Wednesday, June 29, 2005So I read Bush's speech. We'll stay the course, things in Iraq are great, Iraq = 9/11, blah blah blah. I'll leave it to the likes of Juan Cole to parse the details of what the Shrub said. There was very new little of substance to the speech, whatver the likes of Powerline have to say.
What I find more disturbing than the speech itself was the reaction of the press. I was watching the CNN coverage this morning. They didn't dwell on the facts of the issue: Bush's proposals and the situation on the ground. Instead there were polls and discussion about what the reaction to the speech was. When did it become the media's job to report not what is true but what is perceived to be true?
There are two items I'd like to cover. First, this issue of whether or not there should be a timetable for withdrawal. Bush & Co. think that there shouldn't be because it would send a message that we are not in it for the long haul - all the rebels have to do is wait us out. There is some logic to this, but it neglects the possibility that the citizens of Iraq might like to know when we are leaving, if ever. The talk of permanent U.S. bases may not be on the radar screen here, but I'm willing to bet it's a little bigger of an issue over there.
Second, I want to reply to Captain's Quarters, a conservative blog that went at the editorial criticisms of Bush's speech. Hargues that 1) there is a link between Iraq and 9/11, given Saddam's links to terrorists, and 2) that building a democratic Iraq and fighting terrorists are part of one overall strategy.
I find this persistent confusion between Iraq and terrorism bizarre. The links between Saddam and terrorist were tenuous at best. If this is your criteria, why not go after countries with a much closer relationship to Al Qaeda, like Iran or Syria? And if your goal is to reduce terrorism, why inflame anti-American passions in an attempt to create what may be a democratic regime that might be supportive of the U.S.? It's an awfully circuitous route to a nearby goal.
And of course there Captain Ed's failure to point out that the link between Iraq and 9/11 has an important domestic political purpose for Bush. Do he just not think of it, or does he not want to mention it?