Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Union '06 - On Iraq ...

The President opens this State of the Union with a subtle plea for "civil" discourse between the Executive and Legislative branches, yet he is taking liberty with somewhat coarse and defensive comments on criticism of the Iraq war's direction, characterizing such debate as "defeatism."

The road of victory is the road that will take our troops home. As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels - but those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C.

Yet there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy. With so much in the balance, those of us in public office have a duty to speak with candor. A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison ..... put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country - and show that a pledge from America means little. Members of Congress: however we feel about the decisions and debates of the past, our Nation has only one option: We must keep our word, defeat our enemies, and stand behind the American military in its vital mission.

Whereby this could be an opportunity to somehow persuade public sentiment to exercise patience in the rebuilding of Iraq, the President appears to use this event as a platform for trigger-happy war-time rhetoric that ostracizes the dissent.