For historical purposes, the Bush era began on 9/11/01. Here's what we've heard from the nay-sayers in the three and a half years since that horrible day.
- Impending Disaster #1: Bush can't handle a crisis of this magnitude. The Left made a big deal at the time of Bush 'flying all over America', supposedly avoiding his responsibilities, and of course there is the infamous '7 1/2 minutes'. Talk was in the air that Cheney would have to pull the strings, as if Bush were some village idiot who just happened to blunder into the White House. When the time was right, Bush spoke at the National Cathedral and to a Joint Session of Congress and just blew everyone away with two of the greatest speeches of my lifetime.
- Impending Disaster #2: Afghanistan will be a blood bath. Critics of Bush constantly reminded us that the Soviets were bogged down in Afghanistan for a decade. The poster boy of the Radical Left, Noam Chomsky, spoke of a Silent Genocide (in the same talk he says 'terror works'). Instead, we deposed of the vile Taliban regime in a matter of weeks, with minimal boots on the ground and light casualties. During this very short period of time, the Left (and even some elements of the MSM) began to speak of a 'quagmire'.
- Impending Disaster #3: Iraq will be a bloodbath. So it has been, to some extent. The fact that we have taken a large number of casualties post-major combat as we battle a terrorist insurgency should not fool us into thinking the 'Progressives' got this one right, however. We were told prior to the invasion that Saddam would use WMDs on our troops and on Israel (notice this link quotes a former U.N. Weapons Inspector, who seemed quite convinced in April 2003 that Saddam had WMDs. We know now that he didn't have any stockpiles - but 20/20 hindsight doesn't count). When the coalition forces had to slow down because of a freak sandstorm, the media began to speak of, you guessed it, a 'quagmire'.
Then came a string of 'unachievable' assertions about the Iraqi elections - first, that there was no way elections could be held on January 30th in the 'present security environment' (like 'quagmire', the 'present security environment' had to be mentioned by any serious Iraq critic in a solemn, respectful manner). When that argument fizzled, the Left turned to the notion that the elections would have a low turnout, especially among the Sunnis, and thus wouldn't be accepted as 'legitimate'.
Now, the elections have been held, in a mostly joyous, celebratory environment, with higher-than-expected turnout, but you can bet this won't be seen as a victory by the Left. They'll move the goalposts again. Expect to hear some variation of the following with increasing frequency: "The war is lost because some elected Iraqis are anti-American and want the troops to go home'. This is closely tied to the belief among many 'Progressives' that we won't accept any election results that don't go according to our script.
You and I know better; democracy requires that we accept the results of this and all Iraqi elections in the future, provided they are conducted freely. We can't handpick the government and still call that Iraqi sovereignty. Regardless of what type of government eventually forms in Iraq, though, we can take pride in the following: since 9/11, despite some temporary setbacks that are always to be expected in any part of life, we have enjoyed a virtually unbroken string of victories against the forces of terror. We can't let up now - and we mustn't fall prey to elusive 'definitions' of victory from those who don't want to achieve it. If the Iraqis elect a solid slate of anti-Americans, that will still be a victory - provided those votes were an expression of the will of the Iraqi people and not the aspirations of a brutal dictator.