President Bush, "Let’s see their cards."
Barring a Damascus (in this case Baghdad) Road Conversion by Saddam Hussein, the inevitable war outlined in this column last week will probably begin on March 25th -- when there is no moon. So, gentle readers, get ready because March will be a month we will long remember.
Based on the best intelligence available to our government, President Bush is playing it safe with our national security but taking a gamble on what could happen to his political future. By the same token, his so-called "loyal” opposition is staking its political future on the failure of the foreign and domestic policies of the Bush Administration.
So, as history unfolds before us in the days ahead, who will be the winners? Who will be the losers?
Let’s assume we and our allies scour a post-war Iraq only to find none of the prohibited weapons of mass destruction. The glad cries emanating from Paris, Berlin, Moscow, China and from the Democratic National Headquarters would run off the high end of the decibel scale. Yet another battalion of Democratic presidential hopefuls would throw their hats in the ring.
But what if we do find the weapons of mass destruction Saddam claims he does not have? Then, the big losers are France, Germany, Russia and China, the Democrats, the war protestors, the Hollywood Left and the UN itself.
The British and the Las Vegas odds-makers are betting U.S. intelligence is more founded in fact that the wishful hopes of those who would like to see George W. Bush be a one-term President.
But the coming Gulf War II isn’t the complete catalog of the risks facing President Bush. Nor is it the entire enchilada of opportunities for those who, beginning in 2005, want to receive their mail at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The Democrats say President Bush isn’t doing enough to protect us here at home. Another 9/11-type attack would give them the opportunity to say, “We told you so.” But what if there is no major terrorist attack between now and November 2004?
The Democrats claim the President’s efforts in the war against terror will be a failure unless Osama bin Laden is captured or killed. What happens when Osama is killed or captured or his remains are found under some pile of rubble?
One way or another, Osama bin Laden is going to die sometime. So, staking one’s political hopes on the continued longevity of a terrorist who suffers from both renal disease and diabetes doesn’t seem very smart.
The Democrats claim the President isn’t doing enough to boost our barely improving economy. What happens to their claims if the March War moves to a swift conclusion, the uncertainties are removed from the market place, world oil prices stabilize somewhere between $18 and $24 dollars per barrel and our economy rebounds?
The experts talk about the “business cycle” which operates to produce good economic times and bad economic times, irrespective of government intervention. Another economic truism is that “present trends never continue.” Seems like the Democrats are taking a huge gamble by betting the economy will not recover before the November, 2004 elections. Economic history isn’t on their side.
In other words, the Democrats have positioned themselves in such a way that they cannot regain the White House and the Congress unless the United States suffers severe diplomatic, military and economic reverses.
Given our superior military capabilities, given Saddam’s track record for lying and given the fact of the business cycle, it would appear that the risks being taken by President Bush might not be so risky after all.
That leaves the prospect of another terrorist attack on our homeland as the variable over which our government has the least control. Another 9/11 is the wild card in this high stakes game, the outcome of which may well determine how well or how poorly we Americans live in the 21st Century.
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – novels about terrorist attacks on Colorado’s water supply and the Panama Canal, respectively.
©2003. William Hamilton