By Forbes S Tuttle, Legacy Wealth Coach. Forwarded by 1stAdmPAO
November 21, 2003 — On Wednesday, George W. Bush spoke before the British people and confessed to a tragic sin of omission: “Your nation and mine, in the past, have been willing to make a bargain, to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability,” the president said.
“Longstanding ties often led us to overlook the faults of local elites. Yet this bargain did not bring stability or make us safe. It merely bought time, while problems festered and ideologies of violence took hold.
“As recent history has shown, we cannot turn a blind eye to oppression just because the oppression is not in our own backyard. No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient.”
These sentences rank among the most rueful, honest and reflective ever spoken by a Western leader - an acknowledgment that Western nations have not done all they should or could have done to help secure the blessings of liberty for others in the world.
They indicate the degree to which Bush, commonly considered among the most “conservative” presidents in American history, is actually a “liberal” in the classical sense of the word. He has declared that the pursuit of liberty and the defense of freedom across the world must be central goals of American foreign policy.
The peace and security of the world, Bush said in his extraordinary speech, now rests on three pillars. International organizations comprise the first pillar. The man long derided as a go-it-alone cowboy paid glowing tribute to multilateralism, from the United Nations to NATO.
But the importance of these institutions confers on them a responsibility from which they cannot flee. They must “be equal to the challenges facing our world, from lifting up failing states to opposing proliferation,” the president said. “The success of multilateralism is not measured by adherence to forms alone, the tidiness of the process, but by the results we achieve to keep our nations secure.”
The second pillar is “the willingness of free nations, when the last resort arrives, to [restrain] aggression and evil by force.” In some cases, harsh words and pronouncements will not suffice if we are to protect ourselves and others from aggression: “It is not enough to meet the dangers of the world with resolutions; we must meet those dangers with resolve.”
Bush gracefully acknowledged that disagreements over the use of force are legitimate. “There are principled objections to the use of force in every generation, and I credit the good motives behind these views,” he said. ” Those in authority, however, are not judged only by good motivations. The people have given us the duty to defend them. And that duty sometimes requires the violent restraint of violent men. In some cases, the measured use of force is all that protects us from a chaotic world ruled by force.”
The third pillar is “our commitment to the global expansion of democracy.” In this address, which history will come to call “the three pillars speech,” the president spoke more broadly in terms of freedom and democracy than any Western leader ever has.
And he has a right to do so. After all, in the 26 months since 9/11, he has led the way in the liberation of more than 43 million people from the inhuman tyrannies of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Baathists in Iraq.
For speaking words and taking actions like these, protestors in London decided that he was no better than Saddam Hussein, a man who (by conservative estimates) murdered half a million people inside his own country. They pulled down an effigy of Bush that had been designed to look like the Saddam statue pulled down in Baghdad in May.
“Why do they hate you, Mr. President?” a British journalist asked yesterday during a press conference. “Why do they hate you in such numbers?”
After listening to Bush's speech and considering the views expressed by the protestors and others, I have one possible answer: They hate him because he calls their values into question.
The Bush-haters are moralistic poseurs. The man they hate is a moral actor. They condemn barbarity. He does something about it. They call him a monster, a villain, a Hitler. In response, he celebrates the fact that they live in societies that permit free speech.
He is a giant.