He delivered this speech better than most. But wasn't it all stuff we've heard before? And that we've heard many times over the last year? It was thirty minutes of evading the real, serious questions by rehashing what he's already said. The poll numbers of support for him and for the war are dropping, and this was supposed to be the speech to address that. But by not addressing the questions that people had, how does this speech have the desired effect?
He keeps missing the point. For example, he talks about the rebuilding of services and utilities and talks about progress being made. Yes, but aren't we far behind where we ought to be and thought we would be by this point? Why is that? Isn't it true that if we'd done x, y, and z like various folk said, that we might be farther along?
Or when he says that we have just the number of troops that the generals need. But isn't the issue that we didn't have enough at the beginning, which is one reason we have some of the problems we now have? Isn't the issue that you didn't listen to the generals at first?
Or when he talks about the training of Iraqi soldiers. Sure, progress seems to have been made since two years ago, but weren't there problems to begin with because the administration unwisely disbanded the Iraqi army immediately after conquering Baghdad?
Yes, I agree we need to stay as long as we have to, but you're not addressing the real question. The real question is are we in "the last throes" (according to Dick Cheney) or will the insurgency last another possible twelve years (according to Donald Rumsfeld)? And if you don't know, then say so. And how are we to square Rumsfeld's "twelve years" quote from this Sunday with his pre-war statements that it wouldn't last six months?
Then there is the section of the speech where you describe the insurgents as violating the rules of war in their tactics. But haven't we lost the moral high ground to make that claim because of our violations of the rules of war at Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, etc.? Just this week warrants were issued by the Italian courts against thirteen CIA agents who violated Italian law by kidnapping an Italian citizen. Difficult to use violating the standards of the rule of law as your charge against the enemy, when you violate the standards of the rule of law yourself. Right?
I just with the President would straightforwardly address the public's real concerns and issues, instead of telling us stuff we've heard before that doesn't address what concerns us.