President Bush showed his stuff last night at the State of the Union address, politely refusing to back down in Iraq and the War on Terror.
And he had the audacity, real audacity, to utter several of the country's most hated "3-letter" words, in the face of sagging popularity and a roomful of critics. Words like:
"This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we're in," Bush said. "Every one of us wishes this war were over and won. Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned and our own security at risk. Ladies and gentlemen: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle. Let us find our resolve and turn events toward victory."
“Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen … Every success against the terrorists is a reminder of the shoreless ambitions of this enemy. The evil that inspired and rejoiced in 9/11 is still at work in the world. And so long as that’s the case, America is still a nation at war."
“In the mind of the terrorist, this war began well before September the 11th, and will not end until their radical vision is fulfilled … Take almost any principle of civilization, and their goal is the opposite. They preach with threats, instruct with bullets and bombs, and promise paradise for the murder of the innocent.
“Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions … By killing and terrorizing Americans, they want to force our country to retreat from the world and abandon the cause of liberty … Listen to this warning from the late terrorist Zarqawi: ‘We will sacrifice our blood and bodies to put an end to your dreams, and what is coming is even worse.’ Osama bin Laden declared: ‘Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us.’
“These men are not given to idle words … “
Prevail, Democracy, Free Societies:
“This war is more than a clash of arms — it is a decisive ideological struggle, and the security of our nation is in the balance. To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred … So we advance our own security interests by helping moderates and reformers and brave voices for democracy. The great question of our day is whether America will help men and women in the Middle East to build free societies and share in the rights of all humanity. And I say, for the sake of our own security, we must.”
“If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country — and in time, the entire region could be drawn into the conflict.
Chaos, Emboldened, Determination:
For America, this is a nightmare scenario. For the enemy, this is the objective. Chaos is the greatest ally — their greatest ally in this struggle. And out of chaos in Iraq would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens, new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to harm America. To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September the 11th and invite tragedy.
Succeed, Strategy, Support:
“Ladies and gentlemen, nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in the Middle East, to succeed in Iraq and to spare the American people from this danger.
“Whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field, and those on their way.”
And it went last night in the war of words: President Bush will not take "victory" out of the national lexicon. Thank God.
And while the country and talking heads will hotly debate the issues he discussed ad naseum, ad infinitum, for at least two more years, these words will remain steadfastly in our vocabulary because our Commander-in Chief refuses to be bowed by public opinion and the need to be popular rather than right on. He is a true leader in the face of all odds.
Hip-hip-hooray, Mr. President. God Bless America.
In closing, what the letter "V" meant to our parents in World War II. And remember, "V" for victory. Our president certainly does.