BUSH IRAQ SPEECH- Clarity or Revisionism in action
As Bush tested new lows in the polls - decline being attributed to his Iraq war policies ¡V attempted to bring to a halt the hemorrhage in support
for his Administration gave a major speech last night to outline his plan for Iraq. Administration officials acknowledged the growing credibility gap
on Iraq, saying the president's speech needed to dispel ¡§this idea that we don't know what we're doing.¡¨
While some critics called it more ¡¥goals then a plan¡¦ the speech was received coolly in the nation¡¦s media editorials:
NEWSDAY: ¡K the post-speech headlines reflected just how far the president was from laying out a clear vision.
BOSTON GLOBE: spoke of ¡§Bush¡¦s Reality Gap¡¨
HUSTON CHRONICLE: Iraqi Leaders Say They're Dissatisfied with Post-Occupation Plan
WASHINGTON POST: Bush ¡§did not provide the midcourse correction that even some Republicans had called for in the face of increasingly macabre
He also did not "try to answer some of the looming questions that have triggered growing skepticism and anxiety at home about the final U.S. costs;
the length of stay for U.S. troops; or what the terms will be for U.S. exit from Iraq." Instead, he "basically repackaged stalled U.S. policy as a
The president claimed the coalition "has a clear goal, understood by all" -- an implication that the U.S. has broad support among the Iraqi people.
But Slate¡¦s William Saletan points out, even before the prison scandal, "The most reliable Iraqi poll (to which his own Coalition Provisional
Authority submitted questions) found that most Iraqis want coalition soldiers to get out."
As senior appropriator Rep. David Obey (D-WI) noted, by the end of this year, "we will have spent on Iraq more than the United States spent on World
War I, and that's after it's adjusted for inflation." Instead of ¡¥fessing up to this reality, the president proclaimed the fact that Iraqi oil
revenues had reached $6 billion (Wow, not) expecting Americans to forget that before the war, the administration told Congress Iraq's oil revenues
would bring in " between $50 and $100 billion in the first two to three years, and that Iraq "can really finance its own reconstruction." The
president also provided no justification for why he is pushing $1 trillion in new tax cuts (at the same time he wants Congress to increase the
national debt) to finance more spending on the war. According to the LA Times' Brownstein, the Bush cut-taxes-and-war-spend policy is the first of
its kind in American history: every president since Lincoln who faced a major war asked the country to sacrifice by paying more taxes. Brownstein
asks: "If Iraq is important enough to bleed for, isn¡¦t it important enough to pay for? ¡§
Bush left unanswered many important questions:
Ş HOW ARE WE GOING TO PAY FOR THIS?
Ş -- WHAT ARE THE POLICY CHANGES AT PRISONS?
Ş -- HOW TO DEAL WITH THE CREDIBILITY GAP IN IRAQ?
Ş -- WHO IS GOING TO SECURE AND RUN IRAQ?
Ş -- HOW WILL WE GET INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT?
Just to name but a few that come to mind.
In all fairness the President may address some of these questions in the speeches he promised to deliver weekly until Iraq is given sovereignty on
June 30. Only time will tell