Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bush to make Major Speech

I know, I know. We've all heard that one before. And then we tune in and it's a glorified campaign speech or reiteration of cliches you didn't buy into the first time he said it. But tomorrows speech at the U.S. Navel Academy might provide a plan for bringing our troops home. Scott McClellen (White House Press Secretary who was just sure that Rove never talked to anybody about Valerie Plame) has announced that an unclassified "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" by tonight. Obviously you can insert your "Better Late than Never" joke here.

Fred Kaplan, of Slate Magazine, has some thoughts on what this speech could mean for the Republican Party.
Brace yourself for a mind-bog of sheer cynicism. The discombobulation begins Wednesday, when President George W. Bush is expected to proclaim, in a major speech at the U.S. Naval Academy, that the Iraqi security forces - which only a few months ago were said to have just one battalion capable of fighting on its own - have suddenly made uncanny progress in combat readiness. Expect soon after (if not during the speech itself) the thing that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have, just this month, denounced as near-treason - a timetable for withdrawal of American troops.

And so it appears (assuming the forecasts about the speech are true) that the White House is as cynical about this war as its cynical critics have charged it with being. For several months now, many of these critics have predicted that, once the Iraqis passed their constitution and elected a new government, President Bush would declare his mission complete and begin to pull out - this, despite his public pledge to "stay the course" until the insurgents were defeated.
This strategy could put Democrats and Leftists in a tight spot. Obviously if we don't completely forgive President Bush and give unquestioning support to this plan, we will be accused of hypocrisy. After all we wanted to withdraw the troops.

On the other hand, we'll be called hypocrites and worse no matter what we do, so perhaps its better to consider this plan on the merits (when we read it, that is).

Personally I think showing a real commitment to getting out of Iraq will be a good move. It will help drain support for the insurgency. That said, we need a smart withdrawal that takes account of our commitments to the Iraqi people.

Should make for an interesting week, at any rate.

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