Originally created 12/16/03

Choice must be made

Speaking before a joint session of Congress just days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, President George W. Bush put the terrorists, and the American people, on notice: The war on terror was engaged.

Moreover, he put the world on notice that, "Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

And he asked Americans to be patient "in what will be a long struggle.

"Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen."

Two years since those horrid days, we must ask: Did we truly listen to the president? Are we up to a lengthy fight?

The belated arrest of Saddam Hussein this weekend certainly puts wind in the sails of the countries fighting terrorism. But the dramatic capture, we must remember, was preceded by months of sky-is-falling rhetoric from Europe and the American left.

They were wrong, not only about the coalition's effectiveness, but also about the nature of the enemy: We now know much more about Saddam Hussein's terrorist ties and ambitions, including new reports that a Sept. 11 hijacker may have trained in Baghdad.

Regardless, a giant terrorist was fished out of a hole in the ground this weekend, and there is cause for cheer.

Let this also be a reminder to the fainthearted that when the going gets tough, the weak fall into pits of doubt and fear while the tough get going.

We've come to expect mindless pacifism and weak-kneed appeasement of tyrants from our friends in Western Europe. But Americans - whose elected representatives from both major parties sang "God Bless America" together on the Capitol steps after the 9-11 attacks - should be better than that.

Democrats seem intent on committing political suicide by following Howard Dean into a headlong rush against the liberation of Iraq. Fine. But they would like to make it the equivalent of a suicide bombing, and take the president with them.

It's time for this to stop. Debate is one thing. But hating our president is another. And so is disparaging him and his policies on the world stage, as Al Gore, Dean, John Kerry, Wesley Clark and other Democratic leaders have done.

One would think the turning tide would turn these lemmings back. Think again. Clark recently called our president a "reckless, radical, heartless leader." And even after the capture of Saddam, Clark refused to temper his tirade - exposing exactly who is reckless, radical and heartless.

Just as with the nations of the world, Democrats must put politics aside and decide whether they are for the United States or the terrorists.

The choice has only become clearer, and more urgent, since Sept. 11.


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