Not So Young But Angry Conservatives Unite

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Monday, December 19, 2005

Call to Arms: Too Late to Cut and Run in Iraq

Fine work Mr. President. Wish you said this back in early 2004, but better now than never. By the way, the bold text is stuff you liberals really ought to read or at least think about. Toss aside your Democrapic Talking Points, and think for a sec. We are gonna win this, and any defeat will not be due to our troops, rather the backstabbers here. Thank God there's a fighting majority in this country.

Text of speech:

Transcript: Bush Oval Office Speech
Sunday, December 18, 2005

WASHINGTON — Good evening. Three days ago, in large numbers, Iraqis went to the polls to choose their own leaders — a landmark day in the history of liberty. In coming weeks, the ballots will be counted, a new government formed and a people who suffered in tyranny for so long will become full members of the free world.
This election will not mean the end of violence. But it is the beginning of something new: constitutional democracy at the heart of the Middle East. And this vote — 6,000 miles away, in a vital region of the world — means that America has an ally of growing strength in the fight against terror.
All who had a part in this achievement — Iraqis, Americans, and coalition partners — can be proud. Yet our work is not done. There is more testing and sacrifice before us. I know many Americans have questions about the cost and direction of this war. So tonight I want to talk to you about how far we have come in Iraq, and the path that lies ahead.
From this office, nearly three years ago, I announced the start of military operations in Iraq. Our coalition confronted a regime that defied United Nations Security Council resolutions, violated a cease-fire agreement, sponsored terrorism and possessed, we believed, weapons of mass destruction. After the swift fall of Baghdad, we found mass graves filled by a dictator, we found some capacity to restart programs to produce weapons of mass destruction but we did not find those weapons.
It is true that Saddam Hussein had a history of pursuing and using weapons of mass destruction. It is true that he systematically concealed those programs, and blocked the work of U.N. weapons inspectors. It is true that many nations believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. But much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. And as your president, I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq.
Yet it was right to remove Saddam Hussein from power. He was given an ultimatum and he made his choice for war. And the result of that war was to rid the world of a murderous dictator who menaced his people, invaded his neighbors and declared America to be his enemy. Saddam Hussein, captured and jailed, is still the same raging tyrant — only now without a throne. His power to harm a single man, woman, or child is gone forever. And the world is better for it.
Since the removal of Saddam, this war — like other wars in our history — has been difficult. The mission of American troops in urban raids and desert patrols — fighting Saddam loyalists and foreign terrorists — has brought danger and suffering and loss. This loss has caused sorrow for our whole nation and it has led some to ask if we are creating more problems than we are solving.
That is an important question, and the answer depends on your view of the War on Terror. If you think the terrorists would become peaceful if only America would stop provoking them, then it might make sense to leave them alone.
This is not the threat I see. I see a global terrorist movement that exploits Islam in the service of radical political aims — a vision in which books are burned, and women are oppressed, and all dissent is crushed. Terrorist operatives conduct their campaign of murder with a set of declared and specific goals — to de-moralize free nations, to drive us out of the Middle East, to spread an empire of fear across that region and to wage a perpetual war against America and our friends. These terrorists view the world as a giant battlefield and they seek to attack us wherever they can. This has attracted Al Qaeda to Iraq, where they are attempting to frighten and intimidate America into a policy of retreat.
The terrorists do not merely object to American actions in Iraq and elsewhere, they object to our deepest values and our way of life. And if we were not fighting them in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Southeast Asia and in other places, the terrorists would not be peaceful citizens — they would be on the offense, and headed our way.
September 11th, 2001, required us to take every emerging threat to our country seriously and it shattered the illusion that terrorists attack us only after we provoke them. On that day, we were not in Iraq, we were not in Afghanistan but the terrorists attacked us anyway — and killed nearly 3,000 men, women and children in our own country. My conviction comes down to this: We do not create terrorism by fighting the terrorists. We invite terrorism by ignoring them. And we will defeat the terrorists by capturing and killing them abroad, removing their safe havens and strengthening new allies like Iraq and Afghanistan in the fight we share.
This work has been especially difficult in Iraq — more difficult than we expected. Reconstruction efforts and the training of Iraqi security forces started more slowly than we hoped. We continue to see violence and suffering, caused by an enemy that is determined and brutal, unconstrained by conscience or the rules of war.
Some look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude that the war is lost and not worth another dime or another day. I don't believe that. Our military commanders do not believe that. Our troops in the field, who bear the burden and make the sacrifice, do not believe that America has lost. And not even the terrorists believe it. We know from their own communications that they feel a tightening noose and fear the rise of a democratic Iraq.
The terrorists will continue to have the coward's power to plant roadside bombs and recruit suicide bombers. And you will continue to see the grim results on the evening news. This proves that the war is difficult — it does not mean that we are losing. Behind the images of chaos that terrorists create for the cameras, we are making steady gains with a clear objective in view.
America, our coalition and Iraqi leaders are working toward the same goal — a democratic Iraq that can defend itself, that will never again be a safe haven for terrorists and that will serve as a model of freedom for the Middle East.
We have put in place a strategy to achieve this goal — a strategy I have been discussing in detail over the last few weeks. This plan has three critical elements.
First, our coalition will remain on the offense, finding and clearing out the enemy, transferring control of more territory to Iraqi units and building up the Iraqi Security Forces so they can increasingly lead the fight. At this time last year, there were only a handful of Iraqi army and police battalions ready for combat. Now, there are more than 125 Iraqi combat battalions fighting the enemy, more than 50 are taking the lead and we have transferred more than a dozen military bases to Iraqi control.
Second, we are helping the Iraqi government establish the institutions of a unified and lasting democracy, in which all of Iraq's peoples are included and represented. Here also, the news is encouraging. Three days ago, more than 10 million Iraqis went to the polls, including many Sunni Iraqis who had boycotted national elections last January. Iraqis of every background are recognizing that democracy is the future of the country they love, and they want their voices heard. One Iraqi, after dipping his finger in the purple ink as he cast his ballot, stuck his finger in the air and said: "This is a thorn in the eyes of the terrorists." Another voter was asked, "Are you Sunni or Shia?" He responded, "I am Iraqi."
Third, after a number of setbacks, our coalition is moving forward with a reconstruction plan to revive Iraq's economy and infrastructure and to give Iraqis confidence that a free life will be a better life. 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.
In all three aspects of our strategy — security, democracy, and reconstruction — we have learned from our experiences, and fixed what has not worked. We will continue to listen to honest criticism and make every change that will help us complete the mission. Yet there is a difference between honest critics who recognize what is wrong, and defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right.
Defeatism may have its partisan uses, but it is not justified by the facts. For every scene of destruction in Iraq, there are more scenes of rebuilding and hope. For every life lost, there are countless more lives reclaimed. And for every terrorist working to stop freedom in Iraq, there are many more Iraqis and Americans working to defeat them. My fellow citizens: Not only can we win the war in Iraq, we are winning the war in Iraq.
It is also important for every American to understand the consequences of pulling out of Iraq before our work is done. We would abandon our Iraqi friends and signal to the world that America cannot be trusted to keep its word. We would undermine the morale of our troops by betraying the cause for which they have sacrificed. We would cause tyrants in the Middle East to laugh at our failed resolve, and tighten their repressive grip. We would hand Iraq over to enemies who have pledged to attack us and the global terrorist movement would be emboldened and more dangerous than ever before. To retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor and I will not allow it.
We are approaching a new year and there are certain things all Americans can expect to see. We will see more sacrifice — from our military, their families and the Iraqi people. We will see a concerted effort to improve Iraqi police forces and fight corruption. We will see the Iraqi military gaining strength and confidence and the democratic process moving forward. As these achievements come, it should require fewer American troops to accomplish our mission. I will make decisions on troop levels based on the progress we see on the ground and the advice of our military leaders — not based on artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington. Our forces in Iraq are on the road to victory and that is the road that will take them home.
In the months ahead, all Americans will have a part in the success of this war. Members of Congress will need to provide resources for our military. Our men and women in uniform, who have done so much already, will continue their brave and urgent work. And tonight, I ask all of you listening to carefully consider the stakes of this war, to realize how far we have come and the good we are doing and to have patience in this difficult, noble, and necessary cause.
I also want to speak to those of you who did not support my decision to send troops to Iraq: I have heard your disagreement, and I know how deeply it is felt. Yet now there are only two options before our country — victory or defeat. And the need for victory is larger than any president or political party because the security of our people is in the balance. I do not expect you to support everything I do, but tonight I have a request: Do not give in to despair, and do not give up on this fight for freedom.
Americans can expect some things of me as well. My most solemn responsibility is to protect our nation, and that requires me to make some tough decisions. I see the consequences of those decisions when I meet wounded servicemen and women who cannot leave their hospital beds, but summon the strength to look me in the eye and say they would do it all over again. I see the consequences when I talk to parents who miss a child so much but tell me he loved being a soldier, he believed in his mission and Mr. President, finish the job.
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. And I have never been more certain that America's actions in Iraq are essential to the security of our citizens, and will lay the foundation of peace for our children and grandchildren.
Next week, Americans will gather to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. Many families will be praying for loved ones spending this season far from home — in Iraq, Afghanistan or other dangerous places. Our nation joins in those prayers. We pray for the safety and strength of our troops. We trust, with them, in a love that conquers all fear, and a light that reaches the darkest corners of the Earth. And we remember the words of the Christmas carol, written during the Civil War: "God is not dead, nor [does] He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on Earth, good will to men."
Thank you, and good night.


  • At 10:24 AM, Blogger Les said…

    "Yet now there are only two options before our country — victory or defeat."

    Let's say you're deciding whether or not to visit some family on the east coast this holiday season. This situation obviously gives you two options:

    1. Go visit family.
    2. Don't go visit family.

    The second choice is easy - if you're not going, you're not going. The first, however, leaves you with several things to consider. Do you fly? Do you take a train? A bus? Do you drive? How much is a plane ticket going to cost? Will you need to take some extra time off work? Can your car make it that far? Can you really afford plane tickets, or should you stick to the bus?

    Nick, the problem with the president's simplistic "two options" statement is that, in two quick words, he framed the conversation in the war on terror to consist of two camps - those who are for the IRAQ War (victory), and those who are opposed to the Iraq War (defeat). I'm sorry, my friend, but it's just not that simple!

    It seems to me that pro-Iraq War folks keep accusing anti-Iraq War people of complaining about the war without offering any kind of alternative in our struggle against terrorism. I've offered suggestions time and time again over at the Museum, to no end. Pro-Iraq War folks that I've come into contact with are absolutely unwilling to hear ANY other suggestions as to how the war on terror can be won, because to admit any other suggestion has merit would, in their mind, be to concede that the Iraq War strategy we have now just might be flawed, if not the wrong move altogether!

    Look, if you support the Iraq War, you support the Iraq War. I obviously can't change that, and I respect your opinion that it's the best strategy for the country. However, I would only ask that you at least keep open the slight POSSIBILITY that there just might be other avenues to explore in our quest for victory against terrorism. Try not to think of the war as Option 1 or Option 2, as the president unfortunately seems to be doing.


  • At 5:55 PM, Blogger NDwalters said…

    Les, sorry, this is a two option war. Give up and let the bad guys gain ground, or fight tooth and nail, and damn well hold on.

  • At 10:22 AM, Blogger Les said…

    Certainly, Nick. But the "war" is the war on terror as a whole, not just the Iraq War. Iraq is only one battlefield. To redeploy our vast resources, both military AND economic, to other terror targets and environments that breed terrorism is by no means "giving up".

    Who's gonna be running the show in Iraq, now that they've had the chance to vote? None other than those crazy coots known as the Shia. Sound familiar? Yeah, that's right - the Shia are the Islamic wackos that control Iran's government. Was it wise to put them in a position of power in Iraq? Time will tell.

  • At 5:25 PM, Blogger Kevin said…

    Les, sorry, this is a two option war. Give up and let the bad guys gain ground, or fight tooth and nail, and damn well hold on.

    ...and that's why I say closed-minded. No other reasons necessary.

    How about I said you could only be fat or skinny. Now as long as I've known you, you've been pretty heavy. But what if there were a way to make you lose 30 pounds? 40? 50? The reality is, you'd still be pretty damned fat.

    Why do things need to be 2 sided? What's wrong with 3 or 4 sides or many more?

  • At 7:43 PM, Blogger NDwalters said…

    Kevin, you snide little punk, what does weight have to do with this argument? We're talking about war, not girth, not pudge. FYI, you've been a rail most of your life, so what good does that type of argument do?

    And why not 2 sides? There's always two sides? Good, bad. Right, wrong. Victory, defeat. Shoot me for seeing stuff in black and white.

  • At 11:52 PM, Blogger Kevin said…

    Shoot me for seeing stuff in black and white.

    Well there we go. That should pretty much put an end to most future arguments.

    The world is gray ND, not B&W. I can't help that your mindset is that of 1941.

  • At 5:06 AM, Blogger NDwalters said…

    Kevin, and I can't help it that your mindset is that of a wishy-washy let's have it all ways, peace at any price, even if its a sham peace type. Proof that Neville Chamberlain sired some kids in the US and their descendants are alive and well. 1941 mindset? Thank God the US didn't have your mindset, we'd be flying the swastika and rising sun flags, instead of Old Glory. Sorry, your arguments hold less water than Ted Kennedy's Oldsmobile, oh wait, that did hold water. Holds less water than Michael Moore, wait, he's pretty large. Heck, holds less water than a sponge. You never answered why your weight cracks are so relevant to the discussion of Iraq. Yeah, I'm big, what's your point? Are you expressing concern, or being a smartass? Which is it, honestly? Are your little liberal friends having fun examing conservatives under a microscope, like scientists do animals? Just curious, since you guys have such a higher understanding of life and quality of, that you're forever talking circles around issues and never addressing them. And of course, taking the side of anyone, but the frickin conservatives. You're as middle of the road as HEzbollah.

  • At 8:57 AM, Blogger Les said…

    "You never answered why your weight cracks are so relevant to the discussion of Iraq."

    I'll take a stab at providing relevance, Nick. Actually, this is a great example. Bear with me as I try to explain myself:

    Let's assume you have a mission. The mission is simple - lose a few pounds. As with my first "holiday vacation trip" example, this mission has two outcomes. They are:

    1. Lose some weight.
    2. Don't lose weight.

    Again, if option 2 were pursued, all you'd have to do is keep doing what you've been doing. However, option 1 requires some planning. There's a bunch of tough choices to make in deciding what would be the best plan for achieving your goal. You could cut out red meats. You could stick to fruits and vegetables. You could exercise. You could try any of a million fad diets. You could try the "pie-only" diet. You could simply eat less. You could change what time of day you decide to eat. You could try eating nothing but fats and proteins, sorta like Atkins, see some initial progress, and then watch in horror as your heart explodes.

    Point is, any of these options are designed with the same goal in mind - namely, to help a person lose some weight. Some obviously work better than others. Hell, some don't really work at all. Some seem like they work at first, but ultimately collapse in the long term. Some, on the other hand, are solid strategies to achieve your objective.

    That's what I mean when I say this isn't simply a two-option war, Nick. Let's be clear: our objective is the same - the destruction of terrorism. The pro-Iraq War crowd and I simply have different ideas of what the best PLAN - or DIET - would be to achieve that common objective. To succumb to tunnel vision in the face of a shadow enemy that consists of so much more than Iraqi insurgents is not only foolish - it's suicidal.

  • At 12:41 PM, Blogger Kevin said…

    Thanks for explaining the analogy to ND.

  • At 2:47 PM, Blogger NDwalters said…

    Les, nice explanation, albeit I may still disagree with some stuff. Kevin, you're going yeah yeah, for what reason?

  • At 3:23 PM, Blogger Kevin said…

    ? - you got the analogy apparently.

    I'm not going yeah yeah.

  • At 11:11 AM, Blogger Les said…

    "...albeit I may still disagree with some stuff."

    And I would expect nothing less from the TexanPatriot. ;-)



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