Sunday, December 18, 2005

"The Wrong Shall Fail, the Right Prevail"

I was impressed by the president's speech tonight. He compressed what he's been saying for the past few weeks (here, here, here, and here) into this single address: the three-pronged strategy; the necessity of staying in Iraq and winning; the danger of a timetable for withdrawal; the importance of the just-completed Iraqi elections -- tempered by humility and a newfound willingness to admit to setbacks, difficulties, and mistakes. It is a refreshing and re-assuring turn in the president's war leadership and rhetoric, a positive conclusion to a tough year. May it signal not only a strong end to 2005 but an auspicious beginning for 2006.

Two key paragraphs, the first explaining why Iraq has everything to do with 9/11:

September 11th, 2001, required us to take every emerging threat to our country seriously, and it shattered the illusion that terrorists attack us only after we provoke them. On that day, we were not in Iraq, we were not in Afghanistan, but the terrorists attacked us anyway -- and killed nearly 3,000 men, women, and children in our own country. My conviction comes down to this: We do not create terrorism by fighting the terrorists. We invite terrorism by ignoring them. And we will defeat terrorism by capturing and killing them abroad, removing their safe havens, and strengthening new allies like Iraq and Afghanistan in the fight we share.

And the second discussing the perils of premature withdrawal:

It is also important for every American to understand the consequences of pulling out of Iraq before our work is done. We would abandon our Iraqi friends -- and signal to the world that American cannot be trusted to keep its word. We would undermine the morale of our troops -- by betraying the cause for which they have sacrificed. We would cause tyrants in the Middle East to laugh at our failed resolve, and tighten their repressive grip. We would hand Iraq over to enemies who have pledged to attack us -- and the global terrorist movement would be emboldened and more dangerous than ever before. To retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor, and I will not allow it.

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