I watched President Bush tonight. And I have to admit. For the first time that I remember, I actually detected… well i don’t know.. it seemed so foreign. Was it honesty? Or was it just what I wanted to hear.. not in substance, but in delivery?
Makes one wonder just how much of what Bush has said since 2001 has been directly piped from people around him. So is he now talking from his own mouth, or simply from his new handlers on Iraq?
I have many bones to pick with the address, but I’m sure they will be picked clean by hundreds of others.. so instead, I’d like to focus on this story from DefenseTech.org
particularly this comment:
Also, this set of National Security Council slides — especially #7, on the changed “key assumptions” about Iraq — is, for this White House, almost jaw-dropping realistic and head-headed.
Point-by-Point, the “Now” sounds downright realistic.. not to mention 2 years late, but that’s beside the point.
Point-by-Point how does the “Now” in this slide stack up to what we heard tonight?
#1: What I heard was that “Terrorists” and “Sunnis” were the problem… no specific mention of Shia groups (PM Malikis’ supporters, no mention of common criminals let out by Saddam before the invasion.
#2: While the point was made for Baghdad… it was glossed over for the rest of Iraq. Provincial elections? Reconstruction teams? Distributing Iraqi oil money for infrastructure? It’ll do nothing without the basic security, in ALL of Iraq, to implement it.
#3: I don’t know that we heard Bush articulate this at all. What I heard was a lot of talk of Baghdad security… and not much else. Did I miss anything?
#4: This is about the only point so far that I think Bush hit bang on. It’s hard to hide from the blatantly obvious afterall.
#5: There was a call by Bush for Arab states to support the Iraqi government and the effort in Iraq. This slide says they are reluctant to do that. Anyone really think they are going to do anything other than build fences literal and figurative, to keep Iraqi chaos from spilling out of its’ borders.
#6: This point is kind of the natural expansion of the “Iran and Syria are making things Worse” argument. In reality, it’s not Iran and Syria… they’re simply the bigger cousins to very strong, established, and largely independant movements in Iraq. Are Iran and Syria helping their brethen Shia and Baath respectively… most assuredly. But this is Iraqi-grown, Iraqis are protecting themselves, Iran and Syria are doing nothing. Bush still doesn’t get it
#7: Dialogue with insurgents wasn’t mentioned by Bush… I don’t think it will happen… I’m not surprised by this, “dialogue” hasn’t proven to be Bush’s strong suit.
#8: This last point about the ISF is really up in the air. Bush made it clear that he’s putting a ton of responsibility and pressure on the ISF to do the job of securing Baghdad, and the rest of the country by November. But how can they in the state they are in? Throughout the speech Bush came off sounding like he was scolding a schoolchild who had barely passed an exam and was well on their way to failing the class.
What he doesn’t realise, is that often it is the teacher, not the student, that is most responsible for ensuring the student has the opportunity, tools, and ability to succeed.