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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Saturday, November 12, 2005

What A Speech

The US President just gave one of the clearest, most specific speeches I have heard him give, next to the address to Congress post 9/11, and the recent one on US Foreign policy, the latter of which was extremely underreported.

But the speech today for Veteran's Day in Pennsylvania was a bullseye of clarity, of vision, and of purpose.

My God. He even mentioned Theo Van Gogh! I gasped.

I have searched all over the newswires for even the merest reference to a transcript, so I can Fisk the speech here, but 20 minutes yon, nothing yet. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Commenter Benning mentions the NYT transcript link which the Anchoress posted. It is a speech given by the President in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and transcribed by the Federal News Service. My comments in-between each excerpt.

Since I took office, my administration has increased spending for veterans by $24 billion, an increase of 53 percent.[...]

We've increased the VA's medical care budget by 51 percent, increased total outpatient visits, increased the number of prescriptions filled and reduced the backlog of disability claims. We've committed more than $1.5 billion to modernizing and expanding VA facilities, so that veterans can get better care closer to home.

Sigh. For me, he starts out striking a particularly irritating note. I am reminded that he is a spending president, and not a fiscally-conservative one. Such are the times, I suppose.

In the four years since September the 11th, the evil that reached our shores has reappeared on other days in other places -- in Mombasa and Casablanca and Riyadh and Jakarta and Istanbul and Madrid and Beslan and Taba and Netanya and Baghdad and elsewhere. In the past few months, we have seen a new terror offensive with attacks on London and Sharm el-Sheikh, another deadly strike in Bali; and this week, a series of bombings in Amman, Jordan, that killed dozens of innocent Jordanians and their guests.

I count 15 terrorist attacks targeted all over the world by these terrorists (and he only counted Bali once; it's 16 in reality, 17 if you count all of Israel). Pol Pot made Cambodia a killing field. Al-Qaeda, those murdering Islamofascists, make the whole world their killing field.

Some call this evil "Islamic radicalism," others "militant jihadism" and still others "Islamofacism." Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam.

YES! Finally, he used the term people use, rather than "neutral" one used by snooty journalists.

Zawahiri points to the Vietnam War as a model for al Qaeda. This is what he said. "The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam and how they ran and left their agents is noteworthy."

Excellent injection of Vietnam, and the subsequent ignominious retreat, aimed directly to the talking heads who use the word quagmire more and more, trying to sell Iraq as their generation's Vietnam.

Secondly, the militant network wants to use the vacuum created by an American retreat to gain control of a country, a base from which to launch attacks and conduct their war against non-radical Muslim governments.

Point number 2 is building on point 1 -- that America will run, and then leave a power vacuum with which Islmamofascists can then gain a foothold of power in the region.

Third, these militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all modern governments in the region and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia

Al-Andalus. I shiver at the name.

The influence of Islamic radicalism is also magnified by helpers and enablers. They've been sheltered by authoritarian regimes, allies of convenience like Iran and Syria, that share the goal of hurting America and modern Muslim governments, and use terrorist propaganda to blame their own failures on the West, on America and on the Jews.

Just like at the mention of Theo Van Gogh later, I gasped when he mentioned not Israelis, but Jews. Islamofascists hate Jews, not just Israelis. When will the world, especially Jews around the world realise, Al-Qaeda is just as big a threat to their welfare, as Hitler was? And why is it an evangelical Christian, that has to tell them that?

This week the government of Syria took two disturbing steps. First, it arrested Dr. Kamal Labwani for serving as an advocate for democratic reform. Then President Assad delivered a strident speech that attacked both the Lebanese government and the integrity of the Mehlis investigation into the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister.

The government of Syria must do what the international community has demanded -- cooperate fully with the Mehlis investigation and stop trying to intimidate and destabilize the Lebanese government. The government of Syria must stop exporting violence and starting importing democracy.

This is an important escalation in rhetoric. "Must" is used for the first time, instead of should. It's been argued that this administration will not destabilise Bashar Assad because they don't want to shake up the status quo in the area, as mentioned on NPR last Sunday. Horsepucky. It is true that Assad doesn't enjoy the respect of his henchmen, as his father did, being a somewhat feckless Westernised young man, but that doesn't mean he is a patsy.

Some have also argued that extremists have been strengthened by our actions in Iraq claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001. The hatred of the radicals existed before Iraq was an issue, and it will exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse. The government of Russia did not support Operation Iraqi Freedom, and yet the militants killed more then 150 Russian school children in Beslan. Over the years these extremists have used a litany of excuses for violence: the Israeli presence on the West Bank, the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, the defeat of the Taliban or the Crusades of a thousand years ago.

This is, of course, the keynote part of the speech. It doesn't matter what the West does. As long as there is an Israel, and an United States leading the moral corruption of the world, there will be attacks by these thugs. Stop pussyfooting around, and just say it. And he just did.

Against such an enemy, there is only one effective response -- we will never back down, we will never give in, we will never accept anything less than complete victory!

I'm sure I'm not the only one who, when they heard or read this, thought of Winston Churchill's rallying challenge, not just to Hitler, but to buck his compatriots in their darkest hour. "We will fight on the beaches, on the landing grounds, in the streets. We will never surrender."

Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, quote, "What is good for them and what is not." What this man, who grew up in wealth and privilege, considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that this road to -- that this is the road to paradise -- though he never offers to go along for the ride.

This got a laugh from the crowd and from me at home.

We have seen it in the murders of Daniel Pearl and Nicholas Berg and Margaret Hanson (sic; means Hassan) and so many others.

In a courtroom in the Netherlands, the killer of Theo van Gogh turned to the victim's grieving mother and said, "I don't feel your pain, because I believe you're an infidel."

That (sic; means Hassan) is not from me, it's from the transcribers who in transcribing, must also constantly correct him. That's a small thing. Referring to Daniel Pearl, Nicholas Berg, Margaret Hassan, and Theo Van Gogh, was not. Bravo.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples, claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent. Zarqawi has said that Americans are, quote, "the most cowardly of God's creatures." But let us be clear, it is cowardice that seeks to kill children and the elderly with car bombs, and cuts the throat of a bound captive, and targets worshipers leaving a mosque. It is courage that liberated more than 50 million people from tyranny. It is courage that keeps an untiring vigil against the enemies of rising democracies. And it is courage in the cause of freedom that will once again destroy the enemies of freedom!

It's difficult to convey his solid delivery of this paragraph on paper. He was smiling as he said it, confident and relaxed, not hunted and vengeful. He was inspiring, and above all, calm. What he said is a very heavy thing: he calls them cowards, murderers of fellow Muslims, of women, children and the elderly. And he differentiates what the Americans are doing from what they do, without hesitation.

And Islamic radicalism, like the ideology of communism, contains inherent contradictions that doom it to failure. By fearing freedom, by distrusting human creativity, and punishing change, and limiting the contributions of half a population, this ideology undermines the very qualities that make human progress possible and human societies successful. The only thing modern about the militants' vision is the weapons they want to use against us. The rest of their grim vision is defined by a warped image of the past, a declaration of war on the idea of progress itself. And whatever lies ahead in the war against this ideology, the outcome is not in doubt. Those who despise freedom and progress have condemned themselves to isolation and decline and collapse. Because free peoples believe in the future, free peoples will own the future.

It is said he asks for simple phrases and thoughts, to convey everything in good Anglo-Saxon, rather than the Latinate phrases of his predecessor. If you could point one single paragraph, to say, this is how he thinks as a president, this would be it. Purposeful. Clear. Idealistic.

That's why more then a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.

Fighting gloves are off, after using the distanced tone of a president last year. Now, he's a politician again, because in the past 3 months, he's been losing the political battle. Good.

And yet this fight we have joined is also the current expression of an ancient struggle because those who put their faith in dictators and those who put their faith in the people. Throughout history, tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that murder is justified to serve their grand vision, and they end up alienating decent people across the globe. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that regimented societies are strong and pure, until those societies collapse in corruption and decay. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that free men and women are weak and decadent, until the day that free men and women defeat them.

The last paragraph I will quote, and one I highlight because I adore the phrase, tyrants and would-be tyrants. Let us never forget that just because a person is elected, but doesn't have the time to imprint his power in a nation's history, because of death, assassination, or removal from office, that he didn't have ulterior designs on that country. As much bad comes from would-be tyrants, as have come from the bona fide tyrants.

And I know which side I want to be on -- the one which fights against both kinds of tyrants.

[I'll leave this post up until Sautrday night]

11 Comments:

  • It was about time that President Bush started defending himself against many unwarranted attacks! The best defense is a good offense so hopefully now Bush, Cheney, Rice etc will go on the offensive!

    God Bless America and all our Veterans!

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Fri Nov 11, 06:11:00 pm GMT-5  

  • The Anchoress posted the link to the NYTimes transcript of the President's speech. The link is:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/11/international/11bush-transcript.html?pagewanted=print

    By Anonymous benning, at Fri Nov 11, 06:48:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I think I'll start reading your blog on a daily basis. I'm trying to replace my local newspaper with 3 or 4 blogs that I can count on.

    By Blogger The Mojician, at Fri Nov 11, 09:56:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Mojician: If you're interested in war news, by far the best blog is Rantburg. An essential resource.

    By Blogger JSU, at Sat Nov 12, 01:12:00 am GMT-5  

  • It was about time that President Bush started defending himself against many unwarranted attacks! The best defense is a good offense so hopefully now Bush, Cheney, Rice etc will go on the offensive!

    About time. If these people are so corporate, they're dvertising agency needs to get the sack.

    God Bless America and all our Veterans!

    And Happy Armistice Day! :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Nov 12, 02:19:00 am GMT-5  

  • Thanks Benning! :)

    I was awfully busy most of the day, so I wasn't able to come back and post the followup.

    I will however include the link you gave me with H/T.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Nov 12, 02:19:00 am GMT-5  

  • I think I'll start reading your blog on a daily basis. I'm trying to replace my local newspaper with 3 or 4 blogs that I can count on.

    That you shall read my blog on a daily basis is one of the greatest compliments you can pay me, Mojician. :)

    But I suggest you find another blog if you want to keep up in the world.

    Whilst it is true that I have upped my daily events/political content on Sundries, the better to reflect interests, and direct traffic to my blogad sponsor(s), I am by no means a political or events blogger.

    I am an eclecti-blogger, heavy on the ecleti. :)

    JSU gave you a great tip about Rantburg, though. And may I suggest, Instapundit.

    Invaluable!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Nov 12, 02:22:00 am GMT-5  

  • Dubya is overcompensating for the incompetence with which he and his administration have proceeded in the war on terror.

    Selecting Iraq as the second front in the war on terror was a strategic error of monumental proportions.

    But, that aside, he has to now go back and address how his administration cast intelligence to suggest an imminent threat to the United States and its allies that was never suggested by the intelligence itself. He says that his critics are misrepresenting history. It was he and his Republican ideologues that were misrepresenting intelligence.

    Dubya has a two-pronged argument: that Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence.

    Neither assertion is wholly accurate.

    The White House had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers, who were dependent on the administration to provide the material. And the commissions cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions, were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions.

    the only committee investigating the matter in Congress, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has not yet done its inquiry into whether officials mischaracterized intelligence by omitting caveats and dissenting opinions. And Judge Laurence H. Silberman, chairman of Bush's commission on weapons of mass destruction, said in releasing his report on March 31, 2005: "Our executive order did not direct us to deal with the use of intelligence by policymakers, and all of us were agreed that that was not part of our inquiry."

    The White House does not share its most sensitive intelligence, such as the President's Daily Brief, with lawmakers. Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community's views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country.

    there were doubts within the intelligence community not included in the NIE. And even the doubts expressed in the NIE could not be used publicly by members of Congress because the classified information had not been cleared for release. For example, the NIE view that Hussein would not use weapons of mass destruction against the United States or turn them over to terrorists unless backed into a corner was cleared for public use only a day before the Senate vote.

    within the Bush administration, not everybody consistently viewed Iraq as what Hadley called "an enormous threat." In a news conference in February 2001 in Egypt, then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said of the economic sanctions against Hussein's Iraq: "Frankly, they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction."

    Then there was the actual "authorization" to use force. The October 2002 joint resolution authorized the use of force in Iraq, but it did not directly mention the removal of Hussein from power.

    The resolution voiced support for diplomatic efforts to enforce "all relevant Security Council resolutions," and for using the armed forces to enforce the resolutions and defend "against the continuing threat posed by Iraq."

    1998 legislation gave the president authority "to support efforts to remove the regime of Saddam Hussein" by providing assistance to Iraqi opposition groups, including arms, humanitarian aid and broadcasting facilities.

    President Bill Clinton ordered four days of bombing of Iraqi weapons facilities in 1998, under the 1991 resolution authorizing military force in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Describing that event in an interview with CBS News yesterday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: "We went to war in 1998 because of concerns about his weapons of mass destruction."

    So the Republican administration continues to misrepresent the situation.

    And this does not even broach the issue of incompetent assessment of war requirements; General Shinseki and General Zinni said Iraq would require 4-500K Troops for invasion and occupation. Rummy said 130K. We're still suffering from that.

    Also, Cheney and Wolfowitz were running around talking about "...greetings as liberators", "...no more than a months", "...quick economic recoveries" in Iraq, and no talk of protracted insurgency.

    That's incompetent, and that has never been ivestigated.

    By Blogger Ghost Dansing, at Sat Nov 12, 06:05:00 am GMT-5  

  • Why are there so many idiots in the world?
    Do as Iran says and wipe Israel off the map.
    Push all Jews into the sea, destroy America, Britain and its other allies. There, that's what they wanted, isn't it?
    Now can anyone even think to believe they are happy now? That they will now transform into a love one another, at peace with the world group?
    I think not and I think what is left of the world's Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or moderate Muslim states will die or surrender themselves into slavery for there is no one to fight for them. No American blood nor that of its allies to seep into the soil for them. Burn all books of History, they will be re-written to reflect the new world thinking, where we were all evil and Muslim radicals won the day. Perhaps a few Infidels like Ted Kennedy and other liberal Democrats will be included as facilitators.
    Just what is the Democratic plan to keep America safe?

    By Blogger Paul, at Sat Nov 12, 09:21:00 am GMT-5  

  • Let's tone down the rhetoric in the comments, guys.

    The moment I don't like the way a commentary section is going, I clam up.

    That's your cue to either change, move on to another thread, or continue talking to the ether.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Nov 12, 01:16:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Why is it that Bin Laden grew up in wealth and privilege ?

    By Anonymous SHUSSBAR, at Fri Nov 18, 12:15:00 am GMT-5  

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