- The Washington Times - Monday, December 15, 2003

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has sent his congratulations to President Bush, and no doubt French President Jacques Chirac will send his felicitations, too, whenever they figure out what they can say without too much embarrassment.

And what an ordeal for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan as he tries to speak warm words after discouraging doing anything about Saddam Hussein’s violations of U.N. resolutions except let’s pass more resolutions.

So you wonder: What is the West European hate-America crowd going to say now? What will the British Guardian and the French Le Monde and, above all, the hate-America British Broadcasting System say now, they who mocked President Bush and his campaign to bring some kind of democracy to the long-suffering Iraqi people? What are the Tony Blair-haters in the British House of Commons and in the British media going to say now when the full story about Saddam’s reign of terror is heard?

A tyrant will now be tried for his crimes; his atrocities will now be documented and disseminated at a war crimes trial. But how about a trial also for those who mocked this crusade against dictatorship and said it was illegal? How about a trial for those who if they had the power to do so would have sabotaged the war against tyranny, a war that took the lives of hundreds of Americans fighting men and their coalition allies from Spain, Italy and Poland?

All over Western Europe there is now great disappointment among the literati, the intellectual classes, because the capture of Saddam Hussein will vindicate the American crusade for freedom in the Middle East. And, oh yes, we mustn’t overlook an unhappy Middle East billionaire, Yasser Arafat, the money-grubbing, embezzling dictator over the Palestinian people. The capture of Saddam Hussein is a warning not only to Mr. Arafat but also to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and to the Saudi monarchy of what could be in store for them. And in his cave Osama bin Laden must be shaving his beard, digging a man-sized hole and trying liposuction to save himself from inevitable capture.

And so what are the Democratic presidential candidates going to say now? Like Gen. Wesley Clark, like Howard Dean, like Sen. John Kerry and the whole lot? Will there be a word of apology or a statement of congratulations to President Bush and the American servicemen and women who helped effect the capture of this homicidal Iraqi dictator? To the special operations forces of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division for a job well done?

For months these candidates, with the exception of Joe Lieberman, have mocked President Bush for seeking to defend the lives of the American people against terrorism. Where are the weapons of mass destruction, they declaimed? Well, the American Army has found and captured the only weapon of mass destruction that mattered.

These must have been trying months for President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and their staffs as they were nickled and dimed by a hostile media corps, embedded or distant, and with a few exceptions the television news anchors, all seeking to turn the moral dimension of the war against Saddam Hussein into a failed and meaningless war with supposedly wasted lives and treasure.

But they can be secure in the knowledge that the surviving families of the 3,000 dead in the World Trade Center will feel that with Saddam’s capture a measure of justice has been done.

And there is more yet to follow.

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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