Between Sept. 11, 2001, and his State of the Union Address in 2002, George W. Bush had America in the palm of his hand.
But in that speech, Bush blew it. Singling out Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as state sponsors of terror seeking weapons of mass destruction, Bush yoked them together in an "axis of evil" and issued this ultimatum: "I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."
Neoconservatives celebrated this bellicosity as neo-Churchillian. Yet all it accomplished was to fracture the U.S. and foreign coalitions that had united behind Bush. As some of us wrote at the time, to call Iran and Iraq, mortal enemies in the eight-year war of the '80s that took a million lives, an "axis" was absurd.
Bush's speech was a blunder of the first magnitude. First, he had no authority to attack any of those nations, as Congress had not authorized war. Second, he had neither the plans nor forces in place to do so. Yet he had put all three on notice this was what he had in mind.
When the United States invaded Iraq, North Korea and Iran got the message. Both accelerated their nuclear programs.
Because of the bluster-and-bluff of President Bush, the United States is today eyeball-to-eyeball with Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs, and neither of these regimes appears ready to blink.
Why should they blink? They've got Bush figured for the punk he is, and he's only going to be around for two more years. Or less, God willing. They also know Bush and Rums bin Feld have wrecked our military to where a ground campaign is out of the question.
Great though its crimes, Kim's regime will never equal in evil those of Josef Stalin or Mao, both of whom had nuclear arsenals greater than Kim can ever achieve - and America never went to war with either.
Meanwhile, put the bellicose bluster on the shelf. It has done less than nothing to advance America's security.
In other words, Georgie boy, you've let your alligator mouth overload your hummingbird ass, at the expense of everything the United States has always held dear. Time to put a sock in it.
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