ABC's The Note correctly declared tonight's speech to be The Speech. LINK.The setting:
I do not like setting this speech at the home of the 82nd Airborne. This in no way is a comment about the setting, but rather where the setting will not be. A speech of this magnitude ought to be delivered from the Oval Office. This will forever be Bush's war, for good or ill, and it needs to be Bush's speech from Bush's office.The magnitude
Simply put, the magnitude is enormous. It has been well accounted that Syria is at the least allowing for insurgents to cross their borders. Military leaders say that more are crossing than before. It is likely that Iran is going to develop a nuclear bomb, or will at least try to. The CIA (The Agency) has determined Iraq to be a better training ground for terrorists/insurgents than Afghanistan. Public support is at its weakest level since the war's declared beginning. Only victory will alleviate these foreign policy woes.The culprits
At this point, Cheney's legacy, Rumsfeld's too, is all but written. Most likely, so is George W. Bush. Do not forget the Senators that supported this war resolution, in strong opposition to such as Robert Byrd. Bush must deliver a great speech, an honest and compelling speech. Time is of the essence. It was not the case before, but Iraq is the central front for the war on terror.The "T" word
Iraq was a painful misdirection in the war on terror. This may have been apparent to some at the beginning of the war, including many Britons, Wash. Post's excellent recap,
but it can be said now that an unfinished job in iraq would be a damaging blow against the United States in the war on terror.The other "T" word
What Bush needs to avoid is the utterly unrealistic nonsense that has spewed from Dick Cheney.
Everyone knows that Cheney pronounced the insurgency in its "last throes." Here is exactly what he said:
"I think we may well have some kind of presence there over a period of time," Cheney said. "The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." LINK.
Cheney will probably tell you that he did not back track on this point, which as an assertion serves almost always as prima facie proof that a politician has in fact back tracked. Here is Cheney's revision, once things got hot in the kitchen:
"BLITZER: He says that the insurgency now is at a strength undiminished as it was six months ago, and he says there are actually more foreign fighters in Iraq now than there were six months ago. That doesn't sound like the last throes."
"CHENEY: No, I would disagree. If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a violent period -- the throes of a revolution. The point would be that the conflict will be intense, but it's intense because the terrorists understand if we're successful at accomplishing our objective, standing up a democracy in Iraq, that that's a huge defeat for them. They'll do everything they can to stop it.
"When you look back at World War II, the toughest battle, at the most difficult battles, both in Europe and in the Pacific, occurred just a few months before the end, the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944 and Okinawa in the spring of 1945. And I see this as a similar situation, where they're going to go all out.
"They'll do everything they can to disrupt that process, but I think we're strong enough to defeat them. And I think the process itself of establishing a democracy and a viable security force for the Iraqis will, in fact, signal the end, if you will, for the terrorists inside Iraq." LINK.
Cheney makes a number of bizarre claims here. There's a detour to the Battle of the Bulge, and some claim that just a process of defeating the enemy is in and of itself enough to say that the enemy's defeat is signaled to be ending. But before all this, Cheney claims that he meant that a violent period can be called "throes."
That might be the best claim of his entire journey through the fields of back tracking. "Throes" can be, and often are, violent and/or tumultuous. But if you structure Cheney's response, it follows in this format:
1. A reaffirmation of clause "A and B"
2. A defense on the use of "B", namely that it is appropriate.
3. Unrelated concepts similar to the definition of "B" but not totally identical to the circumstances of word "B". It should be noted that other examples of "B" could be provided to show that circumstances of "B" can lead to the opposite of Cheney's claim "A and B" -- namely, the Tet Offensive.
The third paragraph states that:
1. If we have a process to end the insurgency and
2. If we are strong enough to carry this process out
Then: We will end the insurgency.
Not much special there, folks.
At no point in Cheney's remarks, does a cogent defense of the use of the word "Last" as a vital modifier to "Throes" appear. The only rationales provided to support this, and only problematically, are:
1. Some of the victories in previous conflicts were preceeded by horrific fighting, or throes. And, in these cases, said throes were of a violent and penultimate or ultimate nature.
2. The process of a potentially successful solution is sufficient to declare a signal of a resolution.
Neither claim hits at a successful defense for using the modifier "last".