Saturday, June 25, 2005

Bush to Address Nation About Iraq, But What Should He Say?

Recent polls showing that support for the war in Iraq is slipping have led President Bush to schedule a prime time speech to the nation this coming Tuesday. But what can he say to rally support?

Writing for Fox News, Centrist Democrat and former U.S. Representative from Texas, Martin Frost, suggests the President should level with the American people. Frost says:

There is no question that Saddam was a tyrant and that the Middle East is better off with him no longer in power. Also, a democratic Iraq could have a real impact on the future of the entire Middle East. If nation-building (democratization) had been the administration's real objective from the beginning, it should have leveled with the American public at the outset rather than relying on now-discredited claims of weapons of mass destruction and Iraqi involvement in Sept. 11.

The American public is perfectly capable of dealing with the truth. The Bush administration needs to level with the public about the difficulty of the job ahead in Iraq rather than making general statements indicating that all is well. We will stay the course in Iraq if the country is convinced that Bush has a realistic plan for the future.

We can argue all day about whether Bush adequately and honestly presented the case for war before the invasion. We can also argue about whether or not the media is obsessed with the negative and whether the daily listing of body counts is sapping public support. But we can’t change the fact that we ‘re Iraq and we can’t change how events there are covered. All we can do is decide where to go from here.

President Bush must take a strong leadership role. Public support must be maintained until an Iraqi Constitution is created and a permanent government is elected. It would be incredibly wrong to withdraw now. But staying will have its costs. Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent remarks that the insurgency is in its “last throes” creates a false impression of imminent victory. And while he properly clarified his remarks later, his original statement was definitely part of a pattern of unguarded optimism that has persisted since “Mission Accomplished.”

Optimism from our leaders is essential, but not to the detriment of communicating the real costs. Instead of telling us that this will all be over soon, President Bush should speak clearly about the challenges and losses ahead, about why we absolutely must push forward and about how all of us here on the home front can help the efforts.

Martin Frost is right. We need the hard truth. But we can handle the hard truth. Americans are strong and the great majority of us will not waiver if the President leads.


At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Alison Shunstrom said...

Alan there is 2 errors that you have made 1 is by saying that the American people are strong, the American people up to this day have showed how weak,nieve and ignorant they are.
2 and this is very opposite of what you say, the American people will listen to Bush if he tells the truth, Washington and Bush has lied so much that no one can or will beleive them any more unless they are part of the ignorance and the Wahington plot. At this time now the American people are going to stand out and protest against Washington and Bush.
The time has come to stop Wahington and Bush from all their lies, killings and invasions and I aim to see that this will happen, and I will aim to see that all troops return back home without permission from Washington or Bush, this is what you call a strong person a caring person a person that wants real world peace and I will get it.
Campaign soon to start " Time to stop Washington and bring the troops home"
Call it what you like make it look to be like a Washington move to oust suddam to oust Chavez call it what ever you like but Washington will be stopped and the troops will be home and this is when the American people are going to start being strong for themselves and their loved ones not for Washington or Bush because 95 percent of the troops do not even support why they are there and now the people at home and this put together Washington nor Bush stands a chance.

At 6:33 PM, Blogger Sean said...

well, they never said saddma was connected to Sept 11. that is another lie that will not die.

Bush should level with the american people and ask for them to recognize the battle in the larger context. he needs to tell them it will not be swift, and needs to remind them how long WW2 took and how many we lost there.

Not sure how may people you will win to your side, when you start by calling them weak, naive and ignorant. wow. thats a conversation starter. can you imagine knocking on someones door "hi, you weak, naive and ignorant person. woudl you like to join my peaceful movement for hate??"

how do they return home without permission from washington or Bush?? huh?? yeah, lets see your march and protest. Looney left!

they fail to realize that most Americans do not view Bush as a liar. most Americans understand that intelligence is faulty. Thats why the attacks on clinton when he bombed wrongly the sudan factory, did not go anywhere. People understand that. as long as the looney insist on lying about the supposed lies Bush told, they will only continue to undercut their credibility. thats why even though support for the war has dropped, you have not seen an increase in the anti-war activists. People are discouraged and confused, but not stupid.

i think people are getting frustrated because they dont see the end game. he needs to show them the light at the end of the tunnel. Explain that things sometimes look darkest before the dawn.

At 8:38 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Sean, I think we may actually agree on something. Wow.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Jami said...

one word: benchmarks.

At 3:25 PM, Anonymous paulk said...

Sean, while I agree with a lot of what you said in you comment, I think you got it wrong when you said, "he needs to show them the light at the end of the tunnel. Explain that things sometime look darkest before the dawn."

Bush needs to deliver the light at the end of the tunnel, not just show it. There in lies the weakness of this whole sorry affair. I fear that the reality on the ground in Iraq has gone beyond the Administrations ability to control it, and the real possibility of defeat is starting to grow.

I agree that many Americans are fully capable of figuring out for themselves how things are really going in Iraq, and what they are starting to figure out is that things are just plain not going well over there. There is no doubt that a premature pull out would be disasterous. But what I believe many Americans are starting to fear is that we may just plain lose.


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