February 15, 2007

Bush At AEI

Since I'm under the weather today, I figured I'd watch President Bush give what's billed as an "important address" in the global war on terror to the American Enterprise Institute.

9:07 - He invokes Jeane Kirkpatrick and endorses the policy of the "universality of freedom". I'd say he will return to the focus on democratization ...

9:10 - He says he welcomes debate on wartime strategy, but that we should all agree that it is better to fight terrorists overseas on their turf rather than here on ours. Bush also went into a review of the cells discovered in other nations, and that those examples should prompt us to recognize that terrorists have not given up.

9:12 - Bush chose the surge strategy because it provides the best chance of success in Iraq. He's arguing why success is important, but that may no longer be the operative question. His critics have claimed that success is impossible, and Bush needs to make the argument that success is not only possible, but attainable.

9:16 - He makes the point that Congress has spent the last few weeks endorsing the new commander for the theater and then opposing the commander's strategy for victory. It sends an odd message, certainly, although Bush endorses their right to publicly dissent from his plan.

9:18 - He's turning to Afghanistan now, and this is probably why the White House has underscored the importance of this speech. Bush has been criticized for making Afghanistan a forgotten theater after the Iraq invasion. Bush says that it's important to ensure that terrorists do not gain a toehold anywhere.

9:21 - Hamid Karzai appointed a woman as a regional governor. That's interesting; I missed that front-page story from the New York Times. Oh, wait ...

9:23 - Our enemies struck back in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon; they're going to strike out wherever they find freedom and liberty on the march. It's a good point, and it recalls that we are in a war, not a series of police investigations. Enemies have offensives, too.

9:27 - Five key goals: Increase Afghanistan's security forces. Improve human intelligence networks. Where were the other three?

9:30 - I'm not sure why this speech got so much attention. There's nothing much new here, and it's one of Bush's poorest performances on the stump. He sounds like he's ad-libbing a great deal of the speech, and he's not a good enough speaker to do it.


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