BUSH: "In all three aspects of our strategy — security, democracy, and reconstruction — we have learned from our experiences, and fixed what has not worked."
REALITY CHECK: Eight months before the Iraqi invasion, a British government official reported in a secret memo that the Bush administration had "fixed the intelligence and facts around the policy" of removing Saddam Hussein. Beyond that, it is difficult to see what else the Bushies have fixed vis-a-vis Iraq. Last year, Kenneth M. Pollack of the Brookings Institution offered this prescription for U.S. strategy in Iraq: "To date, U.S. forces have concentrated on chasing insurgents and protecting themselves .... these pale in comparison with the need to provide basic security for the Iraqi people. Today, the fear of common crime and attacks committed by those who seek to undermine the course of the reconstruction are the single greatest impediments to Iraq's economic and political reconstruction. This will likely require the commitment of more American forces, or a significant shift in U.S. policy to secure additional foreign forces ..." What evidence exists that U.S. commanders in Iraq have "fixed" this situation?
BUSH: "I know that some of my decisions have led to terrible loss — and not one of those decisions has been taken lightly. I know this war is controversial — yet being your president requires doing what I believe is right and accepting the consequences."
REALITY CHECK: Whatever Americans may think of how the war in Iraq is progressing, Bush asks them to give him some credit for doing what he "believe[s] is right and accepting the consequences." First, if the president truly believed that waging war against Iraq was noble even in the absence of WMDs, he would not have based his pre-invasion justification around WMDs -- a case his administration so clearly misrepresented. Second, it's rather outrageous that Bush suggests that he is the one "accepting the consequences" of his administration's decisions. The 2,150-plus soldiers who have died in Iraq remind us that the most tragic consequences of Bush's decisions have been borne by thousands of other people and their surviving family members.
BUSH: "Today in Iraq, seven in 10 Iraqis say their lives are going well — and nearly two-thirds expect things to improve even more in the year ahead. Despite the violence, Iraqis are optimistic — and that optimism is justified."
REALITY CHECK: Bush is highlighting select portions of a poll taken earlier this month. Which results did the prez neglect to mention from this poll? By a nearly 2-to-1 margin, Iraqis voiced a preference for a single, powerful leader over democracy. Even looking ahead to what their country would need five years from now, Iraqis' support for a democratic form of government climbed no higher than 45 percent.
BUSH: "The terrorists will continue to have the coward’s power to plant roadside bombs and recruit suicide bombers."
REALITY CHECK: Yes, and their recruiting efforts may be enhanced because of the way Bush chose to conclude his speech on Sunday night. "God is not dead," said Bush, ".... the Wrong shall fail, the Right prevail ..." This kind of language plays right into the hands of jihadists who want to portray the Iraqi occupation as part of a wider, religious holy war.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Unknown | Monday, December 19, 2005 |