Tuesday, January 16, 2007

# Posted 7:36 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

BUSH'S SPEECH AND DURBIN'S RESPONSE: My thoughts about the speech itself are below. What about the response? In political terms, I think it was both civil and effective. In terms of substance, I disagree with it very strongly.

The basic thrust of what Durbin said is that America has done enough for Iraq and shouldn't have to do any more. That may sell, since Americans have had more than enough of the war, but I'd say it's a short-sighted and narrow-minded approach.

According to Durbin,
We have given the Iraqis so much. We have deposed their dictator. We dug him out of a hole in the ground and forced him to face the courts of his own people. We've given the Iraqi people a chance to draft their own constitution, hold their own free elections and establish their own government.

We Americans, and a few allies, have protected Iraq when no one else would.

Now, in the fourth year of this war, it is time for the Iraqis to stand and defend their own nation.
I wonder if that's the first time a Democrat so prominently gave credit to Bush for protecting Iraq. At least until recently, the official party line is that Bush created the mess.

It's also quite generous of Sen. Durbin to say that our policy of democracy promotion represents a tremendous gift to the Iraqi people. I don't remember too many Democrats saying that before, either.

Regardless, Durbin says it's time for Iraqis to stand up for themselves. Of course, one might point out that Iraqis continue to show up at recruiting stations even though they are such popular targets for suicide bombs. Or one might point out that Iraqi forces continue to take far greater casualties than US forces.

What's missing from Durbin's speech is any sense that the problem in Iraq is something other than a lack of effort on the locals' part. In contrast, Bush provided a fuller account:
Al Qaeda terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq's elections posed for their cause, and they responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis. They blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam -- the Golden Mosque of Samarra -- in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq's Shia population to retaliate. Their strategy worked.
Another subject Bush addressed that Durbin didn't is what might happen in Iraq if we withdraw. (Excuse me. I meant "redeploy".)

Apparently, Durbin can only see the positive:
[The Iraqis] will understand the day has come to face their own responsibility to protect and defend their nation.
Strangely, after criticizing the President for being so naive and optimistic about the consequences of going into Iraq, the Democrats insist on being naive and optimistic about the consequences of pulling out.

Finally, Durbin, like his fellow Democrats had little to offer in the way of a broader vision for the Middle East. Would Durbin, or any other Democrats, agree with Bush's statment (in his speech) that the war in Iraq is part of:
...the decisive ideological struggle of our time...In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy, by advancing liberty across a troubled region.
If not, what do the Democrats propose instead?
(3) opinions -- Add your opinion

What is "centrism"?
It is plain old pragmatic politics?
Can't wait to hear any thoughts you might have on Hillary's recent proposals on Iraq, and of course on her finally announcing her candidacy.

Also, weren't you going to review another classic Jmes Bond film? I enjoyed the first and am looking forward to another!
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