Sunday, December 18, 2005

President Reminds Us of Iraq's Place in the War on Terror

this is an audio post - click to play

Tonight, President Bush gave another major speech on our progress in Iraq. This was probably his best speech since 9-11 and clearly presented the case for our position regarding Iraq's place in the War on Terror.

While we have been incredibly lucky and not suffered a domestic terrorist attack in over 4 years, far too many people have forgotten the nature of the enemy we face. Many on the left and in the mushy middle have gone wobbly on Iraq and lost focus of the role a free and democratic Iraq will have in draining the swamp that bred the hatred that brought us 9-11 and threatens far worse if we surrender or appease.

Despite the ongoing war, almost all Democratic senators and 4 Republicans (Craig, Hagel, Murkowski, and Sununu) are filibustering a renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act--a law without whose enactment right after 9-11 we would have surely suffered innumerable further terrorist attacks as the Gorelick wall would have continued to bar the sharing of information between law enforcement and the military and intelligence services; information learned in grand juries could not have been shared with the military or intelligence services; wiretap orders would have had to specify not only the target person but the specific phone number and location of the phone used even if the target repeatedly changed phones to stay ahead of wiretap orders; and many other reforms that respect our individual liberties but have worked so well over the past 4 years, that will sunset in less than 2 weeks and leave us as vulnerable we were on that sunny September morning when our world changed forever.

Does this have to happen again before everyone truly appreciates the nature of our enemy?Unfortunately, this is not the only major hindrance the war effort is now suffering. Major media outlets freely engage in the exposure of national security secrets that would have earned a quick trip to the gallows for treason in wars past. A veto-proof majority of both houses of Congress have forced the President to cave in to the media's favorite Republican senator and sign a terrorist bill of rights that will place on interrogations of known terrorists from overseas virtually the same limits as domestic police interrogations of criminal suspects. Have we forgotten? Have we? Have four years of no successful domestic terrorist attacks really lulled us into a false sense of security and a belief that we've already won this war against an enemy that professes to seek our annihilation?

Highlights from the speech:

"If you think the terrorists would become peaceful if only America would stop provoking them, then it might make sense to leave them alone. This is not the threat I see."

"My conviction comes down to this: We do not create terrorism by fighting the terrorists. We invite terrorism by ignoring them. And we will defeat the terrorists by capturing and killing them abroad, removing their safe havens, and strengthening new allies like Iraq and Afghanistan in the fight we share."

"Some look at the challenges in Iraq, and conclude that the war is lost, and not worth another dime or another day. I don't believe that. Our military commanders do not believe that. Our troops in the field, who bear the burden and make the sacrifice, do not believe that America has lost. And not even the terrorists believe it. We know from their own communications that they feel a tightening noose -and fear the rise of a democratic Iraq."

"Defeatism may have its partisan uses, but it is not justified by the facts. For every scene of destruction in Iraq, there are more scenes of rebuilding and hope. For every life lost, there are countless more lives reclaimed. And for every terrorist working to stop freedom in Iraq, there are many more Iraqis and Americans working to defeat them. My fellow citizens: Not only can we win the war in Iraq - we are winning the war in Iraq."

"I also want to speak to those of you who did not support my decision to send troops to Iraq: I have heard your disagreement, and I know how deeply it is felt. Yet now there are only two options before our country - victory or defeat. And the need for victory is larger than any president or political party, because the security of our people is in the balance. I do not expect you to support everything I do, but tonight I have a request: Do not give in to despair, and do not give up on this fight for freedom."