Editorial: George W. Bush is the right person with the right policies to keep America safe

October 25, 2004

There are plenty of reasons to favor the re-election of President George W. Bush:

* He will appoint federal judges who believe in strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and will stem the tide of legislation by the federal bench.

* He will push for reform of the legal system to reduce the horrendous malpractice insurance costs that force doctors to give up such high-risk areas of practice as obstetrics and otherwise increase the nation's health-care costs.

* He has a fundamental belief in the ability of the free-enterprise system to provide the best quality services of all kinds, including health care, at the lowest cost. Basically, Bush believes that it's the people and the private economy, not the government, that make America strong and prosperous.


Yet these reasons and many others that we could list pale in comparison to the foremost challenge of this generation: Keeping America safe in an era of radical Islamic terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

President Bush's leadership since the devastating attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has been steadfast, and his view of the causes and cures of terrorism is fundamentally correct. Throughout the 1990s, Bush's predecessor viewed radical Islamic terrorism essentially as a law-enforcement problem. During that time, the situation steadily worsened, culminating in the deadly 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Following those attacks, under Bush's leadership, the United States adopted a new policy on terrorism that correctly linked the activities of terrorists to the rogue states, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, that sponsor them or grant them sanctuary. The Bush administration followed up on that policy by removing the brutal governments of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq from power.

The job of creating democratic governments in those countries has not been easy and is not nearly complete, but the strategy is the correct one for protecting the United States and establishing a more peaceful and secure world.

Although there has been much criticism and wringing of hands by the president's critics, they have yet to present a viable alternative to what has been called the "Bush Doctrine." Even now the president's opponent, Sen. John Kerry, appears to yearn for a return to the Clinton era when the terrorists were allowed to bomb buildings in the U.S. (the first World Trade Center bombing) and attack U.S. embassies and military assets abroad with relative impunity.

It is clear from Kerry's statements going back at least as far as June 2002 that he, like former President Bill Clinton, views terrorism primarily as a law enforcement issue that does not require a military response. We would not allege, as some have, that another attack on America would be more likely under a Kerry presidency, but we would argue that much valuable time would be lost in the fight against terror and the spread of weapons of mass destruction while Kerry tried to breathe new life into failed policies of the past.

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