- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 25, 2003

There he went again. In his address Tuesday to the United Nations, President Bush ignored the advice and pleadings of the mostly liberal punditocracy and his enemies on the left (but I repeat myself). He didn’t apologize for leading the war of liberation in Iraq, a war that ended officially sanctioned rape and torture that the rest of the timid and boneless diplomatic amoebas (spineless would be a step up) could not persuade themselves to wage.

The president reminded the assembled weenies that America had not forgotten September 11, 2001, and neither should they. He recalled the attacks by terrorists on other U.N. member nations and on U.N. diplomats who were providing humanitarian aid when they were brutally murdered by thugs wishing to return to the days of target practice on civilians under the genocidal Saddam Hussein.

Mostly the delegates sat in silence, confronted by a man who seemed unafraid to lead in a world full of compromisers, accommodators, panderers and diplomatic dweebs. Their guy followed in the person of French President Jacques Chirac, whose whiny speech — that the Iraq war actually undermined the United Nations — Mr. Bush and his delegation chose to skip.

The president said events of the last two years “set before us the clearest of divides: between those who seek order, and those who spread chaos; between those who work for peaceful change, and those who adopt the methods of gangsters; between those who honor the rights of man, and those who deliberately take the lives of men and women and children without mercy or shame.”

While some continue to question the existence of weapons of mass destruction — which we know existed prior to the war, because Saddam used them — do they wish to assert America was wrong to step in and stop Saddam Hussein from his continued use of weapons of personal destruction? Does the United Nations wish to say that when tyrants kill one or two at a time the world should turn its back and only when the murders resemble an assembly line the world should take notice and do something to stop them?

The president neither retreated nor apologized for the war or his claim Saddam possessed WMDs. He also praised the Security Council for correctly finding Saddam in violation of its own resolutions and suggested the United States was simply carrying out what the United Nations had ordered. Someone had to, or the United Nations would sink further into irrelevancy.

The president cited progress in Iraq, noting how by the end of 2004, “90 percent of Iraqi children under age 5 will have been immunized against preventable diseases such as polio, tuberculosis and measles, thanks to the hard work and high ideals of UNICEF.” Not to mention their immunization against Saddam Hussein.

Do some of the Democrats who are calling President Bush a liar and fraud and briber of other nations wish to suggest these children and their parents (those Saddam didn’t get around to killing) would be better off under the previous regime? If not, who would they have preferred come to their rescue? If America had not acted, probably no one would have.

Mr. Bush said, “The success of a free Iraq will be watched and noticed throughout the region.” So will the failure to solidify Iraq’s freedom. The terrorists and thug regimes in the region, some of whom are members in good standing at the United Nations, tremble at the idea their privileged positions might be endangered by their people determining their own futures.

Political and religious dictators see Iraq as either their Waterloo or our Vietnam. The world has the resources to make Iraq and much of the region a success. The question is whether it has the will. The dictators and terrorists are betting it doesn’t.

The United Nations, which has repeatedly failed to usher in peace on Earth, good will to men, has a chance to help the United States guarantee a better life for millions of Iraqis. By doing so, it would greatly improve its standing in this country and much of the rest of the world. I’m betting it won’t. It is difficult to stand up when one lacks a skeletal structure.

Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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