President’s Address to the Nation
President Bush gave an Address to the Nation last night taking responsibility for the mistakes made in Iraq and yet not only promising that we would win but asserting that we are winning.
This election will not mean the end of violence. But it is the beginning of something new: constitutional democracy at the heart of the Middle East. And this vote — 6,000 miles away, in a vital region of the world — means that America has an ally of growing strength in the fight against terror.
Some look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude that the war is lost, and not worth another dime or another day. I don’t believe that. Our military commanders do not believe that. Our troops in the field, who bear the burden and make the sacrifice, do not believe that America has lost. And not even the terrorists believe it. We know from their own communications that they feel a tightening noose, and fear the rise of a democratic Iraq.
The terrorists will continue to have the coward’s power to plant roadside bombs and recruit suicide bombers. And you will continue to see the grim results on the evening news. This proves that the war is difficult — it doesn’t mean that we are losing. Behind the images of chaos that terrorists create for the cameras, we are making steady gains with a clear objective in view.
Glenn Reynolds makes the interesting observation that the president is “doubling down.”
Bush went out of his way to take responsibility for the war. He repeatedly talked about “my decision to invade Iraq,” even though, of course, it was also Congress’s decision. He made very clear that, ultimately, this was his war, and the decisions were his.
Why did he do that? Because he thinks we’re winning, and he wants credit. By November 2006, and especially November 2008, he thinks that’ll be obvious, and he wants to lay down his marker now on what he believed — and what the other side did.
It looks like the opposition is willing to see his raise and call him. For example, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi responded: “Tonight the president acknowledged more of the mistakes he has made in Iraq, but he still does not get it. Iraq did not present an imminent threat to the security of the United States before he began his war of choice.”
Interestingly, though, Sen. Teddy Kennedy sounded a more cautious note: “It’s wrong for him to silence his critics by calling them defeatists. Every American Ã¢€” including those that thought this war should never have been fought Ã¢€” understands that we have no choice for own security but to win in Iraq.”