It's ironic to see George Bush stumping his Iraq policy at the Naval Academy. For someone who leaned heavily on family connections to avoid military service, Bush seems eager and willing to use the military as a prop. At the time of Bush's speech, the Iraq War body count was over 2,110. Aparently, none of those 2,110 families have the same connections that the Bushes do.
The speech was the President's attempt to put some "meat on the bones" of his Iraq stragety. It was also an attempt to re-frame the Iraq debate, which in recent weeks has seen the calls for a speedy US withdrawl gather steam on Capital Hill and beyond. And while Bush did okay style-wise, seeming alert and engaged, his speech was woefully short on substance. Our President's attempt to clarify the confusion surrounding the actual number of Iraqi security forces was unsuccessful in my opinion. Whether there are two or three or a hundred battle-ready Iraqi batallions, they still remain entirely dependant on Coalition Forces for recon, logistics, and back up fire power. Bush reminds us several times during the half hour speech that "progress is being made". He also makes a passing reference urging "all Americans" to read a thirtysomething-page document on the Whitehouse website. Media reports suggest that there is nothing substantitive or new in the 30+ pages, which doesn't surprise me. If there was something compelling to share, surely the President would have done so in his speech. But i am frustrated that I tuned in for some answers about Iraq and i get a 30 page reading assignment instead.
The rosey and upbeat assesments that the President provides are predicated on a lot of things that are far beyond his control. And until George Bush realizes that there can be no solution to the insurgency in Iraq without a diplomatic and economic component, the situation will continue to detoriorate. As it stands, the US military remains a target in Iraq. The President has lost his way. And every time he opens up his mouth I feel less safe.