Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Iraq Is Still Important

Very seldom do I ever watch a Presidential speech live, or listen on radio or internet, because the delivery has as much to do with style as it does with substance. No President gives this kind of speech on the fly anyway; it's all prepared. I might as well stand in front of the mirror and watch myself reading the text to myself. My speaking style is like President Bush's, but without the Texas twang. I have a tendency to stumble around and even create new words when speaking to groups of people. Thus I avoid group communication as much as possible.

I guess that's why I like the President: Because he reminds me of me. And most of the time, he seems unconcerned with how a lot of people feel about him. That is another quality that he and I share. Once I had someone express admiration for me because of it. (Donkey said something similar in the movie Shrek.) Well, naturally. You can't please everyone, so don't bother trying.

Opinion polls as of late have indicated that public support for the US presence in Iraq is waning. I don't hold much stock in opinion polls, primarily because no one has ever asked me to take part in one. Most people would probably tell you the same thing. What good is a poll if it only reveals the opinions of a few people? President Bush doesn't rely on opinion polls the way that President Clinton did, which is a good thing, because the polls always seem to favor the Leftward side of the political spectrum. Nevertheless, as polls have trended away from support for the Iraq war and mainstream punditry leans in the same direction, now is as good a time as any for the President to come forward and remind the American people of why our troops are over there and how things are developing in that regard.

And so, for the reasons outline above, I waited until this morning to read the speech on the White House's web site. Critics of the President often suggest that he either doesn't know what is going on, or doesn't care what is going on. This speech puts the lie to both. He makes a number of points showing the importance of the Iraq campaign and the progress that is being made on that front.

First off, he tells us why we are fighting the War On Terror, and who started it (and it wasn't him, no matter what the Left says):

The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror. The war reached our shores on September the 11th, 2001. The terrorists who attacked us -- and the terrorists we face -- murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent. Their aim is to remake the Middle East in their own grim image of tyranny and oppression -- by toppling governments, by driving us out of the region, and by exporting terror.
Middle Eastern terrorists have been a problem for over thirty years. The Iranian hostage crisis happened in 1979. The Olympic Games in Munich were marred by terrorists in 1972. I could point out a number of incidents that have happened since then. But the 2001 destruction of American lives was by far the worst sort of attack perpetrated by the foe and deserved a greater response than we had been able to give in the past. They have been at it for years, and they are still out there:
To achieve these aims, they have continued to kill -- in Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Bali, and elsewhere. The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent, and with a few hard blows they can force us to retreat. They are mistaken. After September the 11th, I made a commitment to the American people: This nation will not wait to be attacked again. We will defend our freedom. We will take the fight to the enemy.
So what would we rather have: American troops fighting on the other side of the world, with less than two-thousand dead after just over two years; or American civilians defending their homes from terrorists and thousands more dead on American soil? Seems pretty obvious to me. You don't negotiate with these people. You hunt them out and destroy them before they can come here and kill us. Afghanistan was a good start, because that was where Bin Laden was known to be based. Iraq was convenient because the terrain isn't a difficult to deal with as Afghanistan, and because we were a dozen years overdue in getting rid of Saddam Hussein.
Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war. Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women, and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, in Washington, and Pennsylvania. There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home. The commander in charge of coalition operations in Iraq -- who is also senior commander at this base -- General John Vines, put it well the other day. He said: "We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us."
Notice how the reasons that the President gives for involvement in Iraq have nothing to do with WMDs. That was never the sole reason for going in, no matter what the critics say:
Our mission in Iraq is clear. We're hunting down the terrorists. We're helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror. We're advancing freedom in the broader Middle East. We are removing a source of violence and instability, and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren.
This is important. The sooner that the threat is neutralized -- by which I mean "completely eliminated" -- the sooner we can enjoy a world at peace. This is a time when we can only establish peace by waging war. Ridding the planet of terrorist ideology is the best way of ensuring a peaceful world for future generations.

The President does not revel in the loss of American lives, which is another frequent criticism leveled by the Left:
The work in Iraq is difficult and it is dangerous. Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed. Every picture is horrifying, and the suffering is real. Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it, and it is vital to the future security of our country. And tonight I will explain the reasons why.
Were there terrorists in Iraq before we went over there? Yes, but not as many as there have been since we went in. They are drawn like flies to a dungheap. Getting the US out of the Middle East is more important to them that attacking Americans at home. Where are they all coming from?
Some of the violence you see in Iraq is being carried out by ruthless killers who are converging on Iraq to fight the advance of peace and freedom. Our military reports that we have killed or captured hundreds of foreign fighters in Iraq who have come from Saudi Arabia and Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and others. They are making common cause with criminal elements, Iraqi insurgents, and remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime who want to restore the old order. They fight because they know that the survival of their hateful ideology is at stake. They know that as freedom takes root in Iraq, it will inspire millions across the Middle East to claim their liberty, as well. And when the Middle East grows in democracy and prosperity and hope, the terrorists will lose their sponsors, lose their recruits, and lose their hopes for turning that region into a base for attacks on America and our allies around the world.
There is plenty more, and unlike most Presidential speeches, is well worth reading top to bottom. The Left won't be swayed by it, and the media will find plenty of points to criticize over the next couple of days. Just remember that this speech was made by a guy who actually knows what's going on, and is more interested in facts than opinions.

1 comment:

Honnistaibe said...

We have a President who views himself as a leader and is trying to provide true leadership contrasted with those who try to rule by appealing to focus groups. I believe he's doing a great job and history will judge him thusly.