December 19, 2005

The President's speech.

Here's the text of the speech President Bush made last night. Lately, he's been quite talkative, hasn't he? I like his new approach of speaking up frequently, because his critics will never observe a quiet spell. Even though I'm on line much of the day and read the news much too much, I never notice when these speeches are coming on. I only see afterwards. I think the assumption is that people are sitting around watching prime time television. Anyway, looking at the text of the speech this morning, I see that much of it is restatement of things he's already said, in the usual clear, short sentences. Maybe not everyone believes what he says, but he's always so easy to understand (when it's one of those written-out speeches). The main justification for doing another Iraq speech was last week's election:
Three days ago, more than 10 million Iraqis went to the polls -- including many Sunni Iraqis who had boycotted national elections last January. Iraqis of every background are recognizing that democracy is the future of the country they love -- and they want their voices heard. One Iraqi, after dipping his finger in the purple ink as he cast his ballot, stuck his finger in the air and said: "This is a thorn in the eyes of the terrorists." Another voter was asked, "Are you Sunni or Shia?" And he responded, "I am Iraqi."
He also repeats the themes of his other recent speeches: his critics are defeatists who are hurting the war effort for their own partisan interests:
Defeatism may have its partisan uses, but it is not justified by the facts. For every scene of destruction in Iraq, there are more scenes of rebuilding and hope. For every life lost, there are countless more lives reclaimed. And for every terrorist working to stop freedom in Iraq, there are many more Iraqis and Americans working to defeat them. My fellow citizens: Not only can we win the war in Iraq, we are winning the war in Iraq.

It is also important for every American to understand the consequences of pulling out of Iraq before our work is done. We would abandon our Iraqi friends and signal to the world that America cannot be trusted to keep its word. We would undermine the morale of our troops by betraying the cause for which they have sacrificed. We would cause the tyrants in the Middle East to laugh at our failed resolve, and tighten their repressive grip. We would hand Iraq over to enemies who have pledged to attack us and the global terrorist movement would be emboldened and more dangerous than ever before. To retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor, and I will not allow it.
He tries to draw a line -- and it's an important line -- between those who think the decision to go to war was wrong and those who say we should give up in the middle of the war:
I ... want to speak to those of you who did not support my decision to send troops to Iraq: I have heard your disagreement, and I know how deeply it is felt. Yet now there are only two options before our country -- victory or defeat. And the need for victory is larger than any president or political party, because the security of our people is in the balance. I don't expect you to support everything I do, but tonight I have a request: Do not give in to despair, and do not give up on this fight for freedom.
Nicely put.


EddieP said...

Yet now there are only two options before our country -- victory or defeat.

Yes, now which shall you choose Mr/Ms/Mrs Congress/MSM person?

I would expect John Kerry to say something like "I choose victory, but not the way the president's doing it". I have a better plan but you'll have to elect me in 2008 to see it.

F said...

I'd like to see him rethink his victory v. defeat dichotomy. I had a lot of time for Ann Ablebaum's column a few weeks back about some wars being neither won nor lost, rather some desired outcomes being achieved and some not. The question of when to withdraw from Iraq then becomes clearer. It's not 'when have we won' (although I was under the impression that this was supposed to be a war FOR Iraq therefore the question should be when has Iraq and the Iraqi people won) but rather when have we accumulated sufficient desired outcomes to make it safe for us and for the Iraqi people to withdraw our troops. It's certainly a more pragmatic, and I would think realistic, approach to take to the whole issue.

SteveR said...

Yeah I really want to hear that "other plan." Of course the other plan would have involved doing something different with the war (they voted for) up to this point so its really just criticism.

There was nothing new in the speech but it bears repeating given, as Ann says, his detractors will never relent.

Tom Grey said...

Great speech, nice notes, Ann.

I think Bush is setting up to start criticizing the critics: they are now being defeatist, they are now hurting morale, they seem to be on the side of the terrorists, not America and pro-democracy Iraq.

(And I think most Bush haters ARE third kind friends of terrorists: enemy's enemy.)

PatCA said...

I thought it was a very good speech and very good press conference today. And why should not the president answer back his critics in the media with all the vehemence he can muster? They are no more deserving of a free pass than is the government. This is a real debate, the one we need to face the new kind of war.

wildaboutharrie said...

It was a good speech. It was smart to reach out to those who disagreed with invading Iraq, inviting them to nevertheless support the effort now (especially in light of the elections).

I say this as a non-supporter of invasion.

Simon said...

I thought it was a very well-written speech. But the fact that for some unknown reason they mounted the teleprompter to one side of the camera meant that Bush looked shifty throughout the speech, as if he was avoiding looking us in the "eye" by looking directly into the camera. This was terrible body language.

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