The twenty-first century seems to be one of follow-through on failed actions of twentieth-century Presidents of the United States. Of course we all know about President George Walker (Dubya) Bush’s clean-up in Aisle-Iraq, aiming to finish off what the United Nations required President George Herbert Walker Bush (41) to leave alone and festering more than a decade before. And then there has been his task of cleaning up Afghanistan, where the Taliban had allowed al Qaeda to base so much of their operation. Dubya is going to be at these particular tasks for the rest of his term in office, and his successor will also have a lot of mucking out to do in those Augean Stables.
Add to that, in Africa our current president “has tripled direct humanitarian and development aid to the world's most impoverished continent since taking office and recently vowed to double that increased amount by 2010 -- to nearly $9 billion,” according to the Washington Post. The most interesting aspect of this is that he has limited this to countries which have demonstrated the willingness and ability to become accountable, to clear out corruption, and to apply the aid to the problems, and not to the pockets of the powerful. It is doing some real good. According to those cited in the Post, Bush’s efforts have “play[ed] a role in ending deadly conflicts in Liberia, the Congo and other parts of Sudan [other than Darfur, that is -- the rather conspicuous remaining weakness in that region. -rk]. Meanwhile, Bush has overseen a steady rise in U.S. trade with Africa, which has doubled since 2001.”
But, has anybody noticed that it’s not just Dubya doing the deep-cleaning, now? Mogadishu -- long an international embarrassment to President Clinton for his having ordered our troops to cut and run when 18 good soldiers were killed fighting off thousands of armed Islamist thugs and rioters -- is now emptied of Islamists, and the rest of Somalia is following suit. The lawful Somali government recently organized its military, teamed up with its neighbors from Ethiopia (who had suffered much, also, at the hands of al Qaeda’s followers), and ran the oppressive, murderous super-sharia-spreading goons out of the country. The Islamists have, thus far, not been made welcome in nearby Djibouti, either*. Is this the first sign of a river at last diverted through the stables? One can only hope.
Naturally, the far left and the United Nations (or is that redundant?) are upset by the direction things seem to be taking against fanatic and/or despotic, savage killers. I can not help but wonder why it is that Kofi Annan and several members of America’s so-called “reality-based community” -- the one which says conservatives are heartless -- will scream bloody murder about the “cruel and inhumane” treatment and “hurried” execution of Saddam Hussein, about soldiers forcing Islamists -- who had killed or subjugated thousands upon thousands of Somalis and Ethiopians -- to flee that land, and yet will make nary a peep against actual bloody murder of innocent women and children in Kurdish territories, in Mogadishu, in Talibanistan, and other lands?
As conditions begin to improve for the poor, women, and children in many parts of the world, including Kurdish Iraq, the formerly-drained swamps of southern Iraq, southern Afghanistan, and even our own country (unsurprising to those who pay attention to more than just the network news), the enemies of freedom, the irrational Left, continue their efforts to undermine these small, spectacular successes. It is as though they were bringing in swine to make the stables that much harder to clean.
So, all I can hope, in this new year in this young century, is that the good man who is in our nation’s highest office does not surrender to weariness in his task, and that, over the coming year, the good work he has begun, that others are now also undertaking, will not be undone by the hindquarters of more horses. I realize it is probably too great a hope, but that is, after all, what new years’ aspirations are supposed to be about. As Robert Browning once said, “Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?”
*Post-print edition: add Kenya to the list of jihad-inhospitable places (HT: lgf).
Captain's Quarters: An Overlooked Legacy?