- The Washington Times - Friday, December 7, 2001

Today may see the surrender of Kandahar, the Taliban's last stronghold in Afghanistan. The fall of the Taliban brings to mind what Vince Lombardi once said about football: Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing. Our victory over the Taliban forces is only the first step in what certainly will be a long war against terrorism. But a win is a win, and we should savor the moment.
We should savor it for many reasons. First among them is that America's stature as the leader of the free world has been restored. Those terrorists and nations who counted on weakness and irresolution remembered America only from the Clinton years. They may have even snickered when the president told the world it would have to choose to be with us or against us. Words have been cheap for so long, there was no reason to think these were different. But the America that mounted a devastating air campaign three weeks after September 11, attacking relentlessly from near and far, was something new. We, with our closest allies, determined we would act, and we did, without waiting for permission from the United Nations or any other imprimatur.
The leadership and resolution our president has shown are a very strong base on which to build the alliances and cooperation needed to finish the job. Terrorism is with us around the world, and it finds homes and financial support in far too many places. Taking this war beyond Afghanistan is essential, but will be exceedingly hard to do. The president will have to lead and persuade as he has never done before. In this, we should all support him because this war, half-done, would be as bad as if it had not been done at all.
So we cannot savor the moment too long. But we can say a little prayer for those who have given their lives in our defense and for those who will put everything on the line for us again and again in this conflict's future. To those at the point of the spear the special operations guys, the Army and Marine troops, the pilots and the sailors and all those who are working hard at mundane tasks making sure the shooters have what they need to shoot, we should all be grateful. Let's also give thanks that our president has faith in America and the strength of character to do what must be done.

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