It is often said that "justice delayed is justice denied". The consequences of delay are even more dire in the international arena. A reminder of this thought came this week in the form of President Bush's trip to Graceland with Japan's prime minister, Junicho Kaizumi, a huge Elvis fan. Seems that Mr. Bush is belatedly discovering the value of off-message time with world leaders.
The U.S. is now participating in or approaching discussions with the wayward nations of Iran and North Korea. Sooner or later, we will be in closer contact, be it friendly or hostile. But for years, or decades, we have squandered opportunities to engage with these countries. History has taught us that engagement, not isolation, leads to a more positive relationship. Meaningful engagement might well have avoided the current confrontations, at least in the case of Iran. Delay has been costly.
Similarly, eventually we will have good relations with Cuba. Think of the losses for both nations and their peoples by decades of attempted isolation.
In the case of Iraq, the consequences of delay have been devastating. Losses of life, property, and treasure; physical and mental trauma on all sides. Intelligence officers and others have now told us that they considered the supporting intelligence faulty or highly suspect. It would have taken courage, but their delay in speaking out loudly may have cost us the opportunity to head off the misadventure and to concentrate on Afghanistan and the real terrorists.
Retired generals have been speaking out about the failure to plan for the Iraq war and the lack of sufficient troop strength. If they had not delayed in making these concerns public, even to the point of resignations, we might well have avoided the post-invasion mess in Iraq.
Later, a discussion of the delay on the part of Democrats to recognize the danger of Samuel Alito and their wimpy behavior with respect to his nomination