It has been widely reported that President Bush simply refuses to turn against the surge in Iraq, or even compromise on it. At the same time, he admonishes Congress to toss out troop-withdrawal timetables and to give Gen. Petraeus' new counterinsurgency plan time to work. And you know what? While the Democrats stand against nearly all of the president's wartime policies -- and in the process court defeat -- the stock market is standing with Bush, and the chance for victory.
Early last week, when the Democratic leadership of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi launched their latest antiwar offensive, stocks dropped about 150 points. Then, in a press conference a few days later, after Bush discussed clear successes in Iraq's Anbar province, the Dow Jones soared nearly 300 points, marching ever closer to the 14,000-point plateau.
Of course, shares trade on the profit and interest-rate fundamentals of the economy. But if you ask folks on Wall Street what their biggest worry is, most will say it's another 9-11. They rank another attack far ahead of passing sub-prime mortgage problems or wiggles in consumer spending.
The stock market, in fact, is voting for the president to stay on offense. Here's a case in point. The highest-ranking Iraqi leader of al-Qaida in Iraq was just arrested, after which he told interrogators that Osama bin Laden's inner circle enjoys considerable influence over the Iraqi al-Qaida branch. "Communication between the senior al-Qaida leadership and al-Masri frequently went through al-Mashhadani," said Brigadier Gen. Kevin Bergner. "There is a clear connection between al-Qaida in Iraq and al-Qaida senior leadership outside Iraq."
And Wall Street connected the dots, too: That day, the Dow had been down 150 points. But it rallied back 100 points after the Iraqi capture came across the tape.
This brings me to a larger point. Despite the criticism President Bush has received over his Iraq War policies, isn't it interesting that stock markets have been booming since early 2003, when Saddam was overthrown and the president signed his supply-side tax cuts into law? (Bush, of course, never gets any credit on either of these points.)
In just the past year alone, the Dow has gained a remarkable 30 percent. Meanwhile, Europe and Asia are up about 30 percent, Japan 23 percent, and emerging markets more than 60 percent. Clearly, the world is voting -- with real money -- for the American system of free-market capitalism. And it's my strong suspicion that the majority of the global investing community supports the Iraq War and a steadfast U.S. commitment to stop terrorism. They seem to know that if the United States doesn't do it, no one else will.
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