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Monday, May 24, 2004

On President Bush's speech:

I thought President Bush laid out the facts as they needed to be. He mentioned the five steps to "helping Iraq achieve democracy and freedom." These steps are as follows:

We will hand over authority to a sovereign Iraqi government, help establish security, continue rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, encourage more international support, and move toward a national election that will bring forward new leaders empowered by the Iraqi people.

John Kerry has been accusing the President of lacking any vision on how to turn over the government of Iraq to the Iraqis. The above steps are exactly that - a vision.

The President also told us that there will likely be "more violence before the transfer of sovereignty, and after the transfer of sovereignty. The terrorists and Saddam loyalists would rather see many Iraqis die than have any live in freedom." Again, the president needed to be forthright and say so. No one should have expected a cakewalk, and it should be projected that our leaders don't expect that either. I think President Bush did so in this speech.

The President ended with a sense of purpose:

These two visions -- one of tyranny and murder, the other of liberty and life -- clashed in Afghanistan. And thanks to brave U.S. and coalition forces and to Afghan patriots, the nightmare of the Taliban is over, and that nation is coming to life again. These two visions have now met in Iraq, and are contending for the future of that country. The failure of freedom would only mark the beginning of peril and violence. But, my fellow Americans, we will not fail. We will persevere, and defeat this enemy, and hold this hard-won ground for the realm of liberty.

After all was said and done, I was happy with the speech. However, here is my main objection. The mantra of "liberty and life", the outlines of the successes there, and the moral imperative of the war on terrorism need not be spoken only once per new moon. The president needs to be out there, every day, telling us what is going on, when it is happening, and why it is happening. He needs to emphasize the good that is going on in Iraq - comments such as these:

In preparation for sovereignty, many functions of government have already been transferred. Twelve government ministries are currently under the direct control of Iraqis. The Ministry of Education, for example, is out of the propaganda business, and is now concerned with educating Iraqi children. Under the direction of Dr. Ala'din al-Alwan, the Ministry has trained more than 30,000 teachers and supervisors for the schools of a new Iraq.

All along, some have questioned whether the Iraqi people are ready for self-government, or even want it. And all along, the Iraqi people have given their answer. In settings where Iraqis have met to discuss their country's future, they have endorsed representative government. And they are practicing representative government. Many of Iraq's cities and towns now have elected town councils or city governments - and beyond the violence, a civil society is emerging.

God knows the press isn't going to.

His critics are vocal, and many. If the President so believes in this mission, then he needs to proclaim it from the mountain tops. Such proclamations need to drown out the opportunism of the Kerrys and the vitriole of the Michael Moores. This speech was a good beginning, but it needs to be repeated and reinforced.


.: posted by Dave 9:39 PM

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