Our Finest Hour
Despite the constant drumbeat of negative news coming from the Five Stooges: (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and PBS), the military and civil situation in Iraq improves daily. A recent Gallup Poll reveals almost 70 percent of the Iraqi people are pleased Saddam and his sadistic henchmen are gone. Two thirds of the Iraqis are confident the U.S.-UK-led Coalition will create the circumstances for them to have a much better life.
Belatedly, some of the members of the international community, who were happy to buy oil from Saddam in violation of U.N. sanctions, are crawling out from under their hiding places hoping to harvest some crumbs from the post-Saddam table.
After the Allied victory in World War II, Sir Winston Churchill wrote a multi-volume history of that epic struggle. For the volume entitled: Their Finest Hour, he stated its theme as: “How the British people held the fort ALONE till those who hitherto had been half blind were half ready.”
Clearly, our so-called allies: the French and the Germans, like instant-Democrat presidential candidate, Wesley Clark, are blinded by ambition. French ambition lusts for a return to the glory of pre-1815 France, but lubricated by Iraqi oil at below-market prices.
Germany’s ambition is nobler. Having twice been on the wrong side of history in the 20th Century, even the leftist Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder understands the need to legitimatize and redeem the image of Germany as a constructive member of the community of freedom-loving nations. To that end, Germany is being of major military help in Afghanistan and, after some arm-twisting by President Bush, Chancellor Schroeder is breaking ranks with the still-blind and still-unready French.
Will the restoration of Iraq and the creation of an island of democracy smack dab in the middle of the Middle East be easy? Of course not. Will the forces of freedom prevail over the forces of darkness and evil? You bet. As my colleague Arnaud de Borchgrave says about Iraq, “There is no exit strategy. And failure is not an option.”
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush are staking everything on doing what they see as the right thing to do. Clearly, they feel the weight of history bearing down on their shoulders. As Mark Twain said, “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
Without question, both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair have astonished the world by their leadership in the war against terror. While some only see Operation Iraqi Freedom as a means of stabilizing world oil prices or as a strategic base for rooting out the terrorists whose sole objective is the destruction of Israel, Bush and Blair are taking a larger world view.
So much so, it seems appropriate to recall portions of a speech Sir Winston Churchill made to Parliament when Hitler’s invasion of France cast the survival of Christian civilization in doubt:
“… If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world can move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”
The events of 9/11 awakened the civilized world to a global war capable of destroying, as Churchill said, “… all that we have known and cared for.”
Today, all Americans should let politics end at the water’s edge and act, in concert, “to move forward into broad, sun-lit uplands.” In fact, we have no other option. And, if we “brace ourselves to our duties,” this will be our finest hour.
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – novels about terrorist attacks on Colorado’s water supply and on the Panama Canal, respectively.
©2003. William Hamilton.