Tuesday, September 19, 2006

George W. Bush at the United Nations

The president will address the United Nations soon. CNN:
NEW YORK (CNN) -- President Bush will challenge world leaders to do more to build democracy in the Middle East, when he speaks at the United Nations on Tuesday.

He will use a late-morning speech to the General Assembly to ask U.N. members for help in "encouraging the forces of moderation in this struggle against extremism" in the Middle East, national security adviser Stephen Hadley said on Monday.

Previewing the speech for reporters, Hadley said Bush will discuss how establishing democracies in the Middle East has "an important part to play to give the people in the region a vision of hope and opportunity and a better future."

"He will also ... emphasize the fact that countries need to find their way toward free and just societies in their own time, consistent with their own culture and traditions," Hadley said.

And Bush will "showcase" what the administration sees as positive results from its "freedom agenda," "the most remarkable being the processes of freedom and democracy going on in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon," according to Hadley.
That will be some "showcase".

The president's approval rating is at 44 percent, according to one poll.

The AP on the "showcase" in Iraq:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military will likely maintain the current force levels of more than 140,000 troops in Iraq through next spring, the top US. commander in the Middle East said Tuesday.

Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, said the current number of troops "are prudent force levels" that are achieving the needed military effect.
The Washington Post on one developing "showcase":
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 18 -- In a potential break with the Bush administration, French President Jacques Chirac said Monday that he is "never in favor of sanctions" and suggested that the United States and other nations could begin talks with Iran on its nuclear program before Iran formally suspends its nuclear activities.
The London Times covers the Afghanistan "showcase":
Des Browne said that the Government had been under no illusions that the operation would be tough, but it had proved even tougher than predicted.

"We always knew the south (of Afghanistan) would be hard. We do have to accept that it’s been even harder than we expected," he said, in a speech to the Royal United Services Institute in London.

"The Taliban’s tenacity in the face of massive losses has been a surprise, absorbing more of our effort than we predicted it would and consequently slowing progress on reconstruction."
Mick Smith, of the London Times, last week on that "showcase":
So now we know. Forget all the guff from ministers that “commanders on the ground have all the troops they asked for”. The British originally agreed to send another infantry battlegroup to southern Afghanistan to give the ISAF commander Lt-Gen David Richards a quick-reaction reserve force he could send anywhere to subdue Taliban attacks. That was the role Richards foresaw for 3 Para, with a light infantry battalion to be based in Helmand. But John Reid got so angry with other European Nato countries for not pulling their weight that he decided to cut back the UK’s contribution in an ill-advised attempt to push other Nato countries into providing more troops.


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