Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bush’s Same-Old-Same-Old Speech

At least he took some questions from the audience this time. Other than that, yesterday’s speech by President Bush at the Philadelphia World Affairs Council was more of the same.

Bet it's a news flash for you that Bush considers Iraq the “... central front in the war on terror,” huh?

And here’s the usual reference to 9/11 to justify his administration's actions:

“And that war started on September the 11th, 2001, when our nation awoke to a sudden attack. Like generations before us, we have accepted new responsibilities, we're confronting dangers with new resolve. We're taking the fight to those who attacked us and to those who share their murderous vision for future attacks.”
We’re taking the fight to those who attacked us? I’m sure that’s news to Osama bin Laden who, unless we got lucky and the Pakistani earthquake managed to do what we couldn’t, is laughing his turban off right now, while still roaming free and seeing Iraq turned from a secular state into an Islamic Republic.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was more direct in her criticism of the president’s rhetoric of progress, versus a clear lack of that manifesting itself in American troops actually coming home.

"If there are benchmarks and milestones, and they are being met, then why aren’t our troops on their way home?” said Pelosi. “The President’s contention that setting political milestones in Iraq has led to results makes his refusal to set conditions for bringing American troops home all the more inexplicable.... the President should be seeking to translate political milestones met in Iraq into opportunities for our troops to come home."

Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Minority Leader, called Bush on again saying a lot of words, but delivering little substance on a tangible exit strategy from Iraq.

“The window of opportunity for the Iraqi people and this Administration to get things right will not stay open forever,” said Reid, in a statement. “ While the president gave his third major address on his Iraq policy in the past two weeks, I regret that the American people have still not received a plan that identifies the remaining political, military and economic objectives that must be met in order to succeed. Until the president achieves that goal, Democrats will continue to ask the hard questions and demand a strategy for success that will successfully complete the mission and bring our troops home.”

Congressman John Murtha (D-PA), the latest decorated Veteran that the GOP loves to hate, again took the side of our men and women in uniform and lamented the total lack of attention being paid to an American military that is woefully overstretched.

“We have the smallest standing Army since 1940. Now, think what I’m saying.... we’ve had a two and a half year deployment with the smallest Army and, for the first time we never surged our Army,” said Murtha after Bush’s speech. “Every war before, whether Korea or Vietnam, we had a draft, we surged the Army, we increased, we mobilized the country. In this case, we haven’t done that. So this small Army, made up of active duty and Reserves and Guard has been deployed time after time after time. Some as many as three times, some as many as four times.”

(Crooks and Liars has the video of Murtha’s press conference.)

While Chuck Hagel (R-NE) has tried to make a similar argument from the Republican side, it would be gratifying to hear even one other member of the GOP more concerned about our men and women in the military and less concerned with covering the president’s butt for his incompetent planning and execution of this war – ignoring for one moment that the war never needed to happen at all.

It would also be nice to hear a presidential speech where we get something other than “central front in the war on terror,” “spreading freedom,” and “fighting them there, so we don’t have to fight them here.”

But, if that’s all you’ve got, I guess you stick with it.