Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bush at Annapolis: Memo to a President


Today’s speech was horrible. I’m sure no one in the White House will tell you that, but it was. You might as well have dropped in a DVD and projected yourself delivering any number of speeches you’ve already given onto a giant screen. The reaction of the media and the audience would have been the same.

Rallying the troops to the cause we are fighting for is totally unneeded. Rallying the American public to that cause by delivering yet another "same as the last time" speech is clearly not going to work or it would have on some many previous occasions. Since a new, ground breaking speech is either beyond the abilities of your speech writers or considered politically untenable by your advisors it is time for a new approach.

If getting the Iraqis to step up and take control of the future of their country is the right approach, and I certainly think that is a good strategy, it is long past time to implement that strategy. The path to the success of this approach is obvious and simple. You must take your case directly to the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people need to be shown that by taking control of this process and meeting the goals of creating a stable and democratic country the result will be an Iraq run by Iraqis for Iraqis secured by Iraqis. Goals and results need to be set. Promises need to be kept.

You have stated that we want to leave. US public opinion indicates Americans want us to leave. Demonstrate our willingness to leave and then prove it when they meet security related goals. Tying progress to defined security results, rather than an arbitraty timeline, does nothing to aid terrorists or insurgents. By definition, successes by Iraqis towards democracy and security are the result of failures by"rejectionists" (whoever they are). Iraqis win, terrorists lose and America can leave on acceptable terms.

Mr. President, you need to be talking to Iraqis, not Americans, to convince Iraqis that they can and will be successful on their own. If you believe in your case, take it to the people who can actually make it a reality. Inspire Iraqis to action, challenge them, and reward them for success.


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