"Taking back the
market . . . by force
The economy is doing
fine but the stock market is slumping. So far, the blame has rightly been
placed on corporate corruption, dishonest accounting practices, and some
ill-advised protectionist trade moves by the Bush administration. But
these, it seems, are only partly to blame.
A worrisome USA Today/CNN/
Gallup poll reveals that only 1 in 3 Americans believe the U.S. is now
winning the war on terrorism, with a full half saying the war is at a
stalemate. Compare this with last January, when two-thirds of the country
said the U.S. was winning the war.
Could it be that a lack of decisive
followthrough in the global war on terrorism is the single biggest problem
facing the stock market and the nation today? I believe it is.
has been a big drop in the American spirit. The euphoria surrounding the
successful victory in Afghanistan has given way to a gnawing fear that
Osama bin Laden and his evil followers have survived, regrouped and are
getting ready to hit us again. September 11 may not be the seminal event.
A new calamity may befall us, one that will surely close our businesses,
shut our financial markets, block basic family security, and inflict
unimagined pain on the nation. The down market is a manifestation of the
pained expressions on our faces.
President Bush's speech last Monday
set down the clear democratic-reform principles necessary to change
Palestine from a terrorist safe-harbor into a true member of the family of
nations. He correctly delineated U.S. support for our democratic ally
Israel, and just as clearly assigned the appropriate blame to Yasser
Arafat's piece of the evil axis. He also communicated the principles of
free elections, representative government, and the rule of law to the
other Middle Eastern states that fail on all these counts. Mr. Bush wasn't
only speaking to Iraq, Iran and Syria, but also to Saudi Arabia and
perhaps even Egypt.
But these are just more words in this global and
just war on terror.
The president must now execute and follow through
in support of these fine principles. There can be no hesitation. In
dealing with Israel and the PLA, there can be no return to the
split-the-difference peace processes that have failed completely in the
Even more, Mr. Bush must not allow Saddam Hussein and Osama bin
Laden to remain in play. That they are still around, poised to do
catastrophic mischief, is a huge factor in just how far American
confidence in this war has deteriorated.
To be sure, the greatest
mistake Papa Bush ever made was leaving Saddam Hussein in place. Weakened
or not, he is still there — and Americans have never liked loose ends.
With weapons of mass destruction at his disposal, and through his
financing of terrorism worldwide, Saddam is a dangerous loose
Decisive shock therapy to revive the American spirit would surely
come with a U.S. invasion of Iraq. Why not begin with a large-scale
special-forces commando raid on the Iraqi oil fields? This will send a
shot across Saddam's bow; an electrifying signal to all terrorist nations.
The message will be that the game is up. Surrender now or you will be
crushed in a short while.
A couple of weeks later a final assault on
Baghdad can take place. A small war, to use Wall Street Journal
editorialist Max Boot's lexicon, led by fast-moving special forces and
leather-toughened Marines, and assisted by high-tech precision bombs and
air cover, can get the job done. All-out war mobilization is unnecessary.
Iraq will fall with much less. At the same time, U.S. Special Forces must
conduct a similar sweep to root out bin Laden and the al Qaedas along the
In his key war speeches thus far — the axis of
evil designation before Congress, the first-strike / pre-emption speech at
West Point, and this week's Palestine-directed statement of
institution-building through the principles of freedom — Mr. Bush has kept
democracy and a market economy central to solving this world terrorism
crisis. But statements of principle only go so far. The spirit and
security of the United States now require the instrument of war.
shock therapy of decisive war will elevate the stock market by a couple
thousand points. We will know our businesses will stay open, that our
families will be safe and that our future will be unlimited. The world
will be righted in this life-and-death struggle to preserve our values and
our civilization. But to do all this, we must act.
Lawrence Kudlow is a
nationally syndicated columnist."
Ungekürzt aus: The Washington