Victor Hanson wants the President to cross the Rubicon:
George Bush also should begin addressing his most venomous critics at home, by condemning their current extremism. He must explain to the nation how a radical, vicious Left has more or less gotten a free pass in its rhetoric of hate, and has now passed the limits of accepted debate.
In the last six months we have heard from various demagogues — though they are recognized as such due to their prominence in the media — that we were waging nuclear war in Iraq (Cindy Sheehan), that there was cannibalism in New Orleans (Randall Robinson), that George Bush and Dick Cheney should be shot (the novelist Jane Smiley) or executed (Al Franken). Alfred Knopf has published a book about the theoretical assassination of the president, and the Nazi slur is now commonplace in Democratic circles, where a Senator Dick Durbin or Ted Kennedy slanders American soldiers as akin to either Saddam’s torturers or even Nazis and Stalinists. The case needs to be made that we are seeing a new paranoid style — but from the Left, whose opponents are not to be out-argued, but rather deemed worthy of death or demonization as Nazis. The recent eclipse of George Galloway — due in no large part to Christopher Hitchens’ lonely and underappreciated pursuit of his perfidy — reminds us how hard these reprobates finally will fall.
All of these issues are interrelated. If the president can win the hearts and minds of the American people on one theme, the others will fall into play. The more the president talks of principle and values, the more he can do so with zeal, and yes, real passion and occasional anger.
President Bush needs to stand up on this war and defend it as the just and good war it is. Just as important, he has to stop treating his most extreme anti-war opponents as if they deserve respect. They deserve only comtempt. Go after their positions. Remind the American people of who they stand with. Highlight who we stand with and what they try to build with our help. Remind our people of the soldiers and Marines who have given their lives as heroes so that others might live free and so that we might live in safety. Proudly proclaim that we are on the right side of history and that we must win this war. Don't be ashamed of being right! To Hell with Wilson and the media that pretends he tells the truth.
I think we have enough momentum to win the campaign in Iraq even if we avoid a discussion and neglect to confront the people who would side with jihadis and help them defeat us. But this war is more than Iraq or Afghanistan. We have much to do before we can rest and set down the burden of war.
Northern Italy calls, Mr. President. Lead our country to victory.
UPDATE: Hayes also calls for going after the war's opponents:
Of course, nothing is more important than winning on the ground in Iraq. Demonstrating that we are killing terrorists and making steady progress on the political front will do much to blunt the criticism of the war. But if the White House refuses to challenge its critics, and refuses to explain in detail why Iraq is the central front in the war on terror, and refuses to discuss the flawed intelligence on Iraqi WMD, and refuses to use its tremendous power to remind Americans that Saddam Hussein was, in fact, a threat, then it risks losing the support of those Americans who continue to believe that the Iraq war, despite all of its many costs in blood and money, was worth it.
In the torrent of nitpicking criticism and defeatism, it is no surprise that a public that has not been led in this war has gone wobbly on why we are fighting. Only a minority think overthrowing Saddam was a good idea. We can still draw comfort from the fact that a majority still want to win since we are fighting, but this resolve will erode as well in the face of our media's coverage if the President does not proudly stand as the leader of a just war fought to protect our future.