Bush outlines victory strategy
Continuing his effort to get caught up with long-overdue tasks, President Bush today presented a clear-cut plan to achieve victory over terrorists in Iraq, and the greater Middle East. The highlight of his speech at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis today was when he declared with sincere, deep emotion: "America will not cut and run from car bombers and assassins so long as I am commander in chief." Wow! In conjunction with the President's speech, the National Security Council released National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, available (as PDF) from whitehouse.gov. For me, the most notable aspect is the way that the various processes (or "tracks") -- political, security, and economic -- are integrated with each other. (The link between security and economic policy is my own research specialty.) The strategies devoted to each of those tracks are based on clear, sensible assumptions, and are tied to each other in a logical fashion. The document rightly points out that no war has ever been won "on a timetable," and neither will this one. Likewise, "The terrorists have identified Iraq as central to their global aspirations." Like German, Italian, and Japanese fascists in World War II, the Islamo-fascists cannot be satisfied until they have achieve world domination. Prevailing over them will require sustained effort on the part of all Americans. Let honest debate among us proceed!
The speech has already had a very positive effect on the home front: Sen. John Kerry is scrambling to jump on board the victory bandwagon, rapidly shifting rhetorical gears. Only two weeks ago, Kerry had made a speech responding to Bush's Veteran's Day speech (text HERE) that was filled with distortions of fact and calumnies against the President, leaving no room whatsoever for building mutual trust, which is absolutely essential. Reasonable people can disagree about where the errors in intelligence lay, but Kerry simply refuses to accept any other interpretations or premises than his own. Unless Bush and the Republicans admit they were all wrong about Iraq, Kerry will refuse to negotiate. Meanwhile, Rep. Nancy Pelosi disparaged Bush's speech as warmed over "stew," declining the opportunity to respond with something positive. The close-mindedness of Kerry, Pelosi, and many Democrats is a classic sign of defeatism: Ironically, by spreading defeatist sentiment in this country, they have made defeat for their own party in next year's elections much more likely. The American people may be fickle and only semi-attentive to world events, but they're not so stupid as to fall for the rhetoric of the war opponents.