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I'll be live-blogging the Oval Office speech by George Bush in this post when it starts in 30 minutes. Keep checking back for updates ...
8:00 -- I wonder what color tie he'll be wearing? I'll be watching this on Fox ...
8:02 - Stressing the launch of a constitutional democracy and an ally in the heart of the Middle East; good point.
8:03 - Found "some capacity" to restart WMD programs but not the weapons themselves. He again took responsibility for the war, but reminds us that we rid the world of a "murderous dictator". "The world is better for it" -- yes, it is.
8:06 - He talks about the nature of the terrorists in plain language. He reminded us that on 9/11, we weren't in Iraq or Afghanistan and the terrorists attacked us anyway.
8:08 - Bush strikes the right notes in acknowledging the criticism of the war and the difficulty in fighting the war, but says that no one in Iraq thinks we're losing, including the terrorists. He's not engaging in triumphalism, although perhaps a bit more about how we're winning might help here.
8:10 - More than 125 Iraqi combat battalions fighting terrorists -- information like that helps.
8:11 - A difference between honest critics and defeatism. Absolutely. But part of fighting defeatism means making more speeches directly to the American people like this.
8:13 - To retreat before victory would be dishonorable. When did that start having to be said aloud?
8:14 - Rejects artificial timelines one more time.
8:15 - Bush asks for patience in pursuing the war. For those who opposed the Iraq War, Bush acknowledged their deeply-felt convictions, but told them that we need to choose between defeat and victory now that we have engaged the enemy. I wonder if they will acknowledge that choice.
8:18 - He finished with a Christmas carol, saying "God is not dead," a religious reference that will not and should not go unnoticed.
All in all, a respectful, smart, and Presidential speech. It's the kind of address we should have heard on a quarterly basis all along -- and then perhaps we would not have had the difficulties we have today. Part humble, part visionary, the obvious message here was that we are winning the war and defeatism makes no sense at this point at all.
8:26 - Watching the Fox coverage, I hear the protestors across from the White House. I recall visiting that spot when I was in DC, and I was struck by the unidirectional nature of the demonstrations (which at the time consisted of just two pretty quiet signwavers). Tonight, the President finally answered back, giving a sophisticated look at the current status of our efforts. He also kept the stakes of defeat front and center: a loss of prestige in world affairs that has proven deadly over the past two decades, and a return to the defensive on terrorism -- meaning we just wait around to get hit again. That shouldn't be acceptable to anyone. While we're engaged with AQ in Iraq -- an undeniable fact -- we should continue to engage them there and destroy them. His calm presentation gives a stark contrast to the sloganeering of the protestors and some opponents in Congress.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin also live-blogged this, with some great commentary. I'm going back to watching the Falcons-Bears game while I check the RSS feeds for tomorrow.Sphere It View blog reactions
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