Remember President Bush's "Axis of Evil" Speech in 2002? Here's a relevant excerpt:
"Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.
Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.
Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens -- leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.
States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic. " (Emphasis mine)
Remember the outrage around the world by the Left ?(here, here, here , here, here)
The general tone of which was: My God! How dare Bush call these countries evil! How dare he confront dictators who destroy their own people? How dare he suggest that they would do anything....bad! Who does he think he is?"
Fast Forward two years.
IRAN : Getting closer to having a nuclear bomb, which would make it the most powerful country in the Middle East, with the exception of Israel. It has actively worked to destabilize its neighbors; continues to harbor terrorists from Al Qaeda; actively suppresses the freedom of its own people; murders female children under the auspices of "Sharia". America, through President Bush's policies has placed itself squarely on the side of freedom in Iran.
NORTH KOREA: Defiantly touting its own nuclear weapon program; its own people starving, it persists in its pursuit of weapons with which it can threaten and blackmail its neighbors; as well as the U.S. Its recent activities suggest it is ready to actually test a nuclear weapon. The Bush Administration's policy toward North Korea has been consistent and confrontative and is based on the reality of North Korea's behavior, not on wishful thinking. Knowing that it has broken promises and treaties in the past, the Administratin has pursued a policy of multilateral diplomacy, refusing to give North Korea the aid it wants until it changes its nuclear policy.
IRAQ: Because of Bush's doctrine of preemptive action against states that represent a developing threat, Iraq's dictator has been deposed, the Iraqi people have a real chance of developing democracy; and Iraq has become a magnet for the Al Qaeda terrorists who have been unable to attack the homeland again. They are therebecause they want to attack American soldiers. But because they are there, we finally have access to THEM also. I would rather have us deal with them away from the U.S. mainland. And, I believe that the U.S. Military is doing its job--protecting us--splendidly and should be honored for it. 1000 American deaths are tragic, but not anywhere near the number of deaths I believe we might have suffered if we had remained passive. Just note that more than 2800 people died on 9/11 and many thousands were injured. It was not the job of the people who worked in the WTC to protect US citizens--that is the proud job of the volunteers who are our Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force.
Most importantly, the possibility of a democracy in Iraq, the middle of the Arab World, has shaken things up dramatically. The effects of this bold and decisive military intervention will have important repercussions on the politics of this region for decades to come. Some of the effects may be negative, but the hope (and for the first time there IS hope) is that our action will ultimately result in more freedom, more economic advancement; and more peace in that historically chaotic region.
Personally, I think that President Bush did what needed to be done in his 2002 State of the Union speech: HE CALLED A SPADE A SPADE. And he refocused the discussion onto the regimes that were and are slowly but surely inching their way toward world domination.
What diplomats had been skirting around for decades was distilled into a blunt assessment of reality and the state of the world. If these three regimes could not be called Evil, then Evil has no meaning. I believe this was one of the most brilliant achievements of Bush's first term as President. In addition, the President made a good start in dealing with these three Powers. 33% of the axis is now not a threat to the homeland. If we learned anything from the appeasement and passivity that existed prior to WWII, it is that we cannot wait for Evil to consolidate and expand its power. Especially when they now have weapons that could destroy millions in one demonstration of egomaniacal bluster or religious fanaticism. Hitler was the prototype of of totalitarian rulers like Kim Jung Il and the Mullahs of Iran and yes, Saddam Hussein. Those who try to pin that label on Bush are not merely misguided, they are in total denial and delusional about reality.
One down; two to go.
UPDATE: Blogs for Bush has a nice update on the history of the North Korean problem.