Friday, September 21, 2007

Making the case for Bush

I'd like to think that criticism from the Left is like water off a duck's back for President Bush, but he's also endured a fair amount of criticism from the right in the last few years, either for not making the case for the invasion of Iraq forcefully enough, or for failing to respond when opponents of the war have impugned his motives, failed to acknowledge those motives altogether, or deliberately distorted his words.

According to Mona Charen at NRO, Norman Podhoretz has done a good job of answering critics from both left and right with his new book World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism. Podhoretz recalls numerous instances in which Bush made the case for toppling Saddam, citing the impracticality of containment, the risk of terrorists gaining access to WMD (which, as Podhoretz reminds readers, just about everyone thought the Iraqi leader had at the time) and the long-term benefits of bringing democracy to the Arab world. Charen calls the book 'a jolt of intellectual electricity for the Bush doctrine'.

Rick Richman, in his review of World War IV for The American Thinker, quotes Podhoretz comparing Bush's approach to Islamic extremism with Truman's recognition of the threat posed by the Soviet Union after World War II:

Podhoretz believes the hindsight of history will recognize that George W. Bush similarly developed a strategic doctrine to meet a worldwide challenge, articulated it in a serious of speeches that "are some of the greatest ever made by an American president" (particularly the September 20, 2001 Address to Congress and the Second Inaugural Address), and remained remarkably steadfast in the face not only of relentless domestic criticism, but extraordinary personal ridicule and demonization.

Few would argue that Bush has become the central figure in this war, or that the struggle to stabilise Iraq has become the central campaign, and Charen and Richman agree that Podhoretz has done a good job of defending both. Richman concludes that: 'A more important book will not be published this year.'

No comments: