In his speech Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly, President Bush was a beacon of coherence, further distancing himself from Senator's Kerry's incoherence on Iraq, as he again unapologetically stood by his decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
The president's speech was a study in convictions (his) and contrasts (with Kerry). In his response, Kerry again mentioned few concrete proposals other than his previously stated promise to withdraw troops within four years.
In a barely veiled attack on nations that have deluded themselves into believing they can seek refuge from terrorism by refusing to confront it, the president said, "Eventually, there is no isolation from terror networks, or failed states that shelter them, or outlaw regimes, or weapons of mass destruction. Eventually, there is no safety in looking away, seeking the quiet life by ignoring the struggles and oppression of others."
The president was again correct to connect the former Iraqi regime and the current terrorists (would the media please stop calling them "militants"?) with the slaughter of Russian schoolchildren and the genocide taking place in Sudan.
Bush made a moral case to the U.N., a mostly amoral body that has difficulty deciding much and even more difficulty acting on the few decisions it does make.
In a response to the president's U.N. address, Senator Kerry said the president had "failed to level with the American people." That from someone who has been on so many sides of the Iraq issue he resembles a person suffering from multiple personality disorder.
Kerry now says he is glad Saddam is gone, but he doesn't like the way the president chose to get rid of him. But Kerry has never provided a credible alternative to ousting Saddam, or said how he would have forced Saddam to comply with U.N. resolutions or stop the murder of his own people, beyond the already proven empty rhetoric of asking for help from our European "allies" (who have made it quite clear they have no intention of helping in Iraq no matter who is president next year).
War needs soldiers. Too many of those who want the benefits of peace are unwilling to fight for it under the misguided impression that their pacifism (or cowardice) will buy them protection. It won't. It only delays the inevitable threat to free people everywhere.
Bush proposed the establishment of a Democracy Fund within the U.N. to "help countries lay the foundations of democracy by instituting the rule of law and independent courts, a free press, political parties and trade unions."
Direct all mail for Cal Thomas to: Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1500, Chicago, Ill. 60611. Readers may also leave e-mail at www.calthomas.com.