Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Left isn't Right

Foreword - This is not my work, but rather the writing of a contemporary of mine, Jimmy Cash, who stayed on active duty. It is worth reading. Take the time and read it. Hap


Due to the thunderous applause that I received from the far-left over the "I Am Tired" letter written by one of our troops in Iraq, I thought it prudent to follow up with one last attempt to be very specific about what I have observed and actually personally encountered during my 36 years of service to this Great Country. Unlike Bob McClellan, I will not continue to whine, twist and degrade our country's leaders on a weekly basis. Instead, this will be a one time input attempting to reach some of those who are confused by McClellan and his ilk's unethical rantings and give some insight through my personal experience as a professional military officer over the years.

These examples are but a few. In real life there were many more which space and time will not allow.

As a young fighter pilot, flying F-4s in Vietnam, I was stopped in my tracks by the decisions made by Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara. I was young and naive, but even then I knew their daily interference was wrong and would not allow us to win this thing and go home. Decisions like not allowing us to strike enemy aircraft while still on the ground, keeping real targets off the target list, and allowing us to strike only rusted-out trucks made us basically a toothpick factory. However, the big one for me came the day I saw the President Lyndon Johnson on television, forcefully lying to the American people. I'll never forget the language, "I want to assure the American people that the United States of America has never, and will never, bomb or use force inside the borders of Cambodia".! On and on he disavowed the reports that this was happening. I was amazed. Guess where I had put several F-4 loads of 750 pound general purpose bombs every day for the past five days. You guessed it, Cambodia!!! So much for Mr. Johnson.

The only question in my mind was simply, "Was it just Johnson or was it the methodology of a particular political party? "

I decided to delay answering that question until more experience was gained.

Years passed, and I ignored politics as much as possible, as a good military man should.

Then came Jimmy Carter.

Our young people don't remember 18% interest rates and 18% inflation, but I'll bet someone in your family does. That is one really bad thing Carter did for our country, but it is not the worst.

During this period, I was an F-15 Squadron Commander, located at Langley AFB, VA. Jimmy Carter and his democratic party stopped spare parts procurement for almost every weapon system in our military, and diverted the funds to social programs. The F-15 was brand new at the time with leading edge technology designed to provide air superiority anywhere in the world on a moments notice. That was my job. I loved it, but guess what? In a two year period from 1979 to 1981, there was not one day when more that one-third of my assigned aircraft were flyable. It is amazing the lengths we went to in those days, cannibalizing parts, expending twice the time and energy to fix every little item, and still two-thirds of the birds were always broken because of no spare parts.

Had this country faced a really serious military threat during that time frame, only Montana Hunters could have saved us.

The military had some equipment, but it was all broken.

Do you want to know the really bad part for me and the young fighter pilots working for me?

Our flying sortie rate was so low that pilot proficiency dropped to dangerous levels. The accident rate tripled. That obviously was totally unacceptable, as we were losing expensive airplanes and highly trained young pilots at a rate comparable to losses seen in actual combat.

All of a sudden, even a Texas Aggie like me began to see a trend.

Forward a few years to 1986. I am an F-16 Wing Commander at MacDill AFB, Florida, and Ronald Regan is president. His change in attitude and policy toward the military had time to fix the spare parts problem. We were flying 26,000 flying sorties per year ou! t of MacDill AFB, my aircraft fully mission capable rate (FMC) was above 90%, the aircraft accident rate was below 1.75 per hundred thousand flying hours, fighter pilots were flying and proficiency levels were at an all time high. The United States Air Force was ready to defend this Wonderful Country.

Proof of the pudding is simple.

Look what the USAF, and the military in general, accomplished in Iraq during Desert Storm. And, they did it in less than 100 hours.

Yeah, at this point I was starting to realize there was a difference in mentality between Democrats and Republicans, or should I say, the Right and the Left. 

Then, came everyone's favorite---Bill Clinton. If there ever was! an individual 180 degrees out of sync with the ideals and the values of the US military, it was Clinton. He was a known draft dodger, military hating, self absorbed, unspeakingly shameless and immoral individual, who the Left managed to elect President of the United States of America. Clinton's antics in the White House would have brought court martial, conviction, and Dishonorable Discharge had he been a military member. We still suffer oral sex on school buses, because the President told the world it wasn't real sex, and some of our children believed him.

It took a lot of years, but now I became certain.

There is a big difference in the right and the left on all fronts, and for the first time I started feeling angry and shamed that the majority of the American people were actually willing to vote for such an individual.  Sometimes, an abstract such as the following tells the story in very simple terms: Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Nancy Pelosi, Barbra Boxer, John Kerry, Benedict Arnold, and the list goes on. America, wake up.

Giving in to the likes of these people and Abraham Lincoln's prediction of destruction from within just may come true.

There is not a country in the world that can be considered a conventional military threat to the United States today.

However, this country faces a new kind of threat---one that will not go away. It is a threat even more serious that WWII, because money, industry and technology will not defeat it. It is a threat of defeat from within. It is a threat of a faltering economy because of a lack of resources, or! the even the simple threat of such a loss brought on by te rrorism. It is a threat created by the American people trusting the inept. It is a threat created by the people wanting change, and perilously believing that the left can successfully deliver that change.

Have you seen anything from the left that remotely resembles an answer to the Iraq situation?

Have you seen anything more than continued Bush-Bashing? Is that an answer?

If there was ever a need for a strong, well trained military, it is now.

THE LEFT HAS HISTORICALLY DISMANTLED OUR MILITARY IN THE NAME OF REDISTRUBITION OF WEALTH FAVORING SOCIAL PROGRAMS. We just cannot afford to let that happen now. If we do, the entire country will be bowing to the east several times a day within the next 50 years, maybe sooner. 

Now a final thought meant to upset as many as possible on the far-left. As you might guess, I don't believe in political correctness. So, let's look at the facts, not far-left rhetoric attempting to empower the democratic party. Initially, I was not a George Bush fan. I am not even a Republican. I normally vote Republican, because of my total despise of Communism, Socialism and the far-left in this country. I am a Conservative.

However, during his watch, I feel President Bush just happened to stumble upon the leading edge of the greatest threat this country has ever faced. Mistakes have been made, because of the newness of the threat. Overall, the President has done a superb job dealing the threat, and at the same time held off the constant ranting, raving, deceitful and malicious escapades of the far-left attempting to regain political power. I! F THERE WAS EVER A TIME THE COUNTRY NEEDS TO COME TOGETHER AND BACK OUR PRESIDENT, IT IS RIGHT NOW. WITHOUT CONCENSUS WE ARE EMPOWERING THE TERRORIST!!!!

The far-left is totally absorbed with the power struggle and regaining control of congress. They could care less about defeating the threat. It literally disgusts me to hear the constant disagreement with everything the President tries to do, all in the name of trying to make him look bad to the voters. Unfortunately, by the time the American people really appreciate how bad the far-left really is, it may too late. 

What are the real facts?

On the home front this country's economy is the strongest that it has been in my lifetime. Interest rates are as low as they we! re when I was in high school forty years ago. Inflation does not exist for all practical purposes. For you youngsters, please remember the Jimmy Carter comments? The Dow is approaching 13,000. Unemployment is nonexistent. Wages are at an all time high. Home ownership is at an all time high. Taxes have been lowered to an almost acceptable level. Because of the surging economy the deficient is under control and projected to go away far ahead of schedule. The far-left is rich beyond its wildest dreams, so Mr. President when are you going to "fix" all these domestic problems? Bob and George, give me a break!!!!  On the war front this country has not! been touched since 2001.

I remember being part of a seminar at the USAF War College in 1983 discussing the terrorist threat. There were some good minds at that table and a lot of disagreement. However, one common thought was that the US would be hit within the next five years. Answers to the terrorist threat were just as hard to come by then as they are now. Well, it took a little longer than the projection, but the attack occurred. For an old military guy like me, the main point here is that it has not happened again. We have suckered the bad guys into entering the fight somewhere other than in our country.

To hell with political correctness.

The President can't say this, but I sure can. I smile every morning when I get up and realize that one of our great cities has not been blown away. And, there is zero doubt in my mind that if we pull out of Iraq prematurely, that will happen within a short period of time after our departure.

I don't care what you might think of President Bush personally. He has done the best he can with what he has, and this country is not smoking because of it. So, back off McLean and McClellan.

You honestly don't have a clue about what you are talking about. Call me, and I will tell you what I really think. 

I realize there are different points of view on war, and I do not believe the meek will inherit the earth, at least not in the next few hundred years. To those like McClellan, McLean, poor Eve Kyes and Sinowa Cruz let me say, "This is a strong country!!! " It has! survived the uneducated thinking of the far-left before, and I'll just bet it will again.

Regardless of who is President, the people will not tolerate mass explosions on a daily basis, as our good friends in Israel have been forced to do. To protect that position of power, even Hillary will be forced to become a true hawk. To guarantee a few more votes Ted Kennedy may be forced to begin supporting a strong military. One more attack on America might even wipe the giddy, 'I-am-finally-somebody' grin from Nancy Pelosi's face, and make her realize that is not about votes and personal power.


Jimmy L. Cash, Brig. Gen., USAF, Retired

Monday, February 19, 2007

Anglican Communion meeting in Tanzania

The leaders of the Anglican Communion met in Tanzania 12 - 19 February 2007. The primary purpose of the meeting was to decide what to do with the apostates in the “Developed Countries”, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and most troubling, the United Kingdom, England in particular.

While the Anglican Church was originally known as the Church of England, it is national in nature, with each country having (in the old days) a single national church. Each country sent representatives, its highest ranking priest a Bishop, known as a Primate, to the annual meetings of the Church in general. With no real central authority, all looked to the head of the Church in England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the spiritual leader.

From the 1960s on, the Epsicopal Church in the United States became more and more liberal at the upper levels as it was taken over by radical feminists and homosexuals. The membership, always very conservative, left in droves. The church is now roughly 10 percent of its 1967 membership count. As the liturgy changed to accommodate the feminist - homosexual - liberal - anti-American agenda, membership plummeted. Most left the church for "independent" religion, that is they did not affliate with any church. Others left and either established new chuches mirroring the old PECUSA, Protestant Epsicopal Church of the United States, or joined those who had. These are known as the continuing church. Foreigners find this to be splintering. Members of the continuing church are not concerned. They reject compromise, pointing out the purple shirts compromises got the ECUSA (now TEC) where it is. The continuing church is growing at about 15 percent per year, while the TEC is in freefall.

While church membership is in decline in the developed countries, it is rapidly rising in the developing countries. Membership in places like Africa far outnumber membership in the developed countries. While the majority of money comes from the developed countries, that is far less important to the Anglicans than to Roman Catholics. The Anglican Church is often referred to as the home of the church mice. Like the US Marines, they have done so much with so little, they think they can do anything with nothing.

The current problem is that the developed countries have turned their back on the entire Anglican Motto – Scripture – Reason – Tradition. They no longer look to the Bible as the Word of God; they accept, nay, embrace homosexuality and other activities commonly thought to be deviate; they do not support their nation states as patriots; they look to the state for handouts and support national socialism; they no longer follow the liturgical practices of the past. In short, they have turned their backs on everything that made winners chose the Anglican Way in the past.

We have prayed that the Primates listen to the Holy Ghost, follow His direction and not get in His way. We asked that they listen to the words of our Lord when He said, as recorded by Saint Matthew, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.“

For too long have the Bishops valued collegiality above God’s will. We asked the Primates as they meet consider what Jesus asked of us, Do not block God, but rather follow Him, Battle Evil; Do Good.

What has come out of Tanzania? Nothing. As a "Proud Texan" said, "Sadly I read this as 'Please comply with the Winsor report and we really, really, really mean it this time, if you don't we're going to send you a letter with all sorts of bad grammar.' My guess is that the deadline will come and go with all sorts of meaningless shuffling of feet."

Jesus calls us to action, not collegiality. Once again, it seems the church has been betrayed by the purple shirts who value collegiality above God’s will.

Is there any wonder bishops are less trusted than used car salesmen?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

One voice – No Compromise - The Anglican Republic

One voice – No Compromise - The Anglican Republic
When the United States formed, the Church of England then operating in the country re-formed as the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States. Continuing the model of the Church of England, each country where this form of Christianity spread formed its own national church, each under the direction and leadership of a single bishop or primate. All the national churches look to the Archbishop of Canterbury as the symbolic head of the worldwide church. Unlike the Roman Catholic church, the Archbishop of Canterbury is not the monarch of the church, nor does anyone think he is infallible. All of the national churches form the Anglican Communion, with, in theory, all subscribing to the same Articles of Religion found in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and its predecessors.

Never a very large church, the PECUSA nonetheless has provided 35 percent of our country’s Presidents and 40 percent of its military flag officers.

The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States eventually dropped the Protestant part and became just The Episcopal Church of the United States. It has now dropped its national identity, along with a lot more, and is now just The Episcopal Church, or TEC.

Over the past 30 years the now TEC has become less and less Bible oriented; its theology can no longer be found in the Bible. As the various dioceses elected apostates as bishops, membership dropped. With the election of a practicing homosexual adulterer as a bishop and the election of a woman who cannot bring herself to refer to Jesus as the Son of God, the one time important church has dropped to less than ten percent of its former size.

With bishops leading the church to hell, valuing collegiality over God’s Word, the people began to see the problem. Over time many people have left the PECUSA/ECUSA/TEC and formed new churches where they could practice their religion without fear of apostasy. The new churches are known as the continuing church. The continuing church is comprised of many splinter groups. They are often derided for not being willing to come together. Those from whom the derision arises actually mean not willing to compromise and band together.

Most of the continuing churches saw what compromise brought and who brought it. Bishops, bishops wearing purple shirts and sporting spade tipped tails. There are differences in approaches, not so much in theology, but certainly approaches. No one should compromise, yet we should not let our differences override our natural ties through our allegiance to God, His Son, the Holy Ghost and our Anglican form of religion.

We need to maintain our uniqueness. Yet, to have an effective voice in the Anglican Communion there needs to be one voice for the United States’ Anglican Churches.

There is a solution – the United Anglican Republic.

The problems facing the United States’ Anglican Churches are almost identical to those facing our young nation at its founding. So is the solution:

Hold a Constitutional Convention
Each national church (APA, REC, UEC, etc.) to send three delegates, a Bishop, a Priest and a Beadle
Form a list of beliefs and rules common to all
Number the list
Elect a Presiding Bishop from among the Bishops present
Period of office – Four years
One term only
The next Bishop cannot be drawn from the same national church
Send the Presiding Bishop to the Primate meetings

This will give us a single voice and there will be no compromise.

One voice – No Compromise

Monday, February 12, 2007

Always have, always will

Sunday, January 28, 2007 

Since I was otherwise occupied as a POW in Hanoi and wasn't able to observe firsthand, I suppose it was a '60s thing -- when everybody who was anybody was or deeply aspired to be a victim. And, later, when the soldiers who'd fought valiantly in a war they actually won handily en route to defeating an entire evil empire demanded the same respect given every other element in society -- deserving or not -- they were accorded their own category of victimhood and enshrined in the most out-of-sight, obscure memorial in Washington, D.C.

The re-writing of history to correct the many historical perversions has been very slow in coming.

I remember writing one of my first Op/Eds about the Vietnam "Wall, " which reminded me then of a big hole in the ground or a large open mouth? la a contemporary actress/ally of our enemy. But it was a nice gesture. Although it tended to patronize the suddenly glamorous former "baby killers, " most of our contemporaries in military service shrugged it off as a belated, sort-of thanks from a grateful nation.

From my first days in the military, I was taught that our job was to serve; there would be tough times but keep a stiff upper lip and press on. And enjoy the good times and camaraderie that military life -- almost exclusively -- engenders. Most movies back then had male heroes who sucked up adversity and pressed on. Mothers encouraged their daughters to marry the strong, silent types -- like John Wayne. 

On my return in 1973, being greeted by crowds and overuse of the sobriquet "hero" was embarrassing and confusing. The words and articles written about our incarceration in the filthy, miserable dungeons of communist Vietnam were laced with the term "heroes" -- and there were, in fact, a few of those. But it became apparent, early on, that by hero the writers and speakers and extollers usually meant victim -- as in you poor guys. There was obviously a confusion of terminology! In fact, the roles had been reversed.  At Home, the Same Spin 

During my entire time in the infamous Hanoi Hilton POW compound, I felt like Winston Smith in Orwell's 1984 as the North Vietnamese propagandists talked about their glowing victories and mocked American efforts as the ignominious defeats of the U. S. aggressors and their lackeys. Now that I was home, I began to feel that propagandists in our country had developed their own strain of Newspeak to justify their weak arguments.

When we POWs were released in February 1973 after the crushing B-52 raids and crippling of North Vietnamese commerce, I thought we'd won. Imagine my surprise when many Americans apparently indoctrinated by academia and a powerful media seemed to think we'd been routed. 

Fast forward to 2007. Reading the generally unbelievable mainstream media, one would suspect that unemployed communist propagandists had found a new home -- as journalists. Their endless agonizing over American losses omits any mention of the good things that are happening throughout the Middle East or even the crippling losses of the other side! Embedded in the safe Green Zone, reporters write damning articles that cannot be corroborated.

I'm almost glad this is happening because I can now see with my own eyes what transpired here in the 1960s while I read between the lines in Vietnam. From the condescending words used to describe the fighting forces, to outright exaggerations and lies, efforts are made to transform our servicemen into "victims. " 

Regardless of how it started, the assault on America by our own tenured, unassailable academy, by our own "free" press and politicians for personal gain is undone by e-mails from actual soldiers and Marines in harm's way. But the true story usually fails to gain traction.  It's much easier to manufacture hand-wringing bad news to weep and wail and whine about our valiant troops/victims than it is to find something interesting to report about our successes. Call it the Dan Rather/Jayson Blair School of Journalistic Integrity -- it has a deleterious effect on those who never cross-check the stories. It's a good reason that polls can swing up and down by 10 percentage points on the basis of an unreliable but sensational story. 

Military Doesn't Need Sympathy - Our armed forces are not victims. They are not in Iraq because they're dumb. They are performing selfless acts on behalf of all Americans, and they don't need sympathy. That, simply, is what they do. Proudly. And justifiably so.  Always have, always will.  It's something the Hate America crowd will never understand. Frankly, most of those serving don't care what their de facto domestic enemies think of them. But, if those ungrateful Americans ever need help, their armed forces will be there serving proudly.

A Richmond resident, retired Navy commander and attack pilot Paul Galanti was a prisoner of war in Vietnam from 1966 until 1973. He is currently the chairman of the Board of Veterans Services for the commonwealth. His Commentary Columns regarding veterans appear regularly on the Back Fence.

Running as a national past time for our civilian government

'The Last Helicopter'

By AMIR TAHERI Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2006; Page A18

Hassan Abbasi has a dream -- a helicopter doing an arabesque in cloudy skies to avoid being shot at from the ground. On board are the last of the "fleeing Americans, " forced out of the Dar al-Islam (The Abode of Islam) by "the Army of Muhammad. " Presented by his friends as "The Dr. Kissinger of Islam, " Mr. Abbasi is "professor of strategy" at the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guard Corps University and, according to Tehran sources, the principal foreign policy voice in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's new radical administration.

For the past several weeks Mr. Abbasi has been addressing crowds of Guard and Baseej Mustadafin (Mobilization of the Dispossessed) officers in Tehran with a simple theme: The U. S. does not have the stomach for a long conflict and will soon revert to its traditional policy of "running away, " leaving Afghanistan and Iraq, indeed the whole of the Middle East, to be reshaped by Iran and its regional allies.

To hear Mr. Abbasi tell it the entire recent history of the U. S. could be narrated with the help of the image of "the last helicopter. " It was that image in Saigon that concluded the Vietnam War under Gerald Ford. Jimmy Carter had five helicopters fleeing from the Iranian desert, leaving behind the charred corpses of eight American soldiers. Under Ronald Reagan the helicopters carried the bodies of 241 Marines murdered in their sleep in a Hezbollah suicide attack. Under the first President Bush, the helicopter flew from Safwan, in southern Iraq, with Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf aboard, leaving behind Saddam Hussein's generals, who could not believe why they had been allowed live to fight their domestic foes, and America, another day. Bill Clinton's helicopter was a Black Hawk, downed in Mogadishu and delivering 16 American soldiers into the hands of a murderous crowd.

According to this theory, President George W. Bush is an "aberration, " a leader out of sync with his nation's character and no more than a brief nightmare for those who oppose the creation of an "American Middle East. " Messrs. Abbasi and Ahmadinejad have concluded that there will be no helicopter as long as George W. Bush is in the White House. But they believe that whoever succeeds him, Democrat or Republican, will revive the helicopter image to extricate the U. S. from a complex situation that few Americans appear to understand.

Mr. Ahmadinejad's defiant rhetoric is based on a strategy known in Middle Eastern capitals as "waiting Bush out. " "We are sure the U. S. will return to saner policies, " says Manuchehr Motakki, Iran's new Foreign Minister.

Mr. Ahmadinejad believes that the world is heading for a clash of civilizations with the Middle East as the main battlefield. In that clash Iran will lead the Muslim world against the "Crusader-Zionist camp" led by America. Mr. Bush might have led the U. S. into "a brief moment of triumph. " But the U. S. is a "sunset" (ofuli) power while Iran is a sunrise (tolu'ee) one and, once Mr. Bush is gone, a future president would admit defeat and order a retreat as all of Mr. Bush's predecessors have done since Jimmy Carter.

Mr. Ahmadinejad also notes that Iran has just "reached the Mediterranean" thanks to its strong presence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. He used that message to convince Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to adopt a defiant position vis-à-vis the U. N. investigation of the murder of Rafiq Hariri, a former prime minister of Lebanon. His argument was that once Mr. Bush is gone, the U. N., too, will revert to its traditional lethargy. "They can pass resolutions until they are blue in the face, " Mr. Ahmadinejad told a gathering of Hezbollah, Hamas and other radical Arab leaders in Tehran last month.

According to sources in Tehran and Damascus, Mr. Assad had pondered the option of "doing a Gadhafi" by toning down his regime's anti-American posture. Since last February, however, he has revived Syria's militant rhetoric and dismissed those who advocated a rapprochement with Washington. Iran has rewarded him with a set of cut-price oil, soft loans and grants totaling $1.2 billion. In response Syria has increased its support for terrorists going to fight in Iraq and revived its network of agents in Lebanon, in a bid to frustrate that country's democratic ambitions.

It is not only in Tehran and Damascus that the game of "waiting Bush out" is played with determination. In recent visits to several regional capitals, this writer was struck by the popularity of this new game from Islamabad to Rabat. The general assumption is that Mr. Bush's plan to help democratize the heartland of Islam is fading under an avalanche of partisan attacks inside the U. S. The effect of this assumption can be witnessed everywhere.

In Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf has shelved his plan, forged under pressure from Washington, to foster a popular front to fight terrorism by lifting restrictions against the country's major political parties and allowing their exiled leaders to return. There is every indication that next year's elections will be choreographed to prevent the emergence of an effective opposition. In Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, arguably the most pro-American leader in the region, is cautiously shaping his post-Bush strategy by courting Tehran and playing the Pushtun ethnic card against his rivals.

In Turkey, the "moderate" Islamist government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is slowly but surely putting the democratization process into reverse gear. With the post-Bush era in mind, Mr. Erdogan has started a purge of the judiciary and a transfer of religious endowments to sections of the private sector controlled by his party's supporters. There are fears that next year's general election would not take place on a level playing field.

Even in Iraq the sentiment that the U. S. will not remain as committed as it has been under Mr. Bush is producing strange results. While Shiite politicians are rushing to Tehran to seek a reinsurance policy, some Sunni leaders are having second thoughts about their decision to join the democratization process. "What happens after Bush? " demands Salih al-Mutlak, a rising star of Iraqi Sunni leaders. The Iraqi Kurds have clearly decided to slow down all measures that would bind them closer to the Iraqi state. Again, they claim that they have to "take precautions in case the Americans run away. "

There are more signs that the initial excitement created by Mr. Bush's democratization project may be on the wane. Saudi Arabia has put its national dialogue program on hold and has decided to focus on economic rather than political reform. In Bahrain, too, the political reform machine has been put into rear-gear, while in Qatar all talk of a new democratic constitution to set up a constitutional monarchy has subsided. In Jordan the security services are making a spectacular comeback, putting an end to a brief moment of hopes for reform. As for Egypt, Hosni Mubarak has decided to indefinitely postpone local elections, a clear sign that the Bush-inspired scenario is in trouble. Tunisia and Morocco, too, have joined the game by stopping much-advertised reform projects while Islamist radicals are regrouping and testing the waters at all levels.

But how valid is the assumption that Mr. Bush is an aberration and that his successor will "run away"? It was to find answers that this writer spent several days in the U. S., especially Washington and New York, meeting ordinary Americans and senior leaders, including potential presidential candidates from both parties. While Mr. Bush's approval ratings, now in free fall, and the increasingly bitter American debate on Iraq may lend some credence to the "helicopter" theory, I found no evidence that anyone in the American leadership elite supported a cut-and-run strategy.

The reason was that almost all realized that the 9/11 attacks have changed the way most Americans see the world and their own place in it. Running away from Saigon, the Iranian desert, Beirut, Safwan and Mogadishu was not hard to sell to the average American, because he was sure that the story would end there; the enemies left behind would not pursue their campaign within the U. S. itself. The enemies that America is now facing in the jihadist archipelago, however, are dedicated to the destruction of the U. S. as the world knows it today.

Those who have based their strategy on waiting Mr. Bush out may find to their cost that they have, once again, misread not only American politics but the realities of a world far more complex than it was even a decade ago. Mr. Bush may be a uniquely decisive, some might say reckless, leader. But a visitor to the U. S. soon finds out that he represents the American mood much more than the polls suggest.

Mr. Taheri is author of "L'Irak: Le Dessous Des Cartes" (Editions Complexe, 2002).