Jewish World Review July 6, 2004 / 17 Tamuz, 5764

Bernadette Malone

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America remains the envy of the world | NOTHING COULD do this American's heart prouder over the Fourth of July weekend than to sit in my poorly air-conditioned apartment and sun myself in the warm glow of the television screen, watching the video footage of prisoner Saddam Hussein testifying in a legitimately free Iraqi courtroom. Think about what this says about America.

Despite appeasement pressure from the corruption-riddled United Nations, the U.S. had the guts to pre-empt the political program of a foreign dictator with a history of using weapons of mass destruction against his own people, who had tried to assassinate one of our Presidents, who repeatedly violated the U.N. cease-fire agreement of 1991, and who enjoyed invading other countries, as well as hosting rogues with anti-U.S. terrorist connections. It's a shame to ding our Revolutionary War ally on our country's birthday, but can you imagine modern-day France doing anything as brave as we did in Iraq?

We also had the guts to keep hunting for Saddam Hussein — and to capture him alive — despite criticism from home and abroad by that time that our invasion of Iraq was not going as planned and that the human and financial costs were too high.

We gently arrested Saddam, humanely detained him, and allowed him to dye his hair and follow a trendy low-carb diet. He returns to the Iraqi stage looking as spiffy as if he had been coiffed by the Fab Five on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." We even taught him to refuse to answer questions without an attorney present, apparently. (Maybe the ACLU visited him in prison?) What would Saddam Hussein have done to George W. Bush had the tables been turned? Fed him to an industrial paper shredder, probably.

The fact that Bush transferred power back to the Iraqis a couple days ahead of schedule last week also makes me very proud to be American. How many other countries invade an enemy nation, clean and polish its silverware, set up a local government of indigenous people, and then voluntarily leave?

Even though the week preceding today's holiday seemed to belong to the miserable Michael Moore and his dark fantasy film, "Fahrenheit 9/11," it still felt great to be an American. In another country — take Cuba, for an example from next door — I might have been forced to actually view and praise "Fahrenheit 9/11." But in America, I am free to deride it without even bothering to see it. At the same time, it's a great compliment to this imperialist pig, lying, cheating government of ours — as Michael Moore portrays it (from what I can tell on the news) — that cinematic criticism of the government is permitted. I am glad Michael Moore and I are fellow countrymen, only because it reminds me of what an elastic nation America is.

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The person responsible for putting me in this uncharacteristically charitable and sunny mood is the Ethiopian taxi driver I had the pleasure of riding with to the airport on Tuesday. He wanted to know every last unflattering rumor and report I had ever heard about Hillary Clinton; he apparently is not a fan.

"In my old country, we could only say nice things about our leaders. It's great to hear the negative stuff," he told me. "It's important that it's published."

Someone please remind me of this in November.

"And I'm used to politicians winning elections with 99 percent of the vote. The first time I saw an American politician lose with 49 percent of the vote, I was astounded! How did he botch that, I wondered?"

It may be tough to remember in the current political climate, when Michael Moore and Saddam Hussein are singing a duet about that "liar" George W. Bush and the tyrannical United States government, but this immigrant cab driver drove it home for me. On its 228th birthday, America remains the envy of the world. Maybe that's why the rest of the world gives us such a hard time.

Comment on JWR contributor Bernadette Malone's column by clicking here.


06/28/04: Felons at your door, courtesy of ACT
06/14/04: Reagan, through the eyes of a 7-year-old
05/24/04: States have the right to not ‘change with the times’
05/10/04: At least we know that in America's military there really is 'on job equality'
05/03/04: Soviet chic is anything but funny
03/24/04: Is March depressing, or is it just me?
03/15/04: Conventional wisdom or not, don't be so quick to rule out Kerry/McCain ticket
03/08/04: Will Vermont town start national annex trend?
01/26/04: Kerry wins debate by being mediocre
01/19/04: "Old style politics" has gotta go?
01/12/04: Prez mocks legal immigrants
01/06/04: New year, but the chattering class' ennui already kicking in
11/10/03: Time for "diversity" for GOPers?
11/03/03: Two cheers for loopy loudmouth Sharpton
10/20/03: And who can blame them?
10/07/03: Irony seems to have been lost on most in ‘leakgate’
09/30/03: Will the Dems finally produce an alpha male before it's time to name a nominee who can scare Bush?
09/23/03: ‘K Street’ will reinforce American cynicism
09/09/03: When real life starts to imitate virtual reality, itís time to reboot

© 2003, Bernadette Malone