Assessment of Bush's Speech

You knew I would comment on Bush's latest speech. However, I didn't want to make an immediate response because I wanted ample time to deconstruct the speech and find the points that I agree with and disagree with. Well, after listening to the speech and replaying it on the Internet, I can say that it is the same speech repackaged for his military-type tour. The fact that his biggest applause came when he stated that be was "happy to provide the cadets with a good excuse to miss class..." is very telling.

The other thing I wanted to do is read the 35-page document they released called, "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq". I know experts will comb over the document and give their assessment but I feel that it is the responsibility of anyone who adamantly oppose or supports this war effort to read the document and form their own conclusion. You can get PDF version Click here.

The document outlays several strategies and tries do define victory in Iraq. The document is full of philosophical jargon but is short on specifics. It does state that as we build up the Iraqi security forces, American troops will stand down. However, there are no metrics for success. For example, exactly how many security forces and military brigades will it take to secure and country the size of Iraq? What level of operation readiness will an Iraqi soldier have to achieve before he can replace an American soldier? What is the time required for that soldier to reach that level of readiness? Most importantly, will the central government have control over the security force or will we leave it as it is now where the most qualified soldiers are part of sectarian militias more loyal to their region than they are to the government?

On the political side, the document simply relies on more participation from the Sunni population. Over the course of the year, the Sunni's have taken a bigger role in the political process and that is a good sign. However, the Kurds and the Shiites have shown that only with some arm twisting will they compromise. Time after time they have glossed over the sticking points of the power of the central government and revenue from oil. These issues are still not resolved and can be easily derailed by the increase in sectarian violence. This part is truly outside of the control of the United States so Bush is at the mercy of history and history has not served Iraq well in the past.

On the economic side, the document is truly lacking anything of substance. The Bush document stated that "more than 30,000 new businesses have opened, the country's economy is growing and per-capita economic output is up to nearly $1,000 per person per year. " This is at total odds with the GOA report that the document referenced. Oil capacity, a key to Iraq's economic success is at 1.9 billion barrels a day. That is far short of the 2.6 billion that they were producing several months ago. Electricity production, healthcare system, infrastructure and water production do not have the ability to sustain any economic growth in the country.

The document list a host of challenges but does not mention any strategy for dealing with those challenges. Again, the lack of metrics. What the American people want is to know how far along in the process are we to a defined goal. Is success Iraq producing 10 billion barrels a day or 5 billion barrels? How much electricity is required to note that the electrical grid is up to par to support economic growth? To say that their are challenges is an understatement. But what the Bush Administration produced was a campaign book that has more to do with the political difficulties here in the US than it does with the rebuilding of Iraq.

Honestly, for the Iraqi people sake, I hope this works out for them. It will take some time but for the Bush Administration to have the audacity to produce a 35-page document that entails the success of that country is silly idea. To date, the talking points have not worked and this won't work either.

My assessment is that Bush has once again dropped the ball. Until he is able to provide measures of success and define success outside of philosophical bullet-points, then America will continue to have to pour billions of dollars per month to cover his mistake.


2 Responses to Assessment of Bush's Speech

  1. Cynthia Says:
    Where is the link to the PDF file?
  2. James Manning Says:
    click on the "here"