Former president George W. Bush and his wife Laura attended a Baylor University women’s basketball game on Wednesday evening, January 28 and received a standing ovation and wild cheers from the Waco, Texas crowd.
On Saturday, January 31, Iraq held its most recent free elections for regional councils, which went off without major violence. One-third of the candidates were women! And as the media ignored or downplayed more good news from Iraq and the Bush reception, you had to wonder about the time warp that America had been through in those 11 days since Mr. Bush left office.
On January 20, our 43rd president left the White House after a gracious and thoughtful transition of power to a person with whom he certainly disagrees on most policies. That did not stop the former president from extending every courtesy to Barack Obama.
But the rude display by some Washington Democrats wishing Bush good riddance only reminds us what we really need to know about what transpired during the Bush presidency – our president made really tough choices, kept our nation safe and liberated 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan while the media and the Democrats refused, and continue to refuse, to give him the credit that the crowd offered him that night at Baylor.
And the people of Iraq certainly owe Mr. Bush a standing O and a debt of gratitude for bringing freedom to their land, defeating the terrorists who had declared Iraq the main front in their war against America (and losing big) and bringing the reign of the sadistic and murderous dictator Saddam Hussein to a legal and final conclusion.
Obviously Iraq did not go the way that the president had wanted. The casualty count has been stunningly too high, and many Americans have been heartbroken over the loss of life on our side, and on the part of the Iraqis themselves. But now and into the future, with those killed and injured soldiers always in our nation’s heart, America and the world can look forward to a more stable Middle East that will save tens of millions of lives from ruin down the road.
George Bush spoke frequently about the yearning for freedom in a classy and respectful way. His second inaugural address in January 2005 address was clear on the subject. He said:
“This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen and defended by citizens and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own.
“America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom and make their own way.
“The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it. America‘s influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America‘s influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom’s cause.
“My most solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people from further attacks and emerging threats. Some have unwisely chosen to test America‘s resolve and have found it firm.”
Compare that soaring rhetoric to Obama’s flat campaign-style inaugural address and you see the difference between a man of substance who is willing to struggle and sacrifice for larger ideals, and a short-sighted ideologue who can’t wait to bend the nation to his will.
George Bush went into Iraq with liberty on his mind. He probably looked at democratic Turkey and saw a model – moderate, free and peaceful. Compare that to the terror, murder and warmongering of Saddam Hussein and Bush was driven not by idealism but by realism. He knew that with American power and the grace of God, that Iraq would be free.
And when Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki proclaimed after the election that “the purple fingers have returned to rebuild Iraq” (in reference to the purple ink that indicates that a voter has cast his/her ballot), that too was a remarkable turnaround. Al-Maliki himself was seen as a weak and vacillating leader in Iraq’s darkest hours when the entire Democrat establishment in America was proclaiming that the war was lost. But al-Maliki himself has matured as has the situation in his land which looked hopeless just a few short years ago.
Hopeless to some, that is.
The Iraq vote should uplift all Americans. Like a fine wine that needs years to reach its best flavor, good things take time, and Iraq’s time slowly is coming, step by step. George Bush’s foray into that nation was seen as folly by many in America and the world, but Mr. Bush himself knew what the situation required and used his presidency to implement another worldwide advance toward freedom.
These are never easy quests, but in the long run, the dividends are endless. What is astonishing is how peaceful and democratic the world is today. One by one, tyrants have fallen at the hands of formidable men and women acting on lofty principles. And the enthusiastic crowd at the Baylor basketball game, along with the Iraq elections, were the first draft of historical judgment on the George Bush presidency less than two weeks out of the White House. And it was a good one.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why the conservative movement is the only one that can maintain our freedom and prosperity.