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  • Thursday, May 31, 2007


    Mourning becomes Margaret Ellen Noonan
    Peggy's ice cubes keep soaking up her gin

    Once upon a time it was closing time and Peggy found herself in love:
    The American president has, meanwhile, demonstrated to the entire world that he is neither a bombastic naïf nor a reckless cowboy but, in fact, another kind of American stereotype: the steely-eyed rocket man. Don't tread on him. It is good for the world that it see him as he is. As for leadership style, remember Jimmy Carter micromanaging the failed hostage rescue mission in 1980? This president was told Wednesday night we may have to move early to take advantage of potentially key targets that had presented themselves. Bush said, "Let's go." It takes guts and judgment to trust others who know how to do their jobs.

    The American victory will mean that the United States has removed a great and serious threat to the innocent people of the world. An evil man who was gathering to himself weapons of mass destruction was, is, a danger to the world. And so, with the successful prosecution of the war, the world will be safer.

    We will have helped the Mideast become more stable. There were those who warned that invading Iraq would lead to instability in the Mideast, to which the only response was: lead to? The Mideast was instable. Saddam was part of that instability. His removal opens up the possibility of stability.

    With Iraq taken care of the United States will be able to move with enhanced strength toward an Arab-Israeli peace that might last. There are those who say Mr. Bush cannot move forcefully here because his base is composed in part of Christian Evangelicals deeply enamored of Israel. And so it is. But with victory in Baghdad Mr. Bush's base widens, and it will damage him not at all either in the world or domestically to come out strong and do what needs to be done.

    And, finally, victory in Iraq means this: every terror state and terror group is more than ever on notice and newly aware that the West does not exist to play victim.

    A victory in Iraq is about to enhance America's stature in the world. America deserves it. Because of all the powerful countries in the world, it is the most trustworthy, reliable and constructive.

    Soon this war will be over. It was hard getting there, hard doing it and there will no doubt be hard going. But it will be over, and we won't come back from hell with empty hands. We will have won a great deal. In the next week and weeks it will be good to keep that in mind, and keep our eyes on the prize.
    But dawn comes, as it must, and Peggy rolls over and realizes that it's coyote ugly time:
    The beginning of my own sense of separation from the Bush administration came in January 2005, when the president declared that it is now the policy of the United States to eradicate tyranny in the world, and that the survival of American liberty is dependent on the liberty of every other nation. This was at once so utopian and so aggressive that it shocked me. For others the beginning of distance might have been Katrina and the incompetence it revealed, or the depth of the mishandling and misjudgments of Iraq.

    What I came in time to believe is that the great shortcoming of this White House, the great thing it is missing, is simple wisdom. Just wisdom--a sense that they did not invent history, that this moment is not all there is, that man has lived a long time and there are things that are true of him, that maturity is not the same thing as cowardice, that personal loyalty is not a good enough reason to put anyone in charge of anything, that the way it works in politics is a friend becomes a loyalist becomes a hack, and actually at this point in history we don't need hacks.


    Bush the younger came forward, presented himself as a conservative, garnered all the frustrated hopes of his party, turned them into victory, and not nine months later was handed a historical trauma that left his country rallied around him, lifting him, and his party bonded to him. He was disciplined and often daring, but in time he sundered the party that rallied to him, and broke his coalition into pieces. He threw away his inheritance. I do not understand such squandering.

    Now conservatives and Republicans are going to have to win back their party. They are going to have to break from those who have already broken from them. This will require courage, serious thinking and an ability to do what psychologists used to call letting go. This will be painful, but it's time. It's more than time.
    Then there was a great gnashing of teeth and a rending of flesh.

    And we came to call her Lefty...


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