Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Democrats unsatisfied with last night's speech Updated

Who knows? I might win an award for "most expected headline," here.

::::::::Congressional Democrats said President Bush's repeated attempts last night to link the war in Iraq to the September 11 terrorist attacks rang hollow and did not constitute the plan to win the war that they said Mr. Bush needed to deliver.

If that's their take on the speech then they weren't listening at all. That, or they have different criteria for what constitutes "win the war." The President was quite specific on how we win. We continue to train their security forces. We continue to engage and eliminate the terrorists blowing up Iraqi civilians. We continue to provide support for their government efforts, working for passage of their constitution and election of their government under that constitution. We continue to assist, along with the rest of the international community, with the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure. In other words, we do all the things we've been saying we need to do in order to make Iraq a free democracy, secure and stable, a place not home to terrorist groups who send attacks against us and our friends.

What he didn't do was what every Democratic leader has been calling for.

He didn't pull out a calendar and give the date and time that troops will start leaving, followed by a detailed schedule for the retreat pulling out. Oh, and just for Ted Kennedy, announcing the resignation of Don Rumsfeld.

I agree with the President completely on the issue of timetables for pullout. It sends the exact wrong message to the enemy, to our allies, and to our military in the field. We need to keep doing all those things I mentioned above, most importantly the training of Iraqi security. Get them able to handle their own security - that's the fastest way for our troops to get out while not making the same mistake as was ade in Afghanistan those years ago when the Soviets left. As the President said, when the Iraqis stand up, we can stand down.

Update: Pardon me! I was in the middle of writing on this subject and got distracted by something offline so I never addressed the other part of the Democratic response. I'll handle that now. The Democratic leadership - point man on this one is none other than John Kerry - is dismissing the linkages between Saddam's Iraq and terror groups and also trying to assert that the President is changing his reasoning again as to why the invasion was necessary. They're saying that the President lied about the WMD (a claim that flies in the face of 3 separate investigations' findings) and that he now talks about promoting democracy and links between Saddam and the 9/11 attack. First, anyone who reads the transcript of the speech can see that the President makes no linkage between Saddam and 9/11. He makes linkage between Saddam and terror groups. Regardless, they talk as thought the President is changing his tune suddenly.

From an article by Nicholas Lemann in the New Yorker's February 2003 issue, speaking of President Bush's State of the Union address:

::::::::In his State of the Union address, President Bush offered at least four justifications, none of them overlapping: the cruelty of Saddam against his own people; his flouting of treaties and United Nations Security Council resolutions; the military threat that he poses to his neighbors; and his ties to terrorists in general and to Al Qaeda in particular. In addition, Bush hinted at the possibility that Saddam might attack the United States or enable someone else to do so.::::::::

These were the reasons cited in January of 2003. To say now, in June of 2005, that the President is pulling this Saddam/Terrorist link out of nowhere is just plain wrong. The records are there to prove it and to make the claim otherwise is foolish in light of the evidence available. Later in that same article, the promotion of democracy is mentioned:

:::::::: President Bush appeared to be making the same point in the State of the Union address when he remarked that "all people have a right to choose their own government, and determine their own destiny-and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom."

Even those suffering from justification fatigue ought to pay special attention to this one, because it goes beyond the category of reasons offered in support of a course of action that has already been decided upon and set in motion. Unlike the other justifications, it is both a reason for war and a plan for the future. It also cries out for elaboration. Democracy is a wonderful idea, but none of the countries in the Middle East, except Israel and Turkey, resemble anything that would look like a democracy to Americans.

The President has remained consistent in his reasons. It's just that his opponents do not care to listen. The claim that the President is lying when he speaks of Saddam's ties to terrorism is something that "rings hollow" when it comes from the mouths of the Democrats who voted to authorize the invasion. From the Senate resolution:

::::::::"Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;

"Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terroist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of United States citizens;

"Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist organizations ... "

Senators Reid and Kerry both voted for this. They agreed with their vote that this was correct. To say that it's the President who's manufacturing things now is to ignore their own actions. Too bad they're well documented.

Hat tip and thanks to Hugh Hewitt, Power Line.