President Bush earned the right to celebrate and yes, to strut a bit aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln ..., and the pilots and sailors aboard earned the right to come home. The president's claim that the United States has prevailed'' is, if anything, an understatement for America's achievements in the fighting phase of the war against Iraq.
The worst of what was feared might happen did not chemical and biological attacks, brutal house-to-house fighting, the spread of war throughout the Arab world. Fewer than 200 Americans and Brits have lost their lives. The president called the 350-mile cavalcade to Baghdad one of the swiftest advances of heavy arms in history.'' ...
Meanwhile, as the prevailing party, the United States has its hands full in Iraq and Afghanistan, too. We are years and tens of billions of dollars away from doing what we said we would in both countries: help them become stable democracies where terrorists can't hide and that pose no threat to the world. As Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declared the end of major combat activity in Afghanistan, the Associated Press was reporting that the Taliban has revived, war lords control most provinces, and reconstruction seems a distant dream.''
If the objective is to reduce the terrorist threat, as President Bush told the young Americans almost home, then prevailing militarily is not enough. We have to prevail in the next phase or prepare to fight the same war again and again.
Journal Star, Peoria, Ill.
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