Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Failure to define victory

I didn’t have a chance to watch President Bush’s speech last night but I did come across this handy summary over at TPM Cafe that distills it all down to its key elements:

“Global war on terror, September the 11th, 2001, terrorists, terrorists , totalitarian ideology , freedom, tyranny,  oppression,   terror, kill, terrorists,   September the 11th, freedom, enemy , war,  terrorists, kill, murderous ideology , terrorism, terrorists, free nation, war on terror, freedom, violence and instability,  dangerous, violence, bloodshed, violence,  sacrifice , war on terror, violence,  killers, freedom, criminal elements, hateful ideology, freedom, liberty,  democracy, terrorists, war on terror, terrorists, Osama Bin Laden, murder and destruction, enemy, terrorists, car bombs, enemy, terrorists,  suicide bomber, enemy, terrorists, violence, terrorists, terrorists, terrorists , freedom, enemies, September the 11th,  Bin Laden,  enemy , free, tyranny, terrorists, anti-terrorist, free, al Qaeda, free nation, terrorists,  terrorists, enemy, terrorists, anti-terrorist  terrorists, terror, enemy, tyranny, enemies, freedom, freedom, ideologies of murder, atrocity, September the 11th 2001, car bombers and assassins, freedom, freedom, flying the flag, freedom, freedom, September the 11th 2001, enemies”.

Seriously though, I think it was unfortunate that Bush did not take my advice and give us a timeline for withdrawing our troops or even defining what he means by “completing the mission.” If by that he means “to find and defeat the terrorists”, then what we have is an open-ended, ongoing military occupation that will never run out of reasons to continue on and on indefinitely.

The NYTimes editorial today sums it up well:

We had hoped that he would seize the moment to tell the nation how he will define victory, and to give Americans a specific sense of how he intends to reach that goal - beyond repeating the same wishful scenario that he has been describing since the invasion.
Sadly, Mr. Bush wasted his opportunity last night, giving a speech that only answered questions no one was asking. He told the nation, again and again, that a stable and democratic Iraq would be worth American sacrifices, while the nation was wondering whether American sacrifices could actually produce a stable and democratic Iraq.

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