17 in all), instead choosing to prolong Saddam’s rule and allowing him to pursue weapons of mass destruction and cement terrorist ties. So, whom will you be voting for come November?