In our house the vote was tied. One ignored the speech, once panned the speech and one thought it did the job.
I am the one who thought it did the job.
First, he nailed the closing.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America, and all who serve her.You may think that is a minor point, but if he hadn't there would have been a lot of complaining about it.
I admit to not having a lot of high expectations, but they were met. He called President George W Bush, which was the right thing to do:
This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush. It's well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one could doubt President Bush's support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security. As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hope for Iraq's future.The President notes that there are those who now question our continuing commitment of forces to Afghanistan, but commits to that fight against al Qaeda.
Now, as we approach our 10th year of combat in Afghanistan, there are those who are understandably asking tough questions about our mission there. But we must never lose sight of what's at stake. As we speak, al Qaeda continues to plot against us, and its leadership remains anchored in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We will disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda, while preventing Afghanistan from again serving as a base for terrorists. And because of our drawdown in Iraq, we are now able to apply the resources necessary to go on offense. In fact, over the last 19 months, nearly a dozen al Qaeda leaders -and hundreds of Al Qaeda's extremist allies-have been killed or captured around the world.He then hits a foot stomper about the fact that international relations are not just about military force.
Indeed, one of the lessons of our effort in Iraq is that American influence around the world is not a function of military force alone.Darned straight. It is time for the US Congress to better fund those other instruments of national power. Enough of this dismissing diplomats as striped pants cookie pushers. They are out in the field, enduring the hardships, but there needs to be more of them, and more technical experts from places like the Department of Homeland Security and Department of the Interior and Department of Justice, helping younger nations do a better job.
Then comes both truth and error:
That effort must begin within our own borders. Throughout our history, America has been willing to bear the burden of promoting liberty and human dignity overseas, understanding its link to our own liberty and security. But we have also understood that our nation's strength and influence abroad must be firmly anchored in our prosperity at home. And the bedrock of that prosperity must be a growing middle class.We have not been willing, throughout our history, "to bear the burden of promoting liberty and human dignity overseas". I don't think that follows from the thinking and actions of the likes of Washington and Jefferson. However, he is spot on about the need for "prosperity at home".
In wrapping up, he honored the Service members and their families and that was good.
I am left with two issues. The first is that I believe that, local caviling notwithstanding, Ambassador Paul Wolfowitz, of whom I am no fan, is correct to suggest that we look to Korea in 1953 as our model for Iraq. It took a long time for Korea to become the strong, democratic nation that it is. In the same way it will take Iraq a long time to become another Korea, but it can become such a nation and all would benefit from that. I would have liked to have seen something about that in the speech.
My second issue is that I am still not sure how, even without the "make it like Korea" suggestion, the President intends to get from here to there.
Regards — Cliff