Thursday, April 06, 2006

Another speech, another rant.

Today President Bush gave a speech (warning: that link is to the official site of the Whitehouse, and we all know how concerned they are about your privacy so click it at your own risk) at Central Piedmont Community College. Nearly all of the media attention of this event was coverage of a statement to the President given by a hostile audience member. I would like to focus on what the President actually said in his speech.

Todays speech hit on many of the same themes the President has harped upon for the last several years. Therefore this post may seem to cover alot of the same ground already walked over by the liberal blogosphere and myself. However the reason I'm doing this is because I do not believe the President should be allowed to contribute such wrong headed and factually inaccurate commentary to the dialogue without being challenged. This then is my small part to fact check the Presidents speech.

The historical inaccuracies and other delusions in this speech simply are too much to enumerate with one blog post. So I will simply tackle several and quit when I get tired of typing...

Let us begin by examining the Presidents thought process. He says:
I make a lot of decisions. Some of them you see, some of them you don't see. Decision making requires knowing who you are and what you believe. I've learned enough about Washington to know you can't make decisions unless you make them on principle. And once you make a decision based upon principle, you stand by what you decide.
What the President is saying here in effect is who cares about the facts. It's the principle, so who needs debate? Facts are just inconveniences which offer no insight regarding how an issue ought to be decided because the President is dogmatic in pursuit of policy based on principle. This is painfully evident in many areas of his governance, from the war on science (scientists whose findings disagree with administration principles on everything from global warming to birth control have been screaming about this for years) to the war on terror (where pursuit of administration dogma has led to an explosion in the recruitment of terrorists). So in this part of the speech I would actually have to say that the President is correctly describing his thought process, but it is not the strength he seems to think it is.

In regards to how the President is advised so that he can make these principled decisions he says this:
In order to make good decisions, you've got to rely upon good people. People have got to feel comfortable about coming in the Oval Office and tell you what's on their mind. There's nothing worse than people walking in, say, well, I'm a little nervous around the guy, I think I'd better tell him what he thinks he needs to hear.
The President actually gives a very good description of himself in decrying the very way he acts to aides when given the bad news. The President is notoriously incapable of handling the truth if it is contrary to his preset notion of how the situation ought to be. It was fear of Presidential petulance that kept the staff from approaching him with the truth of the matter when hurricane Katrina wiped out New Orleans. Quite simply, as put in this Newsweek article, President Bush has surrounded himself with like minded yes people, and considers disagreement with his policies to be a betrayal. This ambience of hostility towards dissent hardly encourages those with bad news or contrarian views to really speak their mind. So the President makes a good point by disparaging leadership that will not welcome dissent, and in so doing disparages himself.

The President then says:
The biggest decision I've had to make since I've been your President is putting kids in harm's way. It's a decision no President wants to make. It's a decision I wish I did not have to make.
What?! It seems to me that there is overwhelming evidence that shows that the President intended to go to war well before we went. Mainly thanks to the British records keeping which brings us the Downing Street Memos. In order for us to not believe that the President intended to go to war long before all other means had been exhausted, the Downing St. Memo's must be repudiated, and the White House has never even tried to do that.

Frankly when the President claims that all diplomatic means were exhausted and that the invasion of Iraq was a last resort I feel disgusted. War truly should be the Presidents last resort, yet Bush needlessly took America to war, leading to disastrous consequences which we need not have gone through. Later in his speech the President reiterates the lie that he exhausted all other means before being forced to go to war:
And before a President ever commits troops, you got to try diplomacy at all costs. I'm going to say to you what I said before, putting those kids in harm's way is a tough, difficult decision. And nobody should ever want to do it, because I understand fully the consequences of the decision. And so as I told you, I went to the diplomatic route. I was hoping that when the world spoke with that one voice at the United Nations Security Council, Saddam Hussein would see the reason of the free world.
I swear, this man opens his mouth and lie upon lie gushes forth. The facts are as follows. The security council did NOT vote to give the ok for the Iraqi invasion. In fact America and Britain decided not to present the question to the security council after it became apparent that the measure would not pass. There were inspectors in Iraq at the time under U.N. auspices.

For the President to say that he understood the consequences of his decision is flatly false. The understanding of this President and administration was that we would be welcomed as liberators, greeted with flowers, and freedom would spring forth in the Middle East. The President and his yes men advisors clearly did not understand the consequences of their wrong headed decision and the entire nation must now suffer the consequences wrought by these fools.

If President Bush wanted Saddam to see the "reason of the free world", would not Bush have been well served to listen to the free world himself? We disregarded the opinion of the vast majority of the rest of the world by invading Iraq. It really surprises me that President Bush now councils anyone else to listen to world opinion. Maybe before he comments on the mote in the other fellows eye, he should consider the log in his own.

Here's some more sophistry from the President:
Another lesson is, is that we must defeat the enemy overseas so we don't have to face them here again. And that requires a strategy that is offensive in mind: press the enemy, find the enemy, bring the enemy to justice, never relent, never give them quarter, understand you cannot negotiate with these people. You can't rationalize with these people, that you must stay on the hunt and bring them to justice. This is precisely what we're doing.
Any third grader with the slightest grasp on reality could destroy this logic. Fight them over there so we don't face them here? He really means give them Americans to kill over there so they don't kill us here right? He is actually saying that the lives of Americans are more expendable if they spill their blood on foreign lands. I'm afraid that sooner rather than later we will have expended over 3000 lives in Iraq, which will make the casualty list for America in Iraq more than we suffered in 09/11. In the biggest strategic blunder in American history we will have sacrificed more lives than were sacrificed in the event that the President now says led us to war. All in an effort that has strengthened our enemy by exploding their recruitment and providing them with real world training to further train in their evil ways.

How the freak do you think the Iraqi people feel knowing that we have chosen their nation, which had not one iota of involvement with the war on terror prior to our invasion, as a central front in the war on terror. No wonder the vast majority want us gone asap.

This business about press the enemy, never let up, bring him to justice... is really a crock. One small reason that the Iraqi blunder was so disastrous is that we took our eyes off the ball in Afghanistan. Indeed Osama ought to be brought to justice. Duh! So when the President says that he doesn't really pay that much attention to Osama it sort of makes me wonder if he's back to the bottle. And when it turns out Osama is cornered in some mountain range, that would be a keen time to put in the troops we find bogged down in Iraq and bring the perp to justice.

Honestly... the speech the President gives is simply to replete with falsehoods and foo puffery to take apart on a point by point basis. In the interest of not posting a book I'll let the rest of the speech go without comment.

Except to say shame on you Mr. President. Shame.

"I make a lot of decisions. Some of them you see, some of them you don't see. " - President George W. Bush

That quote is an apt description of the President playing 3 card Monty with our Constituional rights!(FISA abuse)

I think from my past posts, you probably can guess that I think that you're making more out of some of these topics than is the case. (My opinion)That said, Bush's 2nd term has been a terrible disappointment to me and many I know.

As you know, I was in favor of going into Iraq but, I am disturbed by how things have gone after the initial invasion.

I certainly agree that Bush and the GOP deserve the horrible approval numbers they suffer with. To the Democrats delight, Bush is so stubbornly standing by his failures. There's a difference between Bush standing on principle and being steadfast in past decisions made with his percieved ultimate authority, calling it principle, and damn any that complain. To the relief of the Republicans, the Dems numbers are not good either and they don't seem to have any kind of cohesive strategy to unite the voters behind them. I think the Democrats will make substantial gains and at least take one house in the next election. It is theirs to lose at this point.

Democrats should not be afraid to run in gerrymandered districts that are usually safe Republican strongholds. I say this as someone that has traditionally voted for many Republicans. *cough* That includes Bush. I think the time is right to take advantage of voter disgust. The question is can the Democrats find themselves and not disgust the Independent votes while pandering to their extremes? Here in Virginia Rep. Thelma Drake-R is super vulnerable in a conservative area. Phil Kellam is running for her seat and at this point is a popular Conservative Democrat. I hope that the upcoming commercials will point out his strengths and her weaknesses and not distort the truth in order to pander to the approval of the core Dem base....what little exists here. That's the point though. Kellam and the Dems can win in Virginia. Just accept the fact that you'll never get a Ted Kennedy or Barbara Boxer here.

Democrats should take a lesson from the past success and current failure of Bush. Americans respect a person that has a vision and stands on true principle. Even if it is slightly differ than the principle we prefer. People are tired of political flipfloppers, panderers, double dealers, and liars. Bush's initial likeability was based on what the public thought was a known quantity and quality. They saw something they thought they could rely on and a potential president that could relate or at least understand the common man despite his position among the social and corporate elite. Americans are dreamers and we can only hope to get someone that is "real".

Being a "Good Democrat" does not mean sucking up to the extreme. It doesn't mean hopping on every leftward spin or talking point. It doesn't mean staying down there with that ship that sank years ago. You can be a decided Dem and still win without that.
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