I wasn't going to waste my time with the latest Bush speech. One, I didn't see his address because it came on while the Bears were thrashing the Falcons. I figured I've heard the speech a thousand times before and I wouldn't miss anything. However, a fellow blogger, Miss Chatterbox, has taken me to task on the speech and requested that I give my input on it. So, rather than burden her readers with my leftist opinion, I'll post it on my blog and send her a link.
I read the speech a couple of times because I just wanted to be sure I would do the man's text some justice with a fair assessment. The first part of the speech was basically the same thing we've been hearing since the war started and there was nothing new. He invoked 9/11, which he always does, so there is not story there.
A new twist was the fact that he admitted that the intelligence was faulty. I will give him credit here because he has met me half way on my criticism. What is left to answer is what happened to the intelligence that contradicted the faulty intelligence that he used to justify the war? It would seem to me that if the intelligence he used was faulty then the intelligence he didn't use was accurate. So how did he come to use the intelligence that he used? But I won't labor this point.
Another thing he did in the speech was site a poll that showed that 70% of the Iraqis believe that things are going well in Iraq. Well, lets look at the results of the entire poll and I'll let you judge for yourself:
Preference for a democratic political structure has advanced, to 57 percent of Iraqis, while support for an Islamic state has lost ground, to 14 percent (the rest, 26 percent, chiefly in Sunni Arab areas, favor a "single strong leader.")
Fewer than half, 46 percent, say the country is better off now than it was before the war. And half of Iraqis now say it was wrong for U.S.-led forces to invade in spring 2003, up from 39 percent in 2004.
The number of Iraqis who say things are going well in their country overall is just 44 percent, far fewer than the 71 percent who say their own lives are going well. Fifty-two percent instead say the country is doing badly. Fewer than half, 46 percent, say the country is better off now than it was before the war. And half of Iraqis now say it was wrong for U.S.-led forces to invade in spring 2003, up from 39 percent in 2004.
The number of Iraqis who say things are going well in their country overall is just 44 percent, far fewer than the 71 percent who say their own lives are going well. Fifty-two percent instead say the country is doing badly. (source)
There is a lot of cherry picking available in those poll results so Bush simply decided to showcase the positive and discard the negative (he has a habit of doing that.)
Overall, the speech was standard Administrative rhetoric package in the glow of the Oval Office and in the shadow of the Iraqi election. I think the assessment of the speech is the same as the one I made on December 1, when he spoke in front of the Cadets. As a matter of fact, since Bush is using a template for his speeches, I can be confidence that my assessment of that speech will hold true for upcoming speeches and that is what I will refer to from now on - unless things change.
Bush Allows Spying on US Citizens:
To make this post more interesting and to spark some debate. Why don't we interject the spying of the NSA on Americans. From what I've read, the government has the power to do this but it is something that is normally carried out by the FBI and a warrant is required. So, the question is not whether the government can do this - the larger question is does the Executive branch have the power to order this without a means for oversight? The next part of this discussion is what was Congress thinking? They were informed that this was happening so why didn't they object? I think this is bigger than Bush and the war on terror. It is about the extent of Executive power.
1. Does the President have the right to allow spying on US citizens without obtaining a warrant first?
2. Current law states that spying on US citizens is carried out by the FBI. Does the President have the right to involve NSA in such operations even when the law forbids it?
3. Are there any limits on the Executive branch to order operations that involve national security?