by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
January 29, 2003
POISED TO TRIUMPH
President George W. Bush came into his own last night in a powerful State of the Union address that made a strong case against Saddam Hussein and a great case for compassionate conservatism. In particular, the President's extensive and compelling comments about the spread of AIDS in Africa and the lack of drugs and resources to treat its victims far outstrips any plan the Democrats have offered to fight it; he adopted the orphans of this terrible scourge into the American agenda in a way that will shape the world's efforts against AIDS for another century.
In making his case against Saddam Hussein, the evil and brutal ruler of Iraq, Bush focused on the evidence that U.S. intelligence sources believe is incontrovertible, and displayed more diplomatic skill than many thought he had in choosing to say that he would disarm Iraq and that he would lead a coalition miitary effort against it if necessary, while still leaving Hussein a small amount of breathing room to comply with U.N. directives and permit inspectors unbridled access to munitions and data that can prevent, as Bush called it, "a day of horror such as we have never known."
The American Reporter has published some 40 articles opposing the President's policy on Iraq and none in support of it. That will not change because this editorial is published today. Our American Reporter Correspondents are free to express their beliefs without worrying about censorship, and they have been tolerant of opposing views on many issues. Nonetheless, this endorsement of the President's policy will be painful for many of them.
Yet it is clear to us that Saddam Hussein does indeed present a grave threat to this nation and to the world through his cultivation of terrorist organizations and the weapons of terror, and he must not be allowed to use them, ever. Why so many American intellectuals see in him a symbol of American oppression is unclear; do they not believe the evidence offered not only by our own intelligence agencies, but also those of other countries that may or may not be in agreement with us on other policies? Do they understand what the stocks of ricin and sarin and anthrax were intended for? Do they really acknowledge Hussein's use of these weapons against whole villages full of innocent people? We cannot believe they do, because that is to believe they have abandoned reason in favor of a set of purely rhetorical constructs tailored to the Vietnam War and utterly indifferent to the realities of our time.
We do not want the United States to go war against Iraq. We do not want one American soldier's life, or the life of one innocent Iraqi civilian, to be lost in fighting this human monster. But history will recognize, we believe, that the effort to stop him from accomplishing the fruits of all his illicit labors was an upward turning point of civilization. One single successful use of a biological agent anywhere in the word would be another, downward, turning point from which there might be no return, and it must never happen.
The President's endorsement of a $1.2 billion research expense for the development of hydrogen-based cars flies in the face of everything that has been said about him with respect to his allegiance to the oil industry. His desire to free us from dependence on foreign fossil-fuel resources is plain sense, and his dream of seeing a child today being likely to buy a pollution-free, hydrogen-fueled vehicle as his first car should inspire hundreds of thousands of American inventors to build non-polluting personal transportation for the masses. What Henry Ford did for the combustion engine, this President has done for hydrogen fuels.
There is much to debate in the President's address, particularly in the arena of the environment, where what Mr. Bush endorses and what the Administration does seem to be very much at odds; we will look forward to being part of that debate. But we reiterate that President Bush - no longer the second-day hero of Sept. 11 but now the genuine inheritor of American democracy's most cherished gift, its leadership - is poised to triumph. We can only hope, for all Americans, that he does.