The Pres’ words

The Pres’ words
: He’s no Tony Blair, but Bush had strong words tonight on Iraq:

America’s commitment to freedom in Iraq is consistent with our ideals and required by our interests. Iraq will either be a peaceful, democratic country or it will again be a source of violence, a haven for terror and a threat to America and to the world….

As I have said to those who have lost loved ones, we will finish the work of the fallen.

America’s armed forces are performing brilliantly, with all the skill and honor we expect of them. We’re constantly reviewing their needs. Troop strength now and in the future is determined by the situation on the ground. If additional forces are needed, I will send them. If additional resources are needed, we will provide them….

Now is the time, and Iraq is the place, in which the enemies of the civilized world are testing the will of the civilized world. We must not waver….

Yet, in this conflict, there is no safe alternative to resolute action. The consequences of failure in Iraq would be unthinkable.

Every friend of America in Iraq would be betrayed to prison and murder, as a new tyranny arose. Every enemy of America in the world would celebrate, proclaiming our weakness and decadence, and using that victory to recruit a new generation of killers.

We will succeed in Iraq.

Good speechwriter. Things didn’t stay quite so stentorian when the Q&A began, of course.

: WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Fred Wilson fisks the Pres.

  • Mike

    Yes, we will succeed. It will be tough, but we will succeed. We will succeed even though our president misled us as to why we invaded Iraq to begin with. We will succeed even though he and his administration planned horribly for the aftermath of the war. We will succeed even though he has failed miserably.

  • PilotCman

    He seemed to say the same sentance over and over again and never really responded to the questions.

  • michael

    I don’t understand his refusal to simply say “I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to prevent this (9/11) from happening” He was given ample opportunity to apologize to the people. Its not a sign of weakness – its a sign of humility, honesty, humanity.
    I’m not saying he was personally responsible. But it seems like the smart, honest, and yes, even Christian thing to do: as leader of our country, he should just tell us how sorry he is.

  • rick

    I dunno, PilotCman, I kinda got the impression he was his usual down-to-earth self. I mean, he said something like, ‘maybe I can’t talk so well but here’s what I’m saying’ – and then he went and made his point.
    Alot of us regular guys really like that kind of honesty; last public speaking I did I couldn’t breathe through the first couple paragraphs, in a room full of people I didn’t know. ‘Course, he IS the Prez, and he SHOULD do better, but I really feel like he made all of the important points tonght.
    And to regular guys, the important points are:
    We will stay the course.
    We will not let the sacrifices our people have made, and are making, be in vain.
    We will persevere.
    We will win.
    That’s good stuff for us regular guys to hear.

  • rick

    I have to put it in perspective, Michael. If I came into a failing company, and was trying to re-invigorate the manufacturing processes and procedures from the previous administrations lack of care, the last thing I would do – or feel like I HAD to do – would be to apologize. Especially three years out from the changeover, with a scad of successes behind me.
    I’d change, I’d adjust; I’d run with many or even most of the programs the previous admin had left me with ( to preserve continuity, and to get a feel for what was what )and then change these things as I saw fit, to meet my own vision.
    I’d replace those that needed replacing; reassign those that were in the wrong positions – but it takes time, it takes knowledge.
    Is the knowledge that the individual I’m replacing, and he downloads to me, of any worth? In my experience (depending on the circumstances), not often. You have to make your own assesments, your own judgements, adjustments, etc.
    It takes a little time. Not much time, because you have to PERFORM. Fast. But it does take time.
    So, from my own experience, I’m inclined to give the POTUS a break – and high marks for a damn good job, seeing what he had to work with when he came into the job.
    Just one guy’s opinion.

  • bankerboy

    to the guy who’s waiting for the prez to apologize…..don’t hold your breath. your infantile expectation exposes a need for child-like remedies. we hired the prez not to offer child-like remedies. he’s got the world’s most powerful machine to operate right now, so please excuse him if he’s too busy to accommodate your sophmoric requirements. boo hoo.

  • Mike

    Oh yeah, Bankerboy, you really nailed that one head-on. He’s too busy — that’s why he won’t apologize. Oh please.

  • bankerboy

    it’s not just that he’s too busy to apologize, it’s more because sad, spineless whiners don’t deserve it.

  • Steven M

    I don’t get this part of Bush’s remarks:
    “Iraq … will again be a source of violence, a haven for terror and a threat to America and to the world ….”
    With no links to Al-Qaeda and no WMD, how was Iraq ever going to be a threat to America in most of our lifetimes?
    Those who protested in the streets against the war don’t speak for me. I do not agree with those who say that everything that is wrong with the world is the fault of America, capitalism, globalism, or racism. We can’t simply withdraw from the world, or vote in pacifists as leaders.
    I know that Saddam has always been a monster and Oil for Food was a sham. Even with the events of April 2004, most Iraqis might be better off than if the USA had not invaded. The only basis for this optimism is the feelings of of resilience and strength that I sense, reading blogs written by Iraqis.
    But I am still annoyed about the Bush administration’s use of these two threats, both in advance of last year’s invasion, and the continued references to them today.

  • Mork

    I’m sorry, Jeff, but haven’t we gone a little past the point at which we should be satisfied with stirring rhetoric and nicely burnished phraseolgy?
    Doesn’t it trouble you that Bush is unable to say anything specific in these settings about anything?
    His answer to any question is always to reach for stock incantations about “resolve” and “toughness” and what a fine thing freedom is … but he never goes on to translate the rhetoric into actual steps that he intends to take. At what point does it cease to be enough that he tells us that he has a plan. At what point do you feel that you ought to ask what it actually contains?
    I didn’t see any evidence that he actually understands the nature of the problem or has any real plan for dealing with it.

  • rick

    I think it’s more about the REGION, not the specific country. If this region is left to continue to produce and export it’s terrorisistic, nihlistic, anti-every-other-religion-or-persuasion cup of poison, we will all reap the whirlwind. This generation, next generation – this is the beginning of a great preventive measure, the kind we couldn’t take pre-9/11 – but we sure can take now.
    Progress is being made. The surrounding authoritarian regimes are nervous. If this was the real reason to go to war, it would never have been palatable to the press, the public, the world.
    But this IS the real reason we went to war. To ensure the safety of this, and continuing, generations of tolerant, life-loving, free people.

  • Hank

    Is it me or is he the worst Pres. EVER when it comes to press conferences? He just mumbled and fumbled almost every question and rarely, if ever, answered the question directly. Mustard gas and Turkey? What? Where in the hell did that come from? Suicider? I mean this in the most nicest ways but he really needs someone to sit him down and tell him that he needs some help with his vocabulary because it really is painfull to watch him talk. Isn’t there some talking “coach” they could hire for him. It’s just so disarming to see him just “star gaze” for every answer.

  • Doctor Slack

    Yep, he sure does have some great speechwriters and strong words (at least until there’s no script to follow). That’s been working out well so far, hasn’t it?
    I think bankerboy should join his re-election team, though, definitely. Picture it if you will: Bush in 2004: Even Though you Sad, Spineless Whiners Don’t Deserve Him. It’s poetry.

  • michael

    yeah, thanks for the sound logic and intelligent rhetoric, bankerboy. you’ve really inspired me to re-think my position.
    /I just love the level of critical discourse blogs empower/

  • Trump

    Why should Bush apologize?

  • Trump

    Bush has nothing to apologize for. If he believes that he acted properly pre 9/11, what would his apology be for exactly? A general apology because 9/11 happened? Why the FU*K should he apologize for the actions of terrorists?
    Here’s what losers like Oliver Willis and the media liberal elites wanted: They wanted a Bush apology so they could go about the business of tarring him with the blame for 9/11. They wanted a nice juicy headline.
    Incidentally, I have yet to hear calls for Clinton or Gore to apologize for the Cole, the 1st Trade Center Attack, etc.

  • Sandy P

    –Doesn’t it trouble you that Bush is unable to say anything specific in these settings about anything? —
    What pol says anything specific in these settings?

  • Mork

    Just to pluck a recent example out of the air: find the transcript of any Clinton press conference and compare the level of detail in the answers.
    Jeez – Bush really has succeeded in reducing people’s expectations to zero.

  • John

    Look, if you really want to see Bush mangle and attempt to beat the English language into submission, go find a tape of his 10/16/98 Texas gubernatorial debate with Garry Mauro in El Paso. Brutal.
    However, I doubt there are too many voters out there who are going to based their final decision on who to cast their ballot for in November on syntax, even if his opponent does have the stentorian tones of a 1940s network radio announcer. On substance, Bush was able to state his case in the introductory speech, and cmobined with Ashcroft’s pre-emptive nuclear strike on Jamie Gorelick during the afternoon session of the Sept. 11 hearings, made this a pretty decent day for the president.

  • Mork

    It’s not the mangling, John, its the sheer vacuousness of what he has to say.
    He seems to think that the only issues on which he is answerable are his values and the strength of his resolve.

  • Sortelli

    So, have you decided if you like Kerry yet, Mork? I hear he served in Vietnam. ;)

  • Mork

    Sortelli, when are you going to start writing your own jokes?
    As for Kerry, well, let’s just say that I’d feel a lot better about him if John McCain would agree to be his VP. But I liked his Washington Post op-ed yesterday.

  • I have a serious question. Does anyone else think that the President is overly medicated?

  • Syl

    Resolve and values have to be pounded into the left again and again and again. I say to Bush, pound some more.
    And I wonder if those dumb reporters asking Bush to apologize have the guts to ask that of bin laden?

  • “Just to pluck a recent example out of the air: find the transcript of any Clinton press conference and compare the level of detail in the answers.
    Jeez – Bush really has succeeded in reducing people’s expectations to zero.”
    That’s exactly the point. Clinton was all talk and no action. Bush may not be as good of a public speaker, but his message is clear, and he follows up his words with strong and decisive actions.
    Clinton failed America in the war on terror and so far, Bush has succeeded.

  • He has succeeded in diverting resources that should have gone into the war on terrorism into Iraq.
    He came off as smug and clueless. Failed to answer the questions (which could have been better and more critical – don’t they know they need to ask about specifics, not general questions he can just repeat his catchphrases in response to?).
    And ending talking about the importance of US credibility after basically destroying US credibility was laughable.

  • GLW

    “Doesn’t it trouble you that Bush is unable to say anything specific in these settings about anything?”
    Mork, I find this highly ironic coming from one of the more vacuous of the Aussie blogg commenters well known for attacking the person instead of the argument, but here’s your chance to show a bit of substance. Can you write a few paragraphs along the lines of what YOU think needed to be said.

  • Sydney Carton

    Bush did great last night. I thought he really stayed on message and did a masterful job showing how forcefully he believes in his plan to command the War on Terror. At times, he was lecturing the reporters because they were asking dumb questions.
    I think that the media’s attempt to get Bush to apologize is stupid and most people will see it as a blatant attempt by sharks to search for blood. The media has no shame, and they’re trying to get the President to admit blame for something that terrorists did, so that they can hang it around his neck like a flaming tire all during the campaign. The President isn’t going to give them that sort of ammunition. Moreover, it would be a wasteless exercise of words – apologies are Clinton’s tactic, producing nothing but empty rhetoric. Bush is acting and fulfilling his role to protect America, as he sees it. A preference for Clintonian apologies with no action is stupid, but in this Oprah culture, I guess that’s what the press expects.
    But Americans don’t. I think that this was perhaps the worst performance by the media I’ve seen in all of Bush’s press conferences.

  • Ebb Tide

    Bush did a terrible job! He drew a complete blank on the same question every 20 year old gets asked in their first job interview! “What was your worst mistake?” He did not offer any rhetorical answer…. he didn’t say anything. For 30 seconds. It was incredibly painful to watch. To everyone who READ the transcript, listen or watch the Q&A session. When asked why he and Cheney would be together at the 9-11 Commission for testimony WHEN THEY ASKED FOR THEM TO BE SEPARATE, he said “Because they look forward to asking us questions and I look forward to answering them.”
    He was very nervous, he was not commanding, he reiterated the same talking points over and over. The fact it was only his 3rd Press Conference speaks volumes.

  • Angelos

    A couple e-mails I got this morning from friends:
    “Did you see that press conference last night? What a moron, he knew the questions and still had to evade the answers.”
    “I didn’t really miss my sitcoms last night. In fact, I probably laughed more than I usually do. Except maybe “Scrubs”. That’s some good stuff.”
    “He really has no clue, does he? His tunnel vision has blinded him to reality, and he’s surrounded by enablers who are quite happy to keep him stupid while they try to make their NeoCon dreams come true.”
    And those are the Republicans! Two of whome voted for Bush last time, and one who couldn’t stomach the vote for either. Well, all three are voting Kerry this year, for the same reason I am considering it (I may not be able to stomach giving one of the two idiots my “support”): the Supreme Court. Giving the Fundamentalist and the NeoCons a majority in the highest court in the land is the scariest possibility of them all.
    Look, presidents have no control over the economy (though they like to take credit for up and blame the previous administration for downs). But look at the FCC, which Jeff has so wonderfully kept on top of, and look at Ashcroft’s porn campaign, and expand that to EVERYTHING YOU DO every day.
    The Church will be running the State. And the greatest idiot of them all will be the figurehead.
    If you’re worried about Iraq, and what a change of admin might do, don’t. We’re screwed regardless. There is no end.

  • Doctor Slack

    Mork, I find this highly ironic coming from one of the more vacuous of the Aussie blogg commenters well known for attacking the person instead of the argument
    Yes, Mork, why don’t you respond to this ad hominem attack (ironically from someone claiming to find your criticisms ironic) by writing Bush’s speeches for him?
    I mean, we’re not even at the level of being able to critique a specific agenda here. Compare and contrast Nixon’s silent majority speech for those who’ve forgotten what it sounds like to hear a President actually propose a plan of action. Now, Nixon’s plan turned out to be rubbish, obviously, but at least he had a plan. There was some basis to start from, some kind of public stance and agenda against which his actions could be measured. That’s what Bush should have been ready to provide, but he hasn’t even gotten to that minimal stage yet. He has offered literally nothing beyond platitudes about “resolute action” and vague declarations that America “will succeed.”
    And a few whoppers, to boot. “If additional forces are needed, I will send them. If additional resources are needed, we will provide them.” If? IF?! These people need to clue in about when it’s time to stop spinning and admit there’s a problem.

  • Brian

    I apologize for 9/11. I’m sorry.

  • Ebb Tide

    Andrew Sullivan posted that he thought it was the best speech Bush has ever given !!! I can’t believe we were watching the same thing!
    “I’ve just watched the press conference later on C-SPAN. Not only was the transcript encouraging. I found the president clear, forceful, impassioned, determined, real. This was not an average performance. I found it Bush at his best. He needs to do it more.”