Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What Could Have Been - Bush and the Moral High Ground

gurufrisbee is snowed in today and away from the computer, so I'll step in for his usual Wednesday post with this offering. I tried to summon up the usual amount of bile, but I'm not sure I did an adequate job. Let me know in the comments.

President Bush has squandered any good will and moral high road America had after 9/11/01. That can't be debated. Instead, America has paid a heavy price in treasure and blood for his mistakes. It will take a generation to right the wrongs from the last 5 years. As Bush slides into lame duck status and becomes more ineffectual because the Democratic Party has finally found a backbone, one wonders what might have been...

We saw a little of it yesterday in Latvia. President Bush went to a meeting of NATO leaders to demand more flexibility and engagement in Afghanistan. While many NATO troops have been deployed in Afghanistan, several countries have strict restrictions on their use. France, Germany and Italy all must keep out of the war zone leaving American, British, Canadian and Dutch soldiers to fight and die against the Taliban.

President Bush flew to Latvia with the moral high ground. He knew that the mission in Afghanistan was just and it is morally imperative to complete. He knew that the other NATO allies had promised to be there for the Afghans, but were shirking their duty. He spoke forcefully and was able to get some concessions from his fellow NATO partners.

And what did it achieve? While NATO failed to lift complete restrictions on troop use in Afghanistan. The Alliance's Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, said that some 20,000 of Nato's 32,000 troops deployed in the country would now be able to be used with greater flexibility. "Instead of lifting the restrictions entirely, France, Germany and Italy agreed to allow their troops to be sent in emergencies to bolster the NATO forces in the south, where Taliban forces have fought with renewed vigor."

Is it a complete victory? No. But America was able to use the moral high ground to convince others to live up to their commitments and do the right thing.

Most importantly, it doesn't cost a thing in human life or treasure.

Oh! What could have been!

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