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Diplomad nails it

As a former expatriate myself, I have an idea as to how Diplomad felt, sitting there on foreign soil, listening to Bush's SOTU address. He sums up in a nutshell how many of us feel about this president:

Let's be blunt. You don't want to be on the wrong side of an American President who has shown he will literally "pull the trigger..."

Amen, brother! That's exactly why I voted for Bush in 2004 after voting against him in 2000. It wasn't because of stem cells or gay marriage (on which I disagree with him), it wasn't even because of taxes and social security (on which I agree), and it certainly wasn't for his mad debating skills or soaring flights of rhetoric (which he lacks.) It was this and this only. Diplomad goes on:

This is a man who is not afraid to draft and push the world's agenda. He had nothing politically to gain by liberating Iraq. He could have followed the tried-and-true tepid measures of the past: more UN resolutions, more "consultations" with the EU and Muslim countries, a bombing raid here and there, etc. Instead he went right for the root of the problem: the existence of Saddam's regime and the climate of fear and oppression that ruled Iraq. On elections in Iraq he could have stalled and postponed and begged for help: instead he put his faith in the US military's ability to deliver on security and in the people of Iraq's desire for freedom. On Afghanistan, he could have limited himself to some ineffectual missile strikes, some UN resolutions, an appeal for the arrest and trial of the Al Qaeda thugs. No. He gambled his Presidency on removing the Taliban, crushing Al Qaeda, and moving Afghanistan towards democracy. On the Palestinian question, he could have followed the failed policies of the past: schmooze with Arafat, give him money, pretend that he didn't control the "radical" elements, consult with the EU, keep sending special envoys hither and yon, etc. No. Bush cut off Arafat, refused to deal with the Palestinian authority until they held free elections, and now we have a chance, more than ever before, for a solution.

Well said. I could never have phrased it so compellingly, but these were the thoughts in my head as I broke with my own 16-year tradition of voting for third-party candidates. But it's not a tradition I regret breaking. Indeed, I'm as proud of this vote as any I've ever cast.