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December 18, 2005

Live Blogging II
Posted by Suzanne Nossel

Is he suggesting that 9/11 would not have happened had we been fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan then?  Comes close.

Says noone in Iraq - not our troops or the terrorists believe we've already lost.  Apparently Paul Hackett thinks we have.  I am not convinced we have lost, or are losing irrecoverably.  But I'm far from convinced we're winning.

He describes 3 critical elements to the plan:

1-Coalition will remain on the offense -    This will be interesting in that many analysts have suggested that over time the US will and/or should retreat to a posture where we avoid offensive operations and act as a kind of backstop to the Iraqis. 

2 - Creating democracy - Last week's election went well.  No surprise that its been heralded as a huge step forward, notwithstanding the fact that the votes have not been counted, nor a government formed.  Nothing on what happens next or the challenges ahead.

3 - Economic progress - Cites optimism of the Iraqi public.  Says absolutely nothing about what the strategy is or what will happen next.

Speaks of difference between "honest critics" and "defeatists" who have a partisan bent.   

He says we ARE winning the war in Iraq.   

He speaks of Mideast tyrants laughing at our failure of resolve if we pull out.  It's an awful thought, but should not be the guide for US policy.

Nothing yet about how we're going to shore up the military and make sure its not overstretched indefinitely.

The road to victory will be the road that takes our soldiers home.  Could be a long road.

No reference to a pull-out.  If he does start a draw down, which looks highly likely, it will be a turnabout from this speech.

He now addresses those who opposed the war at the outset, saying that regardless of what you thought then, don't give up now on the fight.  Wants patience.  I actually liked this part of what he said.  It sounded relatively respectful.

He says he's never been more certain that our actions in Iraq are essential to our security . . . wonder if that's true.

References Xmas and Channukah next week (war on Xmas types will go nuts).   Now, in deference, he's quoting an Xmas carol in his closing.

In sum:  neutral, good but will not move the needle.


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"To retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor and I will not allow it"

Obviously a very sincere and passionate statement by Pres. Bush that to me crystallized his entire message tonight (18 Dec) to the citizenry, voters, Iraqis and anyone else listening.

Whether his message will change people's mind about where we are today and what it (Iraq and the larger Global War on Terror) looks like in the very near future - will depend on events and changes not entirely in his or the US's control.

What was to me more ominous were these statements -

"Americans can expect some things of me as well. My most solemn responsibility is to protect our nation, and that requires me to make some tough decisions.............
.........................I know this war is controversial -- yet being your president requires doing what I believe is right and accepting the consequences."

What If - in spite of the rationale and logic of his strongest arguments, there is no change in the attitudes or convictions of those that are not in agreement with the President?

What if the prevailing "mood" of the nation seems to favor the " defeatists" line of thinking?

You then have to believe that with such strong convictions and passion by this President and his faithful followers - that there must surely be a "PLAN B Strategy" that will allow this President to prevail..........??

If the circumstances are so crucial and the options are so few ( Victory or Defeat) - it seems to me that this President has telegraphed to everyone what he believes is expected of him??

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