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December 16, 2003
Getting Tough Works with Both Friends and Enemies

Despite his would-be Presidential opponents' dire warnings, Bush's get-tough policy with the Axis of Weasels appears to be bearing fruit for the Iraqi people:

U.S. special envoy James A. Baker III won German and French agreement Tuesday to work for Iraqi debt relief, but Washington did not say whether it would lift the ban on firms from those nations bidding for lucrative reconstruction projects in Iraq ... "Germany and the United States, like France, are ready not only for debt restructuring but also for substantial debt forgiveness toward Iraq," German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's spokesman Bela Anda said in a statement after talks with Baker. The German statement indicated that the United States also was prepared to relieve debt, and that levels would be decided by the Paris Club of creditor nations. ...

France, keen to carve a role in aiding Iraq, said Monday the Paris Club could strike a debt relief deal in 2004 and that France itself was ready to write off some of Iraq's debt. Iraq's debts are estimated by the International Monetary Fund at about $120 billion dollars, of which about $40 billion is debt and arrears to the 19 Paris Club countries.

How foolish do such Democratic luminaries like John Kerry and Howard Dean look now when they warned that the failure of Bush to cut the Axis in on lucrative post-war construction contracts would result in a failed Baker mission? These pretenders have not yet learned the lesson of the past quarter-century: you do not reward hostility and backbiting, you punish it. Otherwise, you only encourage more of it. Bush is introducing an old but critical element to American foreign policy, one that has been lacking for decades ... a backbone.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 16, 2003 2:08 PM

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