Published Oct 18, 2004, in the Panther Press (school paper)

War on Terror Requires a Resolute Leader

By Maxim Lott

It is a time of international turmoil and threats to our country. We need a president who is a proven leader and has a clear plan. And it is not good enough to simply have a plan. Whomever we elect president must also follow through with his objectives and cannot give up halfway through. In war, the going is bound to get tough – and then the press coverage never fails to turn negative. A Commander in Chief must not change direction due to a temporary dip in public opinion. So which of the two major candidates has presented a firm, clear plan and demonstrated the resolve to carry it out?

George W. Bush has a record. Since the attacks on September 11th he has taken the fight to the terrorists, first toppling the oppressive regime of the Taliban and then the tyrannical dictator Saddam Hussein. Today Afghanistan is relatively stable, with democratic elections just around the corner. Thanks to peaceful conditions, 2.5 million Afghans have returned to their homeland since the Taliban was deposed.

The struggle in Iraq, of course, is ongoing. Insurgents carry out daily attacks on soldiers and the American public is loosing patience. Does that mean we should give up and leave Iraq? In World War II, over 400,000 American soldiers lost their lives to liberate Europe. And terrible as the losses were, it is generally agreed that the war was something we had to do. FDR was the leader who pulled us through. He did not waver in his resolve, even as we suffered massive losses on D-day and at other battles. In comparison, over 1,000 soldiers have died fighting in Iraq. And we are already considering the war a mistake?

President Bush has a plan in Iraq. We will continue to equip and arm Iraqi policemen and fund the fledgling government. Next year, free elections will be held. Iyad Allawi, the Iraqi interim prime minister, recently announced “In 15 out of 18 Iraqi provinces, the security situation is good for elections to be held tomorrow.”

John Kerry might not have been president, but he also has a record. During his four terms in the U.S. Senate he voted constantly to cut defense spending. But right now – it might have changed by the time this article comes out – his official position is to “Expand America's Active Duty Forces by 40,000.” Kerry voted against the first Gulf War, but then voted in favor of our current invasion. Now he constantly wavers back and forth on whether this was the right thing to do.

With executive experience not only as president but also as governor of Texas, Bush knows how things are run. He knows how to be decisive and accomplish his objectives. Kerry, on the other hand, has been a senator for 19 years. His position places emphasis on pleasing one’s constituents but does not require decisive leadership. This could be a reason for the indecisiveness Kerry has shown on the campaign trail.

Which candidate will make sure we get the job done in Iraq? Who will see things through until the country is stable and free, as Bush did in Afghanistan? Whether you think invading Iraq was the right thing to do or not, the effort has to be seen through. George W. Bush has the resolve that is needed.

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