Every nation needs a leader during times of war, but not just any leader – he or she must have the insight of Winston Churchill, the decisiveness of President Truman, the big stick of Teddy Roosevelt and the honesty of President Carter.

America has found all these traits in the true leader of our nation, Vice President Dick Cheney, who has led us fearlessly into the treacherous Iraqi lands, where there was once torture and order and now there is torture and chaos. So fearless is he that hunters shy away, lawyers cower, and those who are both get shot in the face.

There are those who criticize President Bush for his handling of the war, but they neglect to give our vice president, perhaps the most powerful vice president in American history, credit for what has gone right. Instead of an in-and-out campaign as promised, our soldiers have been blessed with three-and-a-half years of Middle Eastern sightseeing. Our nation’s resources, when not handed back to the wealthy, are put into the war as a means of toughening the American character. Without money going into programs such as hurricane relief, we are left to fend for ourselves, which teaches us better work ethic and keeps us busy when otherwise we could be wasting our time, say, doing community service for hurricane relief.

On the other hand, we must ask ourselves where credit is deserved. With Cheney assuming a Jack Bauer role against terrorists, the precious time he once could afford to spend advocating a tough-guy policy against that-guy-in-chains Hussein is now devoted to, as he said on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, “Think about the unthinkable, to focus what in fact the terrorists may have in store for us.”

Ah, now I feel safe. The man – no, the giant – who bravely led us into Iraq is now our watchdog against terrorism. And watched he has. I always thought there was someone listening to my phone conversations without me knowing, but boy am I glad that there are people watching my bank accounts, too.

Cheney’s foresight has not failed us yet and I don’t expect it to any time soon. As he has often pointed out, there has not been one terrorist attack in the U.S. since September 11, five years ago. We have caught all potential terrorists using the National Security Agency’s intelligence. We even caught John Mark Kar, a close associate to both Jon Benet Ramsey and Osama bin Laden.

While he was a staunch proponent for the War in Iraq, Iran is clearly a smaller threat and clearly unilateral sanctions on Iran do not work. Iraq may not have had nuclear capability like Iran, but at least they had lots of Islamic fundamentalists.

Alas, there is no better man for the job, for Cheney is a man who truly understands his people. Horatio Alger himself could have authored Cheney’s fulfillment of the American Dream, and there is no better man to represent the people of America than one who shares a bed with an oil company.

The White House may not have Churchill, or Teddy, or even a Democrat, but at least it has Cheney.

Epstein can be reached atmepstein@campustimes.org.

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