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Jason Holliston
Tuesday, May 25, 2004  
The President's Update on Iraq

I didn't watch the speech last night on television, but I've read the transcript on the White House's Web site. As you might suspect, I have some observations, both good and bad.

Generally speaking, I liked it. It was plain-spoken, and gave some great new information about the Administration's plans over the next 8 or so months in Iraq. He laid out a five step plan for us to help Iraq achieve democracy and freedom. None of them are surprises. I do think, however, that it's funny that I keep hearing about how Iraq will be a "colony" of the United States -- the Iraqis will have sovereignty in about five weeks, and elect an interim national assembly in about seven months. All those years of British rule, did they ever give the Iraqis those things? Of course not, since that was the definition of colonization. If you hear anyone try and say that we're colonizing Iraq, it's completely appropriate now to point and them and laugh in their face. Ask them if they believe that we faked the Moon landing, as well.

I found this part a little confusing:

I've asked this team to oversee the training of a force of 260,000 Iraqi soldiers, police, and other security personnel. Five Iraqi army battalions are in the field now, with another eight battalions to join them by July the 1st. The eventual goal is an Iraqi army of 35,000 soldiers in 27 battalions, fully prepared to defend their country.

Ok, so there's going to be 225,000 police and "other security personnel"? For some reason that sounds off, but I'm probably wrong.

This was probably the best part of the speech:

We did not seek this war on terror, but this is the world as we find it. We must keep our focus. We must do our duty. History is moving, and it will tend toward hope, or tend toward tragedy. Our terrorist enemies have a vision that guides and explains all their varied acts of murder. They seek to impose Taliban-like rule, country by country, across the greater Middle East. They seek the total control of every person, and mind, and soul, a harsh society in which women are voiceless and brutalized. They seek bases of operation to train more killers and export more violence. They commit dramatic acts of murder to shock, frighten and demoralize civilized nations, hoping we will retreat from the world and give them free rein. They seek weapons of mass destruction, to impose their will through blackmail and catastrophic attacks. None of this is the expression of a religion. It is a totalitarian political ideology, pursued with consuming zeal, and without conscience.

He definitely moved closer to defining the war we're in more accurately than he has in the past. While he still called it a "war on terror", he made it plain that we're not fighting a method of warfare (terrorism), but the people we're fighting, who happen to primarily use this method to achieve their goals -- the Islamic fascists. My only quibble -- and it's not a minor one -- is that he didn't give these people a name, like "Islamic fascists". He instead described them, in their methods, their goals, and their ideology. Why not name them? Is it because you'd have to use the word "Islamic" somewhere to properly identify them, and that would make all the Muslim special interest groups freak out? I think that the initial naming of the conflict we're in as the War on Terror was probably appropriate, due to 9/11, it's not any longer. We need to name the enemy publicly and forthrightly, without regard of who gets angry.

As I've said before on this blog, I believe things are going swimmingly in Iraq, once you put the proper perspective on things. We will win. There will be a free, liberal democratic Iraq, and they will be a shining star to the states around them, such as Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. This is a generational war, much like the Cold War with communism, with Iraq as one large, very important battle in that war. And, much like WWII, the war is with fascists. Finally, like the aforementioned wars, we'll win.

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