Thursday, August 23, 2007

Country First

Yesterday the President gave a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I only listened to a bit of it, as lately my tolerance for his speeches is waning. He is always difficult to listen to, not being the most eloquent of speakers, but the substance of his speeches have fallen short and I don't know why he doesn't employ speechwriters with the ability to pound home the facts, especially concerning the war in Iraq. From the reviews I read this morning, the speech was factual with references to WWII, the Korean War and then Vietnam. I cringe that he brought Vietnam into the mix. I know he was trying to make the point that our withdrawal, if not done with utmost care and consideration, will be a prescription for slaughter to the Iraqis left behind. Much like the millions who were slaughtered in Vietnam and Cambodia, especially under the thumb of Pol Pot. It's a lesson that can't be forgotten. I don't want to see anymore desperate people hanging onto the skids of helicopters, trying to escape from their country. That is a visual in my mind that I still can't shake off after all these years.

Remember when the war in Iraq was new and maybe about two weeks old? Teddy 'the swimmer' Kennedy and his ilk began the mantra that it was a quagmire and just like Vietnam? Unfortunately, like so many mistakes made in the execution of this war, the administration was very slow to push back and draw the distinctions between Vietnam and Iraq. It allowed the drumbeat to escalate into the mess we have today with all sorts of false claims touted as facts being spread in the media and on the floor of Congress. All for political gain. Party above country. And, to me, any reference to Vietnam by Kennedy is amazing, considering it was his brother the former President who laid the groundwork for the war in the first place.

That's why I cringed when I heard the reference to Vietnam in the President's speech.

I am watching a press conference given by Senator John Warner, R-VA, speaking about his recent trip to Iraq with Senator Levin, D-MI from the U.S. Capitol Senate Radio and TV Gallery. Levin is the chairman of the Armed Services Committee and Warner is the ranking member. These two men have taken turns back and forth being chairman for the recent past. Both need to retire.

The newsworthy part of the trip, for me, was that Levin came back and admitted that the surge is working, militarily. The problems with the politics in that country is the holdup in the minds of most pundits. The anti-war defeatists, lead by the likes of Levin, have claimed the war is lost, that Petraeus in incompetent and on and on. From the floor of the Senate and the well of the House, of course. But, don't question their loyalty to the troops. They say we have to withdraw rightthissecond. The media agrees and pushes the agenda. Petraeus was unanimously voted to lead the surge and they gave him about a month, troops not even all in place, before they claimed it was a complete failure. So, for Levin to come back and have to admit this bad judgement of the facts on the ground was quite a spectacle.

Levin, in order to appease his constituents, left Iraq for a trip to Israel where he gave a press conference demanding that al-Maliki be removed from office. An elected leader 'be removed' from his fledgling democracy. Granted the guy is inept and not willing to step up but this kind of call from Levin feeds right into the fears of those believing the propaganda that the U.S. is a puppet master. It is further evidence the Dems are not worthy of the Oval Office. They still show no care about public statements, as though these statements are not carried all around the globe and used for the benefits of some very bad men.

Warner went first to Kuwait, then joined Levin to go into Iraq. They were only allowed to spend one night there. After meeting with the leadership there, he proclaimed his support for Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. He said they worked hard together to find agreement on issues in Iraq. One issue where they completely differed, Warner said, was the statement by Levin, after leaving Warner and on his own, promoting the removal of al-Maliki. Warner said he was not willing to go that far.

Warner knows words matter. Country over party.


Debbie said...

You didn't like Bush's speech? I thought it was one of his better speeches, and he read it rather well, for Bush.

The beginning, comparing events and quotes with Japan, was excellent. I followed completely until he brought Viet Nam into it. I thought that was probably a mistake. I too, have remembrances of the helicopters leaving so many people behind.

Paul is a Hermit said...

You're right about the President. He lacks the fire in his speeches, the ability to get his points across while holding our attention. He is often monotone and worst of all, he pauses every other sentence, expectantly waiting for applause as if his speeches were tailored to generate cues for his audience. For goodness sake, just say what's on your mind and if people want to applaud you let it be genuine and unsolicited.
Yes, other politicians do it and it's just as bad with each.

I think as you do, Vietnam was a shame, not a defeat in a sense and why some delight in using one shame to generate another to gain power is sad to me.