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By Dan Shea

President George W. Bush walks out of the Office of the President of the United States around the time that you, dear reader, will be perusing this issue. I would like to personally thank him for the last eight years; seven of them without an attack on US soil due to his stewardship and the vigilance of our intelligence community.

While that may not be a politically correct thing to say, I have a bit of a different point of view than Spiro’s fabled “Nittering Nabobs of Negativity” that have been out there doing a hatchet job on our 43rd President for the last 8 years. I’ll come back to this...

Also, at this time, our new President-elect, Barack H. Obama, will be sworn into office as the 44th President of the United States. He can finally get rid of the silly and inappropriate podium that made him look like a child playing President. If you question that “take” on his behavior, simply look around the world. No one is taking him seriously as a powerful leader. This is a bad thing. Russia has been hanging around close to the US again, and now Venezuela and other countries are piling on and meeting with them, and the Russian Navy is in Cuba. Shades of 1961... I keep hoping the Russian test isn’t going to be another “Cuban Missile Crisis” or worse.

We have enough problems on our hands already. The Russian Bear is rising, the Chinese Communists are playing out their chess game to rule the world in two generations, and the war without borders is straining everyone’s resources. The young soldiers I talk with call it “the Long War.” I think they need to remember that there are many historians who consider World War I as starting in 1912, and ending in the mid-1920s, and most consider that World War II started in the early 1930s and didn’t really finish until the Korean War. The Vietnam War was a commitment of over fifteen years for the US, much longer if you consider the French and the Domino effect in Cambodia and Laos after 1975.

I suspect that by now our new President has had his real briefing; the one where his aides are not allowed in, the one where he’s given the real picture. I’ll bet it takes a few weeks to regain his composure because there are much larger problems out there than mortgage loans and the stock market. There are a whole lot of people out there who want to kill the West - literally.

I was in Thailand during the recent coup and it was a normal Thai coup - one group of people wanted to overthrow the government and did so, fairly bloodlessly. Across the sea and over the Subcontinent, 15 highly trained and highly motivated terrorists methodically murdered several hundred Indians and tourists. It would be ludicrous to say this occurred because of the election of Barak Obama as this was in the planning stages for a long time. However, many of the other events we are seeing are directly related to this election.

The countries that want to test us are willing to do so right now because they do not think that America’s new leader has the resolve to face the challenge. They don’t know as much about us as they think they do. Americans, by definition, don’t give up. They face challenges, they plan carefully, and then they kick ass.

Bringing me back to thanking out-going President George W. Bush. I would like to thank him for saving the lives of my wife and son when we were on a plane in Phoenix as the terrorist hijackings that shattered the morning bustle of the nation on September 11, 2001. Just 8 short months into his presidency he had to face this ultimate test - an attack on our soil that had been in planning for years. I was convinced at the time, and with Intel since, that the plane we were on in Phoenix that morning was destined to be one of the five West Coast planes suspected of being prepped to be hijacked. President Bush’s courage in shutting down our airspace was outstanding, saved the lives of Lord only knows how many others, and his responses to the threats since have been strong, powerful, and quite poignant.

I’ll leave it to others to parse words, to figure out how to end our presence in other countries, to prosecute war against the terrorists, to empty their blame-throwers regarding the economic drama we are currently living through. The economic issue is simply the music stopping on a 30 year long game of musical chairs by members of both parties. The music stopped and there aren’t many chairs. But, we’ve been through tougher times as Americans, and done just fine.

While I am thanking the out-going President, I would like to welcome the in-coming one, and to hope that he has the backbone, the resolve, and the fortitude to not weaken our country, to not feed into the terrorists of any kind, to take the necessary road, instead of the road that is politically expedient or popular in the short term. It is my sincere hope that he will not waste his emotional energy on agendas to remove our Constitutional Rights and that instead he will help guide us into this new century as a country strong with resolve and protect our friends, as well as vanquish our enemies.

- Dan

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