The Speech We Needed Nine Months Ago
Bush finally did what he needed to do. He gave a speech that set the tone for the remaining portion of the Iraq War that laid out the course of the next few years. The bottom line, of course, was that we can't leave Iraq until the Iraqis can hold territory and interdict anti-democratic forces on their own. And we're getting there.
Of course, Harry Reid, before the speech was even over, characterized it as a recycled version of older talking points. But Reid offers nothing more than his usual "no". The Democrats have failed to offer any vision other than "George Bush is Wrong". And that's a positive for the President, as he gets the opportunity to win the war of ideas.
The speech, which was a success, along with the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq that has been released, will go a long way towards changing the nature of the debate about Iraq from one of pullout to one of completion.
Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) did us no favors by calling for an overnight pullout of Iraq. But with a strategy set forth, the President now has a substantive basis from which to argue for the completion of our mission in Iraq.
The problem was that Bush has staked his presidency on Iraq, but he was doing nothing to sell it to America. In the absence of progess reports, at best, people believed that nothing was happening. At worst, they believed the media's miserably anti-U.S., anti-military and anti-democracy reporting. With Bush on the offensive in the message game, he stands a very good chance of reviving support for completing the mission.
His speech indicated that it was only the first in a series of messages about Iraq progress. One would hope that it is the first in an ongoing bombardment of reports from the Administration about the successes we are seeing. Because while the "party of no" and their media cohorts offer no positive ideas other than a complete surrender to terrorists, when they are the only ones reporting, it becomes hard for public resolve for the war to hold.
In all, a good first step, and a necessary step towards bringing the War to a completion in Iraq.