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Thursday, January 11, 2007

The President Speaks

posted by on January 11 at 9:12 AM

337_bush_2.jpg

The president spoke last night, and now the bullshit calling and body-language-parsing begins. As Howard Fineman says, the president looked unusually scared as he ordered more than 20,000 additional troops into Iraq:

George W. Bush spoke with all the confidence of a perp in a police lineup. I first interviewed the guy in 1987 and began covering his political rise in 1993, and I have never seen him, in public or private, look less convincing, less sure of himself, less cocky. With his knitted brow and stricken features, he looked, well, scared. Not surprising since what he was doing in the White House library was announcing the escalation of an unpopular war.

He also continued to try to create his own reality, so much so that the Associated Press filed a report on the speech headlined: “Bush rhetoric hard to square with facts.”

In doses of rhetoric hard to square with facts in the region, Bush portrayed the ordinary people of the Middle East as being behind U.S. goals in Iraq, in his speech to the nation Wednesday night.

And he declared the need to address Iran’s and Syria’s support for insurgents, without acknowledging his refusal to engage either country diplomatically, as many U.S. allies and the Iraq Study Group proposed.

The AP goes on from there:

Bush declared “al-Qaida is still active in Iraq” and a failed U.S. mission would give such terrorists a safe haven from which to plot attacks against Americans.

Although few quarrel with that appraisal now, it is also the case that Iraq contrary to assertions at the time was not a magnet for al-Qaida before the U.S. invasion.

Andrew Sullivan heads straight for Bush’s flawed premise:

The premise of the speech, and of the strategy, is that there is a national democratic government in Baghdad, defending itself against Jihadist attacks. The task, in the president’s mind, is therefore to send more troops to defend such a government. But the reality facing us each day is a starkly different one from the scenario assumed by the president. The government of which Bush speaks, to put it bluntly, does not exist.

Keith Olbermann goes straight for Bush’s credibility.

And I would like to note these lines from Bush’s speech…

Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship.

…and this picture of Bush, taken on the deck of a battleship in 2003:

mission-accomplished.jpg

Meanwhile, there is quite a bit of alarm at Bush’s assertion that succeeding in Iraq means defending its territorial integrity, and that this…

…begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

DailyKos sees this line as the beginning of “Bush’s Cambodia.” William M. Arking of the Washington Post also noticed the line:

If there’s anything in the President Bush’s remarks tonight that we didn’t already know or didn’t anticipate him saying militarily about Iraq, it is his evident willingness to go to war with Syria and Iran to seek peace.

Speaking about the two countries tonight, the president said that the United States will “seek out and destroy” those who are providing material support to our enemies.

It is only a threat. But it is a far cry from the diplomatic proposals floated just last month for making Syria and Iran part of the solution. Can the president really be saying that we are willing to risk war with the two countries, and even attack elements inside them, to achieve peace in Iraq?

It goes without saying that most Democrats are not on board with this plan. But, tellingly, neither is Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, one of the most conservative Republicans now running for president in 2008.

RSS icon Comments

1

I'd like to make a deal with Mr. Bush. He can continue in a ceremonial role for the duration of his term: Salute the Marines, greet schoolchildren, turn on the WH Xmas tree - stuff like that.

But he needs to shut the fuck up. Just shut the fuck up. No more of his mispronounciations, no more of his voice of doom, no more of his pseudo-folksy bullshit. No more of his Wal-Mart version of Christianity. Just shut the fuck up. Smile and wave George - the non-retarded need to clean up your big national diaper.

Do you think he'd accept the proposal?

Posted by Tired of President Retard | January 10, 2007 11:00 PM
2

Fact check - that's not a battleship the Chimpster was strutting on, it was an aircraft carrier.

Other than that, 100% dead on. History will not be kind to Shrub/Cheneyco and their minions...

Posted by Mr. X | January 11, 2007 2:19 AM
3

If that bad man really believed anything he said, he would send his two daughters in to rebuild Iraq and protect the homeland. Where are those girls? We don't see them on tv, People magazine, or even the checkout tabloids. If they can get pictures of Cher's cellulite and two-headed alligators, it can't be that hard to snap the Bush girls.

Posted by boy | January 11, 2007 2:30 AM
4

Good rundown. Thanks, Eli.

I watched the speech at a bar with closed captioning. I recommend it for further presidental speeches (on going to war with Iran, etc). Not having to listen to his voice made hearing the bullshit he had to say much, much easier.

Posted by Brie | January 11, 2007 6:56 AM
5

So then, what are the options other than FINALLY sending in enough troops to secure and hold Baghdad?

1 - Remain with current levels.
2 - Phased pullout.
3 - Immediate pullout.

To leave Iraq in a lurch after the mess we've made would bring about a horrific Islamic terrorist power with tons of ethnic cleansing. I'm sorry to say that there is no alternative other than to give this surge our best shot. Where is my logic failing here?

Posted by Chip Chipmunk | January 11, 2007 9:42 AM
6

Tired of President Retard, good point but the President needs to stop saluting soldiers PERIOD! This tradition was started by Ronald Reagan in an attempt to play soldier for some weird reason. Prior to that, the Presidents never saluted the military; including President's Washington and Eisenhower.

The reason for not saluting the military was a show of the our military being under civilian leadership. Oddly, the only other world leaders that salute their respective militaries are military dictatorships.

So maybe Bush should salute the military after all.....

Posted by Andrew | January 11, 2007 9:43 AM
7

We need an STFU Bush shirt.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 11, 2007 9:57 AM
8

@5 - the only real option is to leave. It will never be easier than today, it will just get worse the longer we stay. And why aren't you and your kids over there serving? When the Bush twins and Cheney's kid serves in a combat unit in Iraq outside of the Green Zone, then I'll listen, but until then I'll rely on my own experience in counter-terrorism operations. So, STFU and go enlist.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 11, 2007 10:00 AM
9

John Kerry's 1971 Senate Foriegn Relations Committee testimony keeps replaying in my head.

Posted by DOUG. | January 11, 2007 10:06 AM
10

Chip, you present four options. They will all achieve exactly the same result: chaos, Iraqi agony, American shame, and a new foothold for further 9/11 attacks. These are the options faced by a condemned man: hanging, firing squad, gas, collapsing wall, lethal injection. You choose, but the result is the same.

Posted by Fnarf | January 11, 2007 10:18 AM
11

So what is your recommendation, Fnarf?

As for American Shame, I think it's appropriate. We should be good and ashamed of the spectacle we've made of ourselves.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | January 11, 2007 10:35 AM
12

Shame is the word. This "president" has brought one embarassment after another, and there is nothing (realistically) that can be done.

Dan Savage said it best (paraphrasing): this war is going to bloody, horrific & long; or bloody horrific & short. Unfortuantely, it looks like there is pretty much no hope for the latter...

Posted by Mike in MO | January 11, 2007 12:11 PM
13

Savage on the war is a ass.

Posted by rodrigo | January 11, 2007 2:42 PM
14

Has anyone else seen the fake crying pics of Bush for the speech - talk about an attempt to sell us ... they're preloading them on yahoo now ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 11, 2007 5:13 PM
15

Well, if we really believed in "Iraqi Democracy" we'd respond to the Iraqi opinion polls that say something over 80% want the U.S. to just fucking leave already. That sounds like the best solution to me. We've killed enough innocents there already.
But of course, that wouldn't achieve the U.S. & Saudi Arabia's secret goals, now would it?

As to boy @3's question about the Bush girls, they're either in Paraguay on Bush's 10,000 acre compound there. (Wtf, indeed.)
Or they're getting their purse stolen in Argentina.

Posted by treacle | January 11, 2007 6:00 PM
16

*100,000 acre (40,500 hectare) compound.

Posted by treacle | January 11, 2007 6:01 PM
17

Simplistic advocates (Bush, Chip
above, others) portray our policy
decisions as how do we achieve
some predefined, often
unrealistic, goal in Iraq.
Saying "Failure is not an option"
is idiotic. The situation in Iraq
is clearly a failure, and will
remain a failure, no matter
despite such macho posturing.
Intelligent action in Iraq will
come in realizing the US has many
problems (Iraq, Afghanistan,
credibility, corruption, energy,
health, education, debt, the
environment, etc.) and using our
resources to address them in a
balanced manner. Wasting all our
resources in Iraq, so chimpy can
feel good about himself, is
probably the least effective means
of improving our overall
situation.

Posted by butterw | January 12, 2007 2:47 PM
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