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June 28, 2005
Bush Speech: Live Blog

7:00 - The audience is coming to attention as Bush walks across the stage. He looks a bit nervous but as soon as he got to the podium, he looks happy to face this audience.

7:03 - He underscores Iraq as one phase of the overall war on terror, vowing that terrorists will not chase us from the battle with a couple of blows.

7:06 - It appears to me that the soldiers at Fort Bragg have orders not to react. Bush has not paused much in his delivery, as he normally would if he expected applause or cheers, such as a stump speech. His pace, therefore, is better than normal.

7:10 - He will not allow defeat on his watch -- nice touch.

7:11 - Notes that only a year ago, Iraqi sovereignty was restored. Notes that progress has been uneven but has kept moving forward. Int'l orgs and nations have pledged $34 billion for reconstruction. Security forces has 160,000 men trained and equipped, and have led a major operation to clear out terrorists from Baghdad. Eight million people voted in the elections. None of this should be news to Americans, but the reminder is what is needed.

7:14 - The strategy has a political track and a military track. Broad outlines of the plan as it has existed all along.

7:16 - Bush stresses the international components of the coalition, underscoring the dozens of nations participating in the war.

7:17 - Three new tactics: partnering coalition units with Iraqi units, working with new Iraqi intelligence service, working closely with the Iraqi ministries on stabilization.

7:18 - "We've learned that Iraqis are courageous."

7:20 - Good explanation, again in broad strokes, why timelines and exit strategies only work for retreats. "It sends the wrong message to the Iraqi people" -- well, yeah. It reminds them of 1991, primarily.

7:21 - Also a good point about sending more troops. If we continue to escalate our numbers, it starts looking like a permanent occupation -- and it will discourage the Iraqis from standing up for themselves.

7:23 - Eliminate the environments that create the "ideology of murder", a good way to avoid the mention of Islam in any negative connotation, yet still remain accurate.

7:24 - "The terrorists do not understand America" ... They understand some Americans, however.

7:25 - "We fight in Iraq because the terrorists want to kill Americans, and Iraq is where they have made their stand."

7:27 - Find a way to thank the military - check this site.

7:30 - A good finish to the speech; it looks like he started to choke up when he talked about the high calling of a military career. He spoke for almost exactly 30 minutes, giving a good presentation.

I wish he had given more specifics about the reconstruction -- as Beam suggests in the comments, how many schools we've rebuilt, how much electricity restored, and so on. He had an opportunity to talk above the heads of the media filters here, and it's a shame he missed it. Nevertheless, he didn't sugar coat the issues on the ground and he talked about the necessity of seeing it through.

7:35 - Mort Kondracke on Fox thinks it's one of the best speeches on the war that Bush has given. He calls it rich in content; I agree.

7:37 - Mara Liasson (NPR) also gives it good marks, and points out that this isn't a make-or-break moment for Bush, but simply time for him to address the nation on this issue.

7:39 - Brit Hume asks John Warner about the so-called flypaper strategy, and Warner lashes out at quagmire talk.

7:43 - Added link above to MoveOnPAC's astroturfing site for people who can't write their own letters to newspaper editors.

7:46 - General Wesley Clark now on Fox ... He gives Bush credit for addressing the strategic issues, but faults him for not addressing some of the specifics of bombing rates. He worries that we're creating terrorists -- if we weren't in Iraq, we wouldn't have the number of terrorists we have now. In one breath, he says that terrorists can't get to the Americans in Afghanistan because we're hard to get to, and then he says we should send more troops to Afghanistan. As always, Clark is mostly incoherent on this point.

7:52 - At least Clark refuses to drink the "exit strategy" Kool-Aid, but he wants the Bush administration to give Americans the statistics on bombings and attacks in the future. Don't we get plenty of that from the media already? Has anyone missed that data?

7:58 - Carl Cameron says the 82nd Airborne left the auditorium "very enthusiastic". The Fox gang emphasizes that more engagement from the President on the war with the nation is needed -- and I agree. Glenn Reynolds thinks that this speech indicates more will follow, and I hope he's correct. And thanks for the link, Glenn.

8:02 - John McCain - "Bush laid out a clear exit strategy - when the Iraqis can take over, we will leave."

8:05 - McCain on the rhetoric coming from Senator Kennedy, et al: "It's a free country." Okay ... On Durbin: "He hurt his own party ... He apologized ... I'm a great believer in redemption." Okay ... I guess comity is the highest value.

8:07 - McCain defends the MOU: "I don't think you will see a filibuster on a Supreme Court nominee."

8:14 - Oh, goody. Charles Rangel is on the tube now. Time to get a beer.

8:15 - Damn. No beer. And now Rangel claims that Bush planned to kill Saddam before 9/11. If so, he didn't do much about it -- his national-security plan only mentioned tightening the sanctions in place. Rangel says that Bush should go to Europe to get them to take over -- when they haven't even done that in Europe, in Kosovo, which has Truck fascinated at the moment.

8:22 - Newt Gingrich: This was a rational, fact-based speech. He thinks that people will see a "calm, steady purposefulness."

8:27 - Great point by Gingrich on the idea of this being Bush's war -- that undermines the entire American system. Congress authorized the war, it authorized the funding; this is an American war against a deadly enemy. He also rips Durbin's remarks as "destructive as any I've heard".

I think that just about closes out the reaction for the speech. Again, I think Bush did a very good job, with just a few missed opportunities. Check my trackbacks for further reactions, and thank you for hanging in there with me tonight.

UPDATE: Get more reaction at PoliPundit and PrairiePundit.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 28, 2005 6:47 PM

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