Then comes our Pearl Harbor and the sleeping giant awakes. Within 100 days, al Qaeda is routed and the Taliban overthrown. Then the first election in Afghanistan's history. Now the inauguration of a deeply respected democrat who, upon being sworn in as legitimate president of his country, thanks America for its liberation.
This, in Afghanistan, just three years ago not just hostile but untouchable. What do liberals have to say about this singular achievement by the Bush administration? That Afghanistan is growing poppies.
Good grief. This is news? "Afghanistan grows poppies" is the sun rising in the east. "Afghanistan inaugurates democratically elected president" is the sun rising in the west. Afghanistan has always grown poppies. What is Bush supposed to do? Send 100,000 GIs to eradicate the crop and incite a popular rebellion?
With the help of the media and the Left, George Bush has managed to overshadow his most colossal achievement by extending the effort into Iraq. It is a testament to this president that he was not content to sit upon his political laurels but rather was willing to risk his very presidency in a highly ambitious move toward a greater vision.
Let's not forget that those predicting doom in Iraq are the same who were certain of failure in Afghanistan. Bobby Kennedy spoke of dreaming of things that never were and asking why not. Ronald Reagan made the challenge: "If not us, who? And if not now, when?" In that same spirit, George Bush dreams of freedom and asks, if Afghanistan, why not Iraq?
History will look back approvingly upon this president. It will deem him an improbable visionary, who, like all visionaries, succeeded because he feared failing to reach much more than he feared overreaching.
George Bush has proclaimed this Liberty's Century, and I hope this phrase long outlives his presidency, for it too is a reminder, and a challenge, to the America of the future to reach high and to accomplish great things.