Liberal Grace

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

First reaction to Bush's speech

Bush (sort-of) defines victory in Iraq. I think the best we'll get is a partial one.


I was listening for a fundamental change in strategy but didn't hear him describe one. So, the best we get is a slightly modified "stay the course". What he was describing had some merit but it wasn't a course change.

The war has gone on long enough that I think we know that course: a version of Iran. The main question is whether Iraq will split or stay whole in the process.

I was particularly interested in Bush's definition of "victory" since that has been one of the more vexing parts of his war rhetoric.

>> Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship.

OK. I agree, the world has changed ... but how will we even know when it's happened? How will we know when to bring our soldiers home?

>> But victory in Iraq will bring something new in the Arab world -- a functioning democracy that polices its territory, upholds the rule of law, respects fundamental human liberties, and answers to its people.

Something new? Not likely! Something modified is more like it -- a modified version of Iran.

The first-three goals will probably be reached: a (limited) democracy, a police force and rule of law (with morals police!) . Iran has those things.

The last two will very likely not happen: respects fundamental human liberties and answers to its people.

>> A democratic Iraq will not be perfect. But it will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them -- and it will help bring a future of peace and security for our children and our grandchildren.

Again, not likely. Iran does fights terrorism -- if they are Sunni.

Will Iran having another major national ally make children feel safer or more threatened?

So, the best we can hope for is a mixed bag. Is that enough of a victory to justify the thousands of deaths and hundreds of billions of dollars we're spending on this war?

The whole speech transcript is here

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