Doubts are growing by the hour, and for good reason. Yesterday, Sen. Clinton delivered a major policy address in Washington in which she stated categorically that "we cannot win" in Iraq and that she will order a "swift" withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2009. This is absolute nonsense. Having just returned from Iraq and having interviewed top U.S. and Iraqi officials, I can report that some 90% of Iraqi territory is now safe and secure for Iraqis, and even for most foreigners, including Americans. Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle remain dangerous, as do places like Mosul. But violence is down 80% in Baghdad as a result of more and better trained Iraqi forces, and the U.S. "surge." Iraq's economy is growing. Satellite dishes are sprouting everywhere. Millions of new cell phones are in operation. Schools are open and functioning. Tens of millions of Iraqis are involved in the democratic process.
Not all is going well there, of course. Troubles -- enormous challenges -- still remain. But enormous progress has taken place. We are winning. Iraqis are winning. At a painful cost, to be sure. But full victory is possible if we do not surrender. Sen. Clinton -- echoing the expressed policies of Sen. Obama, after originally voting for the war to liberate Iraq and strongly supporting it -- would surrender, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory just we are seeing tremendous improvements. How would the U.S. be perceived by the jihadists if we cut and run? As weak. Impotent. Doomed. And let's be clear: the jihadists would not simply kick up their feet and sip Turkish coffee. If we don't defeat them over there, they will come here again and seek to cause the sort of catastrophic disaster that my novel, DEAD HEAT, envisions.
Now, if Sen. Clinton's speech on Iraq wasn't troubling enough comes ever more news about Barack Obama's choice of churches and pastors. Sen. Obama insists he is not a Muslim, though his father was, though his grandfather was, though he was raised for a time in the world's largest Muslim country and schooled in an Islamic madrassa. Sen. Obama insists he is a Christian, and points to his two decades in Chicago's Trinity United Church as proof. But now we're beginning to learn what kind of religion he has been immersing himself in, and it brings scant comfort.
The church and magazine run by his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., gave Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan an award just last year and said Farrakhan "truly epitomized greatness."
In 1984, reports the New York Times, Wright actually traveled to Libya with Farrakhan to visit with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, who was deeply engaged in terrorist actions against the U.S., Israel and our European allies.
Rev. Wright says the U.S. is to blame -- not radical Islamic jihadists -- for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; that we deserved those attacks, and that rather than sing "God Bless America," we should all sing "God Damn America."
Perhaps it is not surprising then, that a new John Zogby poll finds that while Clinton and Obama are currently locked into a dead heat for the Democratic nomination, when it comes to choosing a President who truly understands the threat of radical Islam and would be uniquely qualified to protect us from terrorist attacks, the race isn't close. Americans far and away trust Sen. McCain to be Commander-in-Chief over either of his Democratic rivals.
"The recent Hillary Clinton campaign advertisement asking who Americans want answering the phone in the White House when a crisis erupts at 3 a.m. has sparked a national debate about which candidate would best handle such a phone call," writes Zogby. "But while the ad was designed to boost the Clinton candidacy, likely voters nationwide say they would feel more secure having Republican John McCain answering the call of a crisis, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows. Given the choice between Clinton and McCain, 55% preferred McCain while 37% would want Clinton to answer the phone, while 9% said they were unsure. Between McCain and Obama, 56% favored McCain while 35% preferred Obama, with 10% saying they couldn't make up their mind on the question."
God forbid the scenario of my new thriller comes true. I wrote this novel not to predict the future I believe will happen, but to warn Americans of a future I fear could happen if we develop a false sense of security, if we forget there are those out there determined to annihilate us, if we get our eyes off the ball, if we surrender in the face of evil and choose leaders who think America is the problem, not part of the solution.