November 11, 2006

Bush's Iraq Speech Next January

Hatched by Dafydd

UPDATE: I am remiss in forgetting to tip my hat to commenter jp phish, whose comment in a previous post started this train of thought down the narrow-gauge railway of my mind! Oops...

Contrary to popular belief (especially in the dextrosphere), the Democrats were not elected to control of Congress on a "platform" of withdrawing from Iraq: they were never that unified.

Certainly there is no consensus of the American people to give up, to surrender, to withdraw and leave Iraq to be dismembered by Iran and Syria. Americans aren't Spaniards.

Rather, Democrats were elected on a considerably more nuanced platform: they promised only a "change of course" in Iraq, mostly because they couldn't agree among themselves: John Murtha never convinced Anthony Zinni, and Eric Shinseki never persuaded Harry Reid.

Now of course, to most of the Democratic leadership, "change of course" meant "redeploy to Okinawa." But the very circumlocutions they used prove that they weren't certain that the American people would come along for the defeatism ride.

Actual words matter; and as the only Democratic policy everyone could agree on was to gainsay Bush's "stay the course" mantra -- that leaves the door wide open for Democrats to spin on a dish, now that they are responsible to more than just the nutroots, and argue the exact opposite course from the one many of them championed before the election.

Shortly after the 110th Congress convenes, I believe George W. Bush should demand network time; and he should make the following speech (imagine this being rewritten by Peggy Noonan, to give it that real Ronald Reagan Iran-Contra mea culpa flavor):

Good evening, my fellow Americans. The election of last November was decided on many issues: some, like eliminating corruption and scandal, we can all agree on. Others are more controversial.

The Iraq war is a controversial issue. Some Americans, good Americans who love their country, believe the fight is unwinnable. They believe the only option left to us is to leave defeated, since they do not believe we can leave victorious. I don't agree, and neither do most Americans.

Others believe we should withdraw to secure bases inside Iraq and let the New Iraqi Army that we helped the Iraqis build handle the rest of the fighting. They worry that if we continue to patrol, more Americans will die, and that our national will cannot withstand that. Again, I do not agree: we must continue to patrol and remain in close contact with the Iraqi people, because that is how we gather actionable intelligence to strike at the terrorists among them: if we don't interact with ordinary Iraqis on a day to day basis, we won't find out who the evil-doers are and where we can find them.

But for some time, many insightful Americans, both inside and outside government, have argued that we had not too many, but too few troops in Iraq to finish the job, secure victory against the terrorists and jihadis, and establish a thriving democracy, however different from ours it may appear, in the middle of the Middle East.

I have resisted ordering a major increase, because I know that the bigger the American footprint, the harder it will be in the end for Iraqis to see themselves as responsible for their own country. But the chorus has become a consensus; and now, even the generals on the ground in Iraq agree.

I always said that when it came to waging wars, I would always listen first to the professionals who actually have the responsibility for victory. After having consulted extensively with the commanders on the ground, and with both the new leaders in Congress and also those of my own party, I have concluded that I was wrong, and the critics were right. We sent enough troops to overthrow Saddam Hussein and win the war. But after major combat operations ended, I did not leave enough troops in Iraq to secure the peace.

So tonight I am announcing that I have decided to send an additional 75,000 troops to Iraq. The command staff shall submit a report as soon as possible detailing exactly how many more personnel of each service we need and where we need them. But we have three goals that must be satisfied in order to win this war:

We must secure Iraq's borders with both Iran and Syria. Both of those countries continue to smuggle weapons, explosives, and terrorists into Iraq. Until we can plug those leaks, we can never defeat the jihadis, because Iran and its proxy Syria can just send more.

We must secure the Iraq frontier, primarily in the province of Anbar. This is where many of the Sunni terrorists are based.

And finally, we must secure the capital city of Baghdad, where more than 20% of the entire population of Iraq lives. This means we must dismantle the Shiite militias, including the Iranian controlled Mahdi Militia of Muqtada al-Sadr and the Badr Brigades, which also have close ties with the ruling mullahs in Iran. The bulk of our new forces will be sent to Baghdad.

The new troops will stay at least a year. But they will not leave until the job is done. That is why they volunteered for this dangerous duty: to finish the job and win the war.

We will consult with the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. And as much as we can, we will work side by side with the Iraqi Army with the blessing of the Iraqi government. But we invaded Iraq in the first place for a purpose: not just to free the Iraqi people, but to protect the United States of America by denying al-Qaeda and other jihadist terror groups a safe haven in which they can plot their war against us, develop weapons of mass destruction to use against us, and from which they can strike out and kill Americans anywhere in the world, including the American homeland.

The United States will not leave Iraq without fulfiling that purpose. We are steadfast in adversity, we are courageous in combat. Until we are assured that Iraq will never again ally itself with extremism, terrorism, and never again threaten naked aggression against the rest of the world, including against American interests and even America itself, we will not falter or fail. We will do what must be done to protect ourselves, now and in the future.

I call upon Congress to pass a bipartisan bill to authorize this temporary increase in the level of force. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and their countparts in the Republican Party, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Mike Pence, have already consulted their party caucuses in Congress. And we have all agreed that the only way to win a war is for everybody to pull together in the same direction.

Many members of Congress from both sides of the aisle made excellent contributions, and I thank them for their support. With the bravery and courage of the American soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine, and with the help and blessing of God, we shall prevail in this world-wide war against jihad, and in its most important battlefield, Iraq.

And now, all we need is for every American to have the same courage as those facing enemy bullets, bombs, and RPGs. Let's show the bombers and beheaders in Iraq what it really means to face a united America. They wanted a war with the West. They have one. Now let's make them rue the day they picked a fight with the United States of America.

Thank you, and may God bless every one of us.

Americans wanted several things anent Iraq:

  • A change of course to something that worked better and more visibly;
  • Bipartisan action from Congress;
  • A clear understanding why we're in it in the first place. We know what the Iraqis got out of overthrowing Saddam, but what's in it for us?

I hope that most Americans (unlike Nancy Pelosi) will be able to decide whether it's more important for us to win in Iraq or to leave Iraq... and that they will choose victory over defeat.

(The number 75,000 is arbitrary; it would be replaced with whatever figure Gen. George Casey, Commander, Multi-National Force-Iraq, recommends after consulting all the commanders on the ground, the Secretary of Defense, and -- close your eyes, quick! -- the Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress.)

By the way... if I'm right, and the Democrats are willing to go for a change in this direction instead of insisting on that direction, then I predict they will also go ahead and confirm Robert Gates as SecDef.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 11, 2006, at the time of 10:18 PM

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Tracked on November 12, 2006 8:16 AM


The following hissed in response by: Jim,MtnViewCA,USA

It is passing curious how the '04 election was a referendum on Iraq...until the Repubs won. After which is quickly was asserted that the election was all about creepy Christian values, and theocracy and stuff like that.
I suspect that the Dem leadership and the media will successfully use the election as cover to impose a withdrawal from Iraq though.
Because (will come the drumbeat) EVERYONE KNOWS that's what the people voted for.

The above hissed in response by: Jim,MtnViewCA,USA [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 2:09 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


The media will successfully use the election as cover to impose a withdrawal from Iraq...

I keep reading this at various blogs. But nobody ever explains the exact mechanism by which the Democrats or the media or anyone else can "impose" a troop withdrawl on George W. Bush.

What does CNN plan to do, take him hostage?


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 2:53 AM

The following hissed in response by: jd watson

Dafydd: you must be joking. There is no way we are sending more troops to Iraq. GWB won't propose it - in fact the Baker commission will propose the partition of Iraq; the Dhims won't stand for it; and the Iraqi government won't support it. Only Johny Boy McCain is talking about this.

The above hissed in response by: jd watson [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 3:21 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye


I think they are thinking the Congress will cut off the money, but can they really get enough votes to do that and do they want the responsibility?

Mort Kondracke had some interesting numbers in this oped, if he is right only about 30% of the population want a complete withdrawal. I think people are just tired of the endless stories about car bombings and kidnappings. They want to feel like they are getting somewhere. I do think however, that most people are also afraid of what would happen to Iraq and to us if we just pulled out.

But I will not predict anything. I am not that damn brave.

Mort said it was the loud right that seemed to do cost the Republicans the election. His numbers are interesting. Especially the numbers on the issue of immigration.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 3:27 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye


I think people might want to hold back on the predictions here. We do not know for sure what is even in that report or what the president will do with it.

I think one of the things that hurt the Republicans in this last election was the willingness of people to jump the gun and assume what Bush was going to do.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 3:31 AM

The following hissed in response by: wllll

We're not the only party in this conflict and it doesn't matter what we think we might say in January as much as what our enemies think right now. I predict they (our enemies) will think they have us on our heels and will do whatever they think will hasten our withdrawl. Maybe the fighting will get much worse rather quickly. Maybe it will cease all together (kind of doubt Either way, they do think we just sent them the gigantic message that we will be "redeploying" very soon. We just admitted to them how to get us to leave. If they weren't before, they're hunkered down for the long hall now. So, they'll even see through the "doubling of the forces to fix the problem" gambit. We've been there, done that before and they know it. We just hung a giant kick me sign on our back. If we're going to consign those people to a civil war, I hope we at least find a way to give a weapon to all those who'd like one.

The above hissed in response by: wllll [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 5:45 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


I think one of the things that hurt the Republicans in this last election was the willingness of people to jump the gun and assume what Bush was going to do.

Yes. And oddly, it always seemed to be "fellow" Republicans assuming President Bush would choose whatever option the assumer considered the worst possible.

When we were worried that we might not get a chance to get judicially conservative judges on the Court, and Bush nominated Harriett Miers -- the right instantly leapt to the conclusion that she must be a screaming liberal, because that was the worst possible thing Bush could have done.

When we heard that Dubai Ports World had bought out P & O, the right flew into a rage because they cleverly deduced that Bush had deliberately handed port security over to al-Qaeda -- after all, that was the worst possible thing he could do... so he must have done it.

Somehow, many of us seem to have an Eiffel Tower sized battery on our shoulders; and like Robert Conrad, we're always daring Bush to knock the battery off. C'mon, I dare ya! Just try it, you creepy, socialist mug!

Since what we're all most worried about right now is that Iran and Syria will someone conquer Iraq -- the high-verbal right now assumes that Bush brought Bob Gates in as SecDef in order to cut a secret deal with Iran and Syria to divide Iraq between them! Why? Because that's the very worst thing he could have done.

Not a single thought given to the motive: why would Bush do this? What could possibly be in it for him? Even if we decided (heaven forfend) that we must pull out of Iraq... the New Iraqi Army we built could do a pretty good job of defending their country from attack by Iran or its sock puppet: even the vast majority of Iraqi Shia don't want to be controlled by Persians.

Give them a little air support, and they'd be all right. So why on earth would we collaborate with one of our two greatest enemies to hand our ally over to Persian slavery? It doesn't make any sense at all.

Except this way: since that's positively the worst imaginable thing that Bush might do -- let's assume he'll do it. And then castigate him for it and call him a coward for doing it, all before we even see the stupid Baker report anyway. No sense waiting until the last minute to hate our president!


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 6:57 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

On Iraq, the Democrats are wrong to conclude the country doesn't want to win: just look at rich, liberal Connecticut. Joe Leiberman won a majority of the vote as an avowed pro-war candidate. The Congress won't make any political hay out of Iraq, and the Murtha-ites are not to be feared.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 7:25 AM

The following hissed in response by: snochasr

It isn't enough, IMHO, for the Murtha-type nutroots "not to be feared." What will bring the war quickly to a successful conclusion is to have these idiots subjected to a public smackdown, and sending MORE troops to Iraq with the stated objective of winning the battle would be the best way to do that.

My concern is that Bush is getting a lot of good advice from the blogosphere, and elsewhere, but he is one President who sticks by his convictions and may not heed it. And I still think he is too enamored of his "new tone" (which is really his fundamental personality) to put the verbal smackdown on anybody, no matter how wrong they are.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 7:38 AM

The following hissed in response by: ag1

Re: "Americans aren't Spaniards."
How do you know? So far the pattern that emerges looks like they are.

The above hissed in response by: ag1 [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 9:12 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye


I have to say that there is some good advice out here in the blogosphere {like Dafydd} and there is some bad advice out here {like a lot of people}. In the end it is Bush's call and some people on the right who are always ready to assume the worst could help the cause a whole lot more by backing off a little. You know what they say about assume, it makes an ass out of you and me. Old joke I know, but true.

For instance the Right thought it had some good advice for the President and the House on immigration and if the exit polls in this election are to be believed the majority of voters do in fact favor comprehensive immigration reform and the vote for Republicans by the hispanic community was cut by almost 20%.

The inroads that Bush had made for Republicans in that demographic have been completely obliterated. They feel unwanted by Republicans. I wonder why.

In fact several hardliners were beat pretty bad even in the border areas where they were supposed to do well.

In an election where 70,000 votes across the whole country can move a party from majority to minority that kind of advice can be disastrous for the Congress and the party and the president. It was just an unnecessary loss. They misread the public and the president.

But that did not keep people on the right from calling Bush elPresidente and saying he should be impeached for not doing as they demanded. I heard things on the right that were every bit as paranoid as anything the nutroots came up with and it hurt both the President and the party and here they are ready to assume that Bush is surrendering to the mad mullahs. Cause they say so by God. I am getting really fed up with these people.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 10:18 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye


My feelings about some of these people are that they have been about as much help to the Republicans as Kos has been to the Democrats.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 10:20 AM

The following hissed in response by: Cowgirl

Hey, Dafydd!

I like it! It's not a stretch to expect something like that from the President. It would be very welcome news to the majority of Americans who want to "win" the "war".

The above hissed in response by: Cowgirl [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 2:03 PM

The following hissed in response by: Sachi


In fact several hardliners were beat pretty bad even in the border areas where they were supposed to do well.

People in the border areas like us (southern California), face illegal aliens everyday. And we know how important they are for the local community. They are not criminals. Most of them are hard working good people. That's why we don't necessarily support hardliners.

Although the aliens may not speak good English, I take those people over some of the lazy American born workers at the local Wal-mart around here, where I am temporarily staying (Norfolk, VA).

The above hissed in response by: Sachi [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 2:39 PM

The following hissed in response by: jp phish


I believe the decision to increase troop levels has already been made. Following your article "Sit Down, Take a Stress Pill, and Let's Talk This Out" I had a comment which referenced the Austin Bay article "Rumsfeld resigns– with analysis", in which he reveals the following inside knowledge from the Pentagon:

One of the very smart young officers I know suggests the resignation is political prep for prosecuting the war even more vociferously
Rumsfeld's departure is the first step in an existing plan to increase force levels in Iraq. It is a plan hatched by very smart people in the military, but is based more on poker than on military stratgy. The insurgents will not fold until we call their hand; it must be unquestionable to them that victory is our only acceptable outcome.

My only questions are in regards to the rest of the plan, for which the following two facts may be relevant

  1. The fact that Rumsfeld's resignation was effective immediately
  2. The speedy replacement of Gates on the Iraq Study Group.

Are these clues that Bush might not wait until January?

Has he been waiting only until the elections were over, reminiscent to his decision to wait until the 2004 elections were over before the final Fallujah assult?

But how can he possibly do this without the approval of Congress?

Enter James Baker.

From the WaPo:

But commentators seem more certain of a change in policy than Baker himself, who told ABC News earlier this month that he was "not sure" the Bush White House would follow the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, the panel Baker co-chairs with former Indiana congressman Lee H. Hamilton. Baker has not said what those recommendations might be, only that a "change of course" may be necessary in coming months.

Could this be brilliance? Baker has manged to get the MSM/Left on his side without them knowing precisely what the report is going to say. If it now recommends an increase in force levels there will be support from all sides and no need to get explicit approval from Congress! And your suggestion that Bush admit his mistakes, that a change of course is required, will further increase support!


The above hissed in response by: jp phish [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 5:06 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

JP Phish:

Mea culpa -- now that you remind me of your comment, I'm sure that's what started me thinking that:

  • The Democrats never actually promised, as a party, to demand defeat;
  • Bush may well have come to the conclusion on his own that we don't have enough troops in Iraq;
  • And that he would certainly support increasing the troop level, if his commanders asked for it -- where I do not believe he would ever accept a withdrawl without victory.

I should have given you a hat tip. I'll go back and do so now, and again, my apologies: your comment did indeed start that snowball in my head!


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 5:33 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

Excerpted and linked. Dafydd, I'd love to think W was smart enough to give a speech like that, but if he was he'd have fired Rumsfeld before the election and announced a change in direction then.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 5:44 PM

The following hissed in response by: Paul


That's a great speech. But do you have one Mr. Bush might actually give?

The above hissed in response by: Paul [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 11:00 PM

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