Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Door's Still Open: The day Saddam Hussein was captured, Democrats and pundits kept saying that Bush should take this opportunity to "internationalize" the situation in Iraq.

This is obviously an attempt by Democrats to avoid criticizing Bush while raising the expectations for later political attacks.

But their remarks make no sense. Bush has sought to internationalize the war in Iraq from day one. We postponed the invasion for months while we pleaded with the United Nations get involved. The U.N. needed to take a leadership position, but instead it cowered. Back then, Bush warned that if the U.N. didn't act against international threats, as it was designed to do, it risked becoming as irrelevant as the League of Nations. Now that's starting to come to pass.

The United States put together as broad an international coalition as possible. England, Australia, Italy, and Poland are helping, as well as several small countries.

France, Germany, and Russia were invited and strongly encouraged to join the fight. But they backed away. At the time, they argued that we should wait until Israel and the Palestinians find lasting peace. That hasn't happened for generations, so we can't count on it to happen anytime soon. While we definitely want to see that conflict end, we can't put all other international concerns on hold in the mean time.

That was the international picture at the time. So the United States decided to go to war without France. Now that we're succeeding, the Democrats are calling on Bush to change course and do what France wants? That makes no sense.

I think the world should be calling on France to internationalize. The United Nations should be pressured join the fight against tyranny and terrorism.

Instead of pressuring the United States, the United Nations should pressure its other members -- dictatorships like Syria and Iran -- to stop supporting terrorism and to adopt democratic reform.

I keep hearing this phrase that President Bush has "squandered the international goodwill" that blossomed from 9/11. As much as I would like the rest of the world to join our fight against terrorism, I don't think we should be beholden to other countries as to how we wage this war. Of course we should always obey international law and respect humanitarian concerns. But within those parameters, we should still be allowed to do what's necessary to succeed.

Sure, many countries sent us their regards after 9/11. But "international goodwill" should not equate to "dictating what we can do" -- but that's what other countries wanted. If Bush "squandered" that, so be it.

We're the strongest economic and military force in the world, and we provide protection to most other nations -- even those that take us for granted. We would be leading this fight regardless, so it's up to other countries whether they want to join us. All are welcome.


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