As I'm watching evil triumph in places like Burma, Iran, China, Zimbabwe, Cuba, North Korea and most prominently of all, Darfur (in Sudan), I have something to say about what's happened in Iraq the past 15 years or so, especially the last 2. Many of us seem to forget that there is still an unacceptable number of people in the world (around maybe 1.5 billion, maybe a bit more) who live in oppression. Many of these people live in a state of fear and terror almost no one in America (save our immigrants, military personnel and the occasional politician or diplomat) can even begin to imagine. Afghanistan and Iraq were part of this tragic population statistic until recently. It should not be ignored that in places like Burma and Sudan, people leave notes on US consultate gates with messages like "please invade us" or "please speak out for us with no voice". Our liberations of Iraq and Afghanistan, however flawed in the past or now, are inspirations to opressed people around the world. We are the world's most powerful country, most influential culture and most awed and envied. I used to say before Kosovo that we should start acting like it. Kosovo was flawed, but we stood up to the Serbs finally. The war on AIDS, second only to the War on Terrorism, is being fought in a flawed manner as well, and so we must fix this and press on twice as hard. Our words of comfort and hope, our promises of assistance, they've been heard, and believe me, people are taking them to heart and are inspired by them. We cannot fail them. And most of all, our war on terror, despite its often flawed moments, is still a strong message to those around the world who live in fear and under tyranny. So for those who say they opposed the war in Iraq, I realize many of you had honorable intentions and reasons, but I must say strongly that you were wrong. Every moment we allow another regime like Saddam Hussein's to stay in power, we dillute the importance of our power and potential, we blacken our name and we endanger our future. Its not just terrorism, its instability, its mass murder, its mass destruction, its plain right and wrong. We must send the message out loud and clear, today and for a near eternity afterwards, that we can not allow tyranny to stand anymore, not just in the Middle East, but anywhere its allowed to continue its death grip on nations and peoples. I hope Pres. Bush and future leaders will remember this point: because no longer can we create temporary alliances with some of these very regimes we should be opposing (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan). This is aiding and abbetting the enemy, no matter how you slice it and dice it. How can we be liberating Afghans when we coddle the oppressors of the peoples in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan? We can do better than this, and we must. We simply can't tolerate any of these regimes anymore. As such, we can no longer be contained by the old laws of war. Preemptive war and diplomatic endgames (free your people or prepare for the diplomatic isolation/targeted sanctions/strategic bombing/invasion) are the new law of the land. We cannot wait years or decades for a dictator or oppressive group of individuals to hold power and eventually give it up. The call to freedom is here and now, and it must echo until its been heard everywhere. Our allies of the past may not be our allies of the future, though they do not have to be our enemies. They have never conceded to our entire agenda, why should we concede to theirs? We know who is motivated by greed, by insecurity, by jealousy, by fear of being punished themselves for tyranny and oppression, by collusion with the guilty. We also know who has a geniune interest in spreading freedom around the world, and we must work harder to educate and convince those who mean well but who are unsure or misinformed or misled. And so we also must not always think it is military force or nothing at all. We have to vastly improve our diplomatic and economic agencies in how they operate in this fight for freedom. We have to create targeted sanctions, that harm only oppressors and their supporters, rather than the nation and its people. We have to speak out EVERYDAY in as many forums as possible, airing these regimes' dirty laundry, past and present transgressions and ruthless oppression as much as possible. We have to signal everyday, somehow, someway, to the oppressed that we support them and will help them now and in the future to gain freedom. There will never be peace on earth, but there can be a better, brighter and more free world, and now, more than ever, America must find the strength and will to dedicate its resources to this effort. I know Pres. Bush and his administration have made some damning mistakes so far (hasn't everyone?), I know Afghanistan is in deep trouble, Iraq is precarious and terrorism seems to be spiking, rather than decreasing. However, not all of this is the admin's fault, the Democrats fault, the Euro's fault, anyone's fault. It is sometimes events out of our control. This just means we have to learn from the mistakes that are ours twice as quickly and apply those lessons rapidly and seriously. Now is not the time to give up and change direction. Now is not the time to downplay expectations or concede defeat. Now is not the time to go back to the past, it is gone and will never return. Now is not the time to stay in place and wallow. Now is the time to toughen up, look around and learn and march on. I have my issues with his administration, but because of what I've said above, I'm PROUD TO SAY BUSH IN 2004. Please God give this man and his team strength to carry on, intelligence to see through deception and realize danger, insight into what they've done wrong so they can make it right, and courage to do what's right, even when it seems unpopular or wrong.