I think Max Boot, writing in the Los Angeles Times, has it right:
Much can still go wrong in the broader Middle East. Indeed, much has gone wrong already. There is no doubt that Bush has made plenty of mistakes.Bill Clinton had a lot of nerve (many would call it "brass" or "gall") but no one would ever describe Clinton as man with backbone. Can you imagine Clinton sticking with a decision in the face of withering criticism from Europe and the entire old news media? Can you imagine Al Gore doing that? Or John Kerry? If anything sets Bush apart from the crowd, it's that character trait. His detractors call it stubbornness; I call it a spine.
The mistake he has not made, however, is the most important of all: He has not lost his nerve.
History shows that a mighty nation can recover from wartime miscalculations. It can bounce back from defeats at Bull Run or Bataan, Chancellorsville or the Choisin Reservoir, as long as it possesses a leader who never acknowledges that he is beaten.
In George W. Bush we have such a man. His stubbornness and certitude can annoy even his friends, but they are precisely the qualities needed in a wartime leader. They are the qualities that have made possible the edifying spectacle of Iraqis rising up to rule themselves.