Every word in a State of the Union Address is carefully considered. President Bush did not ad lib any part of the 2002 Address. So we can be sure that he intended for North Korea, Iran and Iraq to feel threatened by his words.
There are many nations that provide active support to terrorists in a variety of ways. These include moral support, financial aid, training, intelligence, weapons, and safe havens. There are at least forty nations that would qualify as terrorist nations if the definition included these activities.
Then why did President Bush single out these three nations, describing them in a term harking back to World War II, by saying they "...constitute an axis of evil?"
The three nations Bush listed have little in common. North Korea is an Asian Communist nation; Iraq and Iran are Arab Islamic states. Iraq’s government is a secular Islamic government run by a dictator; Iran’s is a religious Islamic state run by fanatical old men. The only thing Iran and Iraq agree upon is their absolute hatred for one another.
The tie that binds these disparate states together is their inclusion on our nation’s hit list. The reason they achieved this status is found in the president’s words when he said, "Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction."
Our government is signaling a shift in emphasis from going after terrorists and their training camps to dealing with nations that have the ability to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians at a time. I won’t say that this emphasis is overdue, because I don’t have access to the information that the president uses to order his priorities. I will say that I welcome this shift.
"But aren’t you a religious man, a minister? How can you approve of making war on other nations before they attack us?" My answer is in three parts.
First, the Bible doesn’t say that nations should not go to war. In fact, there are places where God commands war to punish evil nations or to right wrongs. There are liberal theologians who argue that all violence is wrong, that war can never be justified. Due to space limitations, my answer to these people must be short: "Read your Bible."
Second, it is very possible that these nations have already attacked us. Again, I don’t have access to the White House intelligence briefings (I didn’t renew my subscription), but I wouldn’t be surprised if the president had evidence proving the complicity of these three evil nations in the September 11 attacks or other terrorist activities. I say this because I have found our new president to be a man who gathers the facts before he talks. I don’t believe he would highlight these nations without hard evidence, which may go beyond the fact that they threaten us with weapons of mass destruction.
The third reason I would support military action against the Evil Triplets is found in the doctrine of preemptive action. In a nutshell, we must answer this question with regard to nations that threaten ours: Are we being "fair" if we wait for madmen to attack us before we take action, or is that course suicidal? I submit that waiting is not only suicidal, it is stupid. Thank God we don’t have stupid people running our nation today.
The problem is that we cannot depend on the so-called "community of nations" to deal with North Korea, Iran and Iraq. The United Nations would debate and argue for years while hundreds of thousands perished. Communist China would veto any Security Council resolution against their client state, North Korea. The Arab nations would threaten to withhold oil from the world if the United Nations took any military action against Iran and Iraq. Yet these nations pose a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States and its citizens.
Listen to the words of the president: "Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September 11. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens. Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom. Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax and nerve gas and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens, leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children."
"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic."
The three nations President Bush targeted are linked to the terrorists in Afghanistan. These groups have trained tens of thousands of killers who are at work today in at least sixty countries. Our troops in Afghanistan found "...diagrams of American nuclear power plants and public water facilities, detailed instructions for making chemical weapons, surveillance maps of American cities and thorough descriptions of landmarks in America and throughout the world." The Evil Triplets have the ability to supply these cowards with what they most desire - weapons capable of killing hundreds of thousands of men, women and children at a time. We cannot allow that to happen.
As we face this threat we can be sure of two things. President Bush will not act in haste or without serious deliberation. He will give these three rogue nations the same opportunity he gave the Taliban regime. As you read this, quiet back door negotiations are ongoing to persuade these terrorist states to join the family of civilized nations by giving up their weapons of mass destruction.
We can also be certain that if these evil nations fail to comply with our just demands, they will suffer the same fate as the Taliban. With or without a coalition, our president will do what is necessary to protect this nation. He has made his position clear: "I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons." Amen, Mr. President.