- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 15, 2009

In recent weeks, President Bush has been asked many times about his legacy. He has rightly answered that it’s for history to judge and that years will pass before that judgment takes shape.

Yet I also believe the president is being modest, because he already ranks among the most decisive, determined and far-seeing leaders this nation has ever had.

After the relative calm of the 1990s, the first decade of the 21st century has demanded big decisions. Very fortunately for the country, we’ve had in the White House a man who can face a tough call, patiently choose a course of action, and then see it through despite difficulties.

Following the attacks of Sept. 11, George W. Bush comforted a wounded nation and resolved that America would take the offensive against those who wished to destroy us.

He has gone after the enemy in its strongholds, removed tyrants who defied the civilized world, and stood by liberated peoples as they built free societies in a troubled region. He’ll be remembered as a president who proclaimed America’s highest ideals - justice, freedom and the rights of mankind - and served those ideals at home and abroad.

Because of decisions by this president, my grandchildren will have a better chance to live in a safer world. The short-term political costs have been high but have not kept him from doing what best serves the national interest. At times, the criticism has been unmeasured and unfair to the man himself. Yet this has not deterred him, nor has he ever responded in kind.

After the grief of 9/11, our whole nation lived in the expectation of more terrorist violence inside our country. To date, it has been avoided and not by chance.

The duties carried out by law enforcement, intelligence and military personnel have been hard and often perilous. Against enemies that operate by stealth and murder, the choices facing the commander in chief haven’t been pleasant, and the decisions haven’t been easy.

But George W. Bush staked his ground. As a global threat came into clear view, he declared that if our country “shows weakness and uncertainty, the world will drift toward tragedy.” He promised that would never happen on his watch.

He has kept his word, and he has kept us safe. Our 43rd president will stand tall in the nation’s memory.

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