Good speech from the president. The $87 billion pricetag was a bit bracing. However, that beats the heck out of another 9-11. This was the part that was the second-most-interesting to me.
There is more at work in these attacks than blind rage. The terrorists have a strategic goal. They want us to leave Iraq before our work is done. They want to shake the will of the civilized world. In the past, the terrorists have cited the examples of Beirut and Somalia, claiming that if you inflict harm on Americans, we will run from a challenge. In this, they are mistaken.The problem in the past was that we ran when we got our nose bloodied. A easily-spooked public didn't want to spend the human capital to keep troops in Lebanon and Somalia.
Two years ago, I told the Congress and the country that the war on terror would be a lengthy war, a different kind of war, fought on many fronts in many places. Iraq is now the central front. Enemies of freedom are making a desperate stand there -- and there they must be defeated. This will take time and require sacrifice. Yet we will do what is necessary, we will spend what is necessary, to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote freedom and to make our own nation more secure.
What the president's job on this front is to convince the public that it is worth keeping the troops there. This was done fairly nicely in this part-
The people of Iraq are emerging from a long trial. For them, there will be no going back to the days of the dictator, to the miseries and humiliation he inflicted on that good country. For the Middle East and the world, there will be no going back to the days of fear, when a brutal and aggressive tyrant possessed terrible weapons. And for America, there will be no going back to the era before September the 11th, 2001 -- to false comfort in a dangerous world. We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. And the surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans. We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities.This is one we can't afford to lose. People were persuaded that Lebanon and Somalia weren't worth fighting for. Bush needs to remind people of 9-11 and point out that this is worth fighting for.
Sullivan pointed out that key al Qaeda folks are heading into
the roach motel Iraq to fight the US. Better in Baghdad than Boston.