Today I watched the press conference of President Bush and the new Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd. Not having heard Mr. Rudd speak before, it was interesting. He was quite charming, in the same 'cowboy' kind of aw shucks way as Bush. Rudd made a point of saying he is from Queensland, and he said it is much like Texas, though bigger. Good one.
Bush congratulated Rudd on following through with campaign promises. Rudd ran on bringing troops out of Iraq and has begun the process. He, however, promises strong, continued commitment in Afghanistan. He calls upon more nations coming forward and taking an active part in the blossoming free nation. Mostly they both spoke of our two nations shared values and long time bonds. He said he intended that to continue.
I know he's no John Howard, but he seems ok. Give the guy a chance.
Yesterday President Bush gave a speech on Iraq. I didn't watch it but I read a few quotes from it on Brietbart.com. The speech was in Dayton, at the National Museum of the USAF. My husband is an Air Force vet from the days of Vietnam. He served his four years.
Bush spoke to the yapping in Congress, especially those who seem to think they know better than the new Iraqi officials on the ground. "They got their budget passed, " the president said. Sometimes it takes our Congress awhile to get its budget passed."
"Nevertheless some members of Congress decided the best way to encourage progress in Baghdad was to criticize and threaten Iraq's leaders while they're trying to work out their differences," Bush said." "But hectoring was not what the Iraqi leaders needed," he said. What they needed was security. And that is what the surge has provided."
"They are trying to build a modern democracy on the rubble of three decades of tyranny, in a region of the world that has been hostile to freedom. And they're doing it while under assault from one of history's most brutal terrorist networks," Bush said. When it takes time for Iraqis to reach agreement, it is not foot-dragging, as one senator described it during Congress' two-week Easter recess. It is a revolutionary undertaking that requires great courage."
The lispy Senator from Oregon, Ron Wyden, was the name-caller referenced in the remark above. Wyden is of the same belief of the other defeatists, refusing to acknowledge anything other than failure of "Bush's war". Retreat and surrender the vulnerable country is their answer.
"If America's strategic interests are not in Iraq, the convergence point for the twin threats of al-
Qaida and Iran, the nation Osama bin Laden's deputy has called the place for the greatest battle, the country at the heart of the most volatile region on earth, then where are they?"
And, I listened to an interview with Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch from Baghdad. He is on his third deployment to Iraq, leading the Third Company and speaking to the progress made from his first deployment to the second and then his latest, which has lasted 13 months now. He was interviewed by Michael Medved on the radio. Quite a guy. He talked of being honored to serve with the men there, of their pride in their mission and of their dedication. An all volunteer force that has met its 2008 re-up quota a full six months early. Lynch said that had never happened before in the history of the military.
Then, Medved did an interview with Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink, currently leading the effort for the Marines to shut down their recruiting station in Berkeley. Benjamin doesn't even support the efforts in Afghanistan, so that was quite a contrast in interviews. She stated her committment to 'human rights for all'.
Too bad she doesn't see the irony.