President Bush's recent speech on Iraq came off as uninspiring to me. I really wanted him to outline the difference between what we have been doing in the past, and what has changed now with this new course of action. He did mention a few nuanced differences in policy and troop usage, but there was not much of a contrast between past polices and the new approach.
I viewed this as an opportunity for the President to rally people around the cause. I had hoped that he would outline just how important Iraq is to help ensure our safety here in the USA, and for success in the overall war on terror. With the current political climate in the United States, this truly is our last, best hope to achieve success in Iraq. I want us to succeed, and I support the President in his plans to secure Baghdad.
The majority of congress is against the president. Who knows what the 2008 election will bring. If the Democrats win the presidency, we all know what will happen -- our troops will be coming home from Iraq forthwith! And Iraq will fall into total chaos and civil strife. Terrorists could take over the Iraq's oil reserves (2nd largest known oil reserves in the world.) If that were to happen, there would be no shortage of funding to support terrorist operations around the world, including the obtaining of weapons of mass destruction. Pulling out of Iraq now might lead to a broader regional conflict in the future (possibly involving Israel). Such a conflict may draw us back into the region to protect the flow of oil in the Persian Gulf.
The whole political dynamic of the middle East is going shift -- one way or the other -- depending upon the outcome of events in Iraq. If freedom and democracy are established, freedom might bloom in other neighboring nations as well. If we fail in Iraq, terrorism and instability in the Middle East will reign.
The future of Israel is also at stake. If Iraq falls to the terrorists, there will be more guns pointed at Israel. Israel will be forced to take action on its own. Heretofore, Israel has let the US do much if its work for them, to help ensure their security. Without a significant US presence in the Middle East, Israel may have to take matters into its own hands. If that happens, a powder keg could be set off in the middle east. (Especially if Iran is allowed to get nukes).
President Bush gave a nice speech, but I didn't come away from it with a greater confidence in the president, nor with great confidence in the plan he laid out.
As genuine and well intended as President Bush is, there are times like these when we need a "Great Communicator" as was President Reagan. There have been times when George W. Bush has come off as Reaganesque, such as his speech at the National Cathedral after 9-11, and his speech to the joint session of congress in September 2001. However, we haven't seen that George W. Bush for quite some time now.
What we needed was a Captain Moroni Moment. In the Book of Mormon when the forces of the Lamanites were surrounding the Nephites, and when there was great political division and insurrection at home, Captain Moroni stood up before the people, took off his coat, tore off a piece of it, and wrote upon it the Title of Liberty: "In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children." Then he hoisted this title of liberty upon a pole before the people, and rallied them around the cause of liberty and freedom. (See Alma 46:12-13)
I don't doubt the sincerity of President Bush. I know his heart is in the right place. I only wish that he was better at getting his message across in a more convincing manner. It might have convinced the American public to at least give his plan an opportunity to succeed, and have a little more confidence in their president. As it is, the Democrats in Congress -- and it would appear the majority of the American public -- are unwilling to give President's plan a fair shake.