Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Big Day: The Speech

Well, Bush, here we are, three months after you started promising us that mother of all speeches--or at least the one that will lay out your "new way forward" in Iraq and, presumably, lead to the war's satisfactory conclusion. Or "victory", as you like to call it. The speech has been quite a while in the gestation, so I have to guess it will be a good one. I imagine that your trusty speechwriters are sitting around as I write, sweating out the eloquent details.

Were I your speechwriter, I'd have a couple of suggestions. I offer them without much hope that you'll approve them, but I thought I'd let you have them anyway.

Speech #1 (my personal preference)

My fellow Americans (that's de rigueur, I know), I have been thinking long and hard about this situation in Iraq, and I have consulted with the best advisors I know, both military and civilian. I have also listened to your voice, the American people, who have indicated unambiguously in every recent poll as well as the election this past November that you wish for this war to be over and the troops brought home. I now recognize that the invasion of Iraq was a ghastly mistake on the part of my administration. We fudged the intelligence and manipulated your post-9/11 goodwill to justify an action that a bunch of my neoconservative advisors had been pitching for years. Their rosy predictions about the ease of the job and their assessments of the probable outcome have proved disastrously wrong. Their failure to understand the history and culture of that region of the world--let alone our own--has led us on a tragically misguided and arrogant path into what most observers now agree to be a terminally chaotic situation.

Despite all my best hopes to the contrary, democracy has not taken root in Iraq; the government there has proved incapable of stemming the centuries-old animosity and violence between religious sects; the military and police forces have proved at best feckless and at worst brutally traitrous to the interests of the country as a whole; the Iraqi people have repeatedly indicated that they believe that the presence of American forces does more to promote violence than to stem it; and there seems to be little or no prospect of achieving an American-imposed peace.

In view of all this, and listening to both the military and civilian advice I have received in the course of the past three months, I have now decided that the wisest--indeed the only course--for our country is to apologize profusely for having intruded in the first place, to offer financial compensation for the physical damage caused, and to recall our troops as soon as dignity and their security allow. This action will make it clear to Iraq and the rest of the world that we are capable of recognizing and rectifying our mistakes and that we do not harbor those imperial intentions that much of the world attributes to us. Instead of arms and warfare, we will offer compassion, aid and hope.

Good night, God bless the United States of America (can't leave this out, Bush!) and God bless the rest of world.

Speech #2 would sound much the same, but the conclusion would be different. Here's what I would (reluctantly) propose:

Despite all the above, and despite the mistakes that have been made by my administration--mistakes for which I assume full and sole responsibility--I continue to hold to the belief that our troops must remain in Iraq until some lasting settlement has been reached. I now recognize, however, that it is not enough to ask Americans to support my actions without question or to go out and shop. This war must become a national priority. The military has been significantly weakened both in manpower and materiel, and will need a new infusion of srtength if we are to persevere and, at the same timne, fulfill other military obligations in the world as they arise.

I am therefore asking the Congress of the United States to act on two fronts: first, to reinstate the draft, or at least some form of national service for all Americans. And second, to consider what modifications must be made in our current tax obligations to properly fund the war. I was mistaken in believing those who told me that this war could be successfully concluded on the cheap, and the tax cuts I have pushed through in the course of my tenure in this office are proving to be unafforadable.

My fellow Americans, iI is time for all of us, not just those brave young men and women in uniform, to make the sacrifices needed if we are to prevail. It is time for all of us to play our part, and I am asking you tonight to support our troops in a significant new way. Good night, etc.

So there you go, Bush. My suggestions. I still think Speech #1 is the right one for the country. But at the very least, please give us #2. Good luck.


PK said...

Speech number one would probably cause me to cry, if it came from him. From you, I just smiled, and thought, oh, wouldn't that be nice. Even the second one would at least have some honesty in it. I haven't turned on the TV today yet. Let me do that little thing right now... Nothing going on except "Scrubs" so far, and I've seen that one. Well, NOVA is on, and I think... yes seen that one on aging too. Rather like the "Bush Speech", the repeat we here over and over again with a word switched here or there to make it appear new. Well, I may watch this one, just out of GP to see what happens. Hope they don't just drag out the thesaurus this time. Write you later;D.

PK said...

Yes, well, that was a real nifty speech. As he was talking escalation, he sent over the first batch of troops. There was no new words, no compromise, no nothing. The Dems went there to talk about it, he probably listened, said thank you very much for coming, there's the door, don't let it hit you on the ass on the way out. It wasn't anything new. Neither was his speech, we all knew what he was going to do, and he did it. He's got 15,000 more troops to go now...