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The Gross National Debt

Thursday, October 06, 2005

President Bush today delivered what was billed as a "major" speech on the War in Iraq an dthe war on terrorism. Delivered to a (presumably) screened audience at the National Endowment for Democracy, the speech fell far short of its billing.

After his introduction and after thanking a host of people who attended the speech, Bush jumped right to the meat. It took him roughly under a minute to invoke the spectre of 9/11:

Recently, our country observed the fourth anniversary of a great evil and looked back on a great turning point in our history.

We still remember a proud city covered in smoke and ashes, a fire across the Potomac, and passengers who spent their final moments on Earth fighting the enemy. We still remember the men who rejoice in every death, and Americans in uniform rising to duty. And we remember the calling that came to us on that day and continues to this hour.

We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire or rest until the war on terror is won.

The images and experience of September the 11th are unique for Americans.
The next section of the speech referenced terrorist attacks in other countries. The clear intent was that terrorism hasn't gone away. Bravo, Mr. President. You've finally acknowledged what a majority of Americans now seem to realize - that terrorists are dedicated opportunists and will strike when and where it suits them. Thus far, my observation is that the 'War on Terror' has not impeded that capability in even a small way.

After commenting on the differences between Al Qaeda and traditional military structures, he had this to say:

First, these extremists want to end American and Western influence in the broader Middle East, because we stand for democracy and peace and stand in the way of their ambitions.

Al Qaida's leader, Osama bin Laden, has called on Muslims to dedicate, quote, "their resources sons and money to driving infidels out of their lands."
I'm sure I'm naive when I say that this is no great revelation - Osama Bin Laden and his followers have long been angered over the West's incursion into traditionally Muslim lands. That in and of itself is no great surprise. Yet I have to wonder - in that excerpt, Bush clearly pointed to what is already widely know. Extrapolating, then, it stands to reason that 9/11 happened because of this incursion - interactions with Saudi Arabia - the presence of US troops in Muslim lands in the middle east - it gives lie to the idea that "they hate us for our freedom". No - they hate us all right - but they hated us first for our presence, not our freedom. He contradicts his own prior messages in that one statement and further invites the question as to the logic and efficacy of becoming more present by invading Iraq.

Another excerpt:

The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity, and we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror.
I find that statement frankly remarkable. First, let me point out that no where in his speech did he reference weapons of mass destruction, the tyrannical Saddam Hussein or any of the original rationale for invading Iraq. I don't think it's a far reach to say that, then, one can conclude that the reason we went to Iraq was to provide one area, a focal point if you will, for the war on terror. I think that logic is flawed and it's necessary to point out that the Iraqi people didn't have a say on becoming that focal point nor was that the way it was sold to the Congress or the American people. It is a redefinition, and one which flatly contradicts all previous statements as to the reason we invaded Iraq.

And now to the scary part:

The influence of Islamic radicalism is also magnified by helpers and enablers. They have been sheltered by authoritarian regimes: allies of convenience like Syria and Iran that share the goal of hurting America and moderate Muslim governments and use terrorist propaganda to blame their own failures on the West and America and on the Jews.

The radicals depend on front operations such as corrupted charities which direct money to terrorist activity. They are strengthened by those who aggressively fund the spread of radical, intolerant versions of Islam in unstable parts of the world.

The militants are aided as well by elements of the Arab news media that incite hatred and anti-Semitism, that feed conspiracy theories and speak of so-called "American war on Islam" with seldom a word about American actions to protect Muslims in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Somalia, Kosovo, Kuwait and Iraq.
And now this, later in the speech:

The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor them, because they're equally as guilty of murder.
I have to seriously wonder if Bush thinks Iran and Syria are next. Another interesting statement:

[Osama Bin Laden] assures them that this is the road to paradise, though he never offers to go along for the ride.
Before I get to the ridiculous part of that statement, let me say this: does anyone believe that the followers of Osama Bin Laden and other terrorist leaders reject the idea that a suicide attack is, in fact, a guarantee of placement in paradise? I think they believe it with unqualified and unquestioning fervor. We must remember that. It is the nature of the enemy we face and which our actions continue to create. They are ideologically motivated. They have always been ideologically motivated. They are willing to die themselves to kill just one of us. It makes them an enemy who is difficult if not impossible to truly defeat. And the ridiculous part of that statement is that Osama Bin Laden is unwilling to die as are his followers. First, who out there can't make the quick association that Bush avoided active duty service by going into the ANG? Second, the analogy is fundamentally flawed in that Bin Laden is the leader of his movement in the same way Bush is ultimately the leader of our war in Iraq. Should Bush, then, be willing to spend all of his time over there, in fatigues and carrying a gun, directing tactical troop movements? Of course not. The latter part of that statement was just stupid and ridiculous.

As to what, specifically, our strategy in Iraq and the separate war on terror:

"...we're answering history's call with confidence and a comprehensive strategy."


"...requires patience, constant pressure, and strong partners in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and beyond."


"...we're determined to prevent the attacks of terrorist network before they occur. We're reorganizing our government to give this nation a broad and coordinated homeland defense. We're reforming our intelligence agency for the incredibly difficult task of tracking enemy activity, based on information that often comes in small fragments from widely scattered sources here and abroad."
These sound like intent to me. Not anywhere in those snippets do I see a tactical accounting or specifics around what we are doing. It more rhetoric designed to obfuscate the fact that in over four years we have accomplished almost nothing to ensure our safety. If you have any question about the government's ability to protect you "here at home", go find a New Orleans resident who spent a week on a roof without food or water about how protected they feel.

Here's a good line:

Progress isn't easy, but it is steady.
You've got to be fucking kidding me. I don't know what bothers me more - the blatant attempt to twist the real, everyday facts on the ground in Iraq or the possibility that this is what he really thinks.

I'm not surprised at all by this speech. The old language - "stay the course" - "they hate us for our freedom" - is replaced by new language with the same meanings. "We will keep our nerve" (stay the course) - "defense of freedom" (they hate us for our freedom). There was nothing new in this "major" speech.

What a waste of everyone's time.

posted by RenaRF at 10:50 AM 4 comments links to this post


Blogger Myrrander said...

FIVE TIMES, Rena, he mentioned 9/11 FIVE TIMES in this short speech. It's un-fucking-believable.

Why isn't he giving speeches talking about how the government is going to help Americans by finding a way to get jobs for people in the Gulf Coast -- including the 3,000 layoffs that happened in NOLA this week?

Instead we get the same sort of bullshit as ever. "Stay the Course," this Syria and Iran shit is the same "Axis of Evil" crap he used in 2002.

Military force is not only the first answer to these assholes, it's the only answer. Democracy is built by invasion. Diplomacy is at the end of a bayonet. Flu Pandemic? We'll send the Green Berets to make sure grandma doesn't infect anybody else.

Every time the man speaks, I get just a little angrier. Today, I got a lot angrier.

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Adam said...

My theory is that Bush died in late September 2001 and they've just been using a robot and the same recording of a speech he gave back then.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Shelly said...

The speech which could be called the "october surprise" was just a little reminder that 9/11 happened and we are at war. He has to put the fear into people. Remember when the Osama tape came out right before the elections? Just a little reminder that people want to kill us and Bush will save us. The guy is nothing but an empty suit and hot air.
People stopped believing him a long time ago...at least the ones who are paying attention.
It was just a little ditty to get people of of Plamegate, Delaygate, Katrinagate and all the other Bush white house failures.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

He keeps talking about "we." Who's "we"? This sheltered little chickenhawk was never in any danger; never faced a threat and never did anything. All he did was hide, take extended vacations and jump at every chance for a photo op. He's the most pathetic "leader" we've ever had.

12:49 AM  

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