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March 28, 2003

Time alone will tell if this country's response to Saddam Hussein in Iraq was appropriate or excessive. Only history will show how wrong or right we were. We cannot possibly judge the situation from our up-close perspective today. Those who cry for diplomacy as opposed to a shooting war have merit on their side, but so do those who have grown weary of Saddam's intransigence over the past 12 years. They are weary of telling the Iranian leader that he must comply with terms of the Desert Storm peace accord that both sides accepted in 1991, even though he has largely ignored the stipulations laid out by the United Nations.

The coalition put together by those who choose to draw a line in the sand are understandably unmoved by Saddam's avowal that he has disposed of all weapons of mass destruction and that he is puzzled by the coalition's disbelief. They have seen the UN inspectors denied freedom of examination and of hearing the Iranian strongman proclaim that he is in full -compliance with the UN's demands.

Those in this country who choose to join the peace parade are demonstrating just how free we are. In Iraq, they would be summarily executed for opposing their national leader as TV newsmen and their cameras dutifully show the rest of the country what we are talking about in the way of freedom. The torture and other extreme measures inflicted by Saddam on those who oppose him are in stark contrast with the peculiar situation we are witnessing in this country.

Our President, of course, has become the target of the anti-war crowd in this country. They call him a "cowboy" and accuse him of unnecessary bloodshed, while this nation's leaders carefully point out the reasons that made this armed intervention necessary. We did not provoke this condition. Saddam was given ample time and many deadlines to meet, but he chose to thumb his nose at the United Nations. That left the rest of the world with virtually no choice. The gauntlet was laid down. Saddam sneered at it and now he is paying the price.

Mr. Bush has demonstrated bravery in the path he has chosen. We need to pray for him and for the courageous men and women who have been given the responsibility of bringing this situation to a close

Mr. Bush may indeed by a "cowboy", but it seems to me we could use a few more John Waynes to show Saddam and his cohorts just how serious we are about bringing this crisis to a close. Sometimes, someone somewhere must step forward with a plan to end the madness and conclude the nightmare of oppression. In the meantime, massive peace protests in this country and elsewhere should be laid on the shelf as a sign to our fighting forces that we, support them in every way possible.

Then, let's allow history to decide who is right.