Monday, September 08, 2003

Bush's speech

I don't have a TV and didn't get to see Bush's speech, but I just read the text of it via Drudge.

A few quick remarks:

1. We're not going to be brushing off the UN anytime soon, nor does it appear the UN is going to be marginalized. Hulk not happy.

2. $87 billion being requested... Hmmm. So long as it's used well, and so long as we can persuade other nations to chip in, with a minimum of strings attached.

3. The three-objective strategy struck me as rather general. "Our strategy in Iraq has three objectives: destroying the terrorists, enlisting the support of other nations for a free Iraq, and helping Iraqis assume responsibility for their own defense and their own future." While such objectives SHOULD be general, this wasn't followed by the requisite specifics. Elaboration of the first objective amounted to rearticulation of the flypaper strategy. The big news in Bush's comments on the second objective appears to be that troop strength won't be increased. I've read arguments both for and against, and have no particular view on this yet, not until I know more. With regard to the third objective, Bush points vaguely to the massive training programs going on in Iraq to create the necessary police, civil defense, border guards, etc. There are civilian opportunities here, I think. I noticed Bush says his Security Council resolution includes the question of timetables for creation of government in Iraq. I already wrote in favor of timetables, but don't understand why that particular matter is being presented to the UN. This really should be between us (US) and Iraq.

4. Bush was right to note what our armed forces are going through. Hats off.

Bush's speech was brief, which may also account for the lack of particulars. But as time goes on and our finances bleed, it becomes very important for his administration to provide more detailed justifications for what they do.

Whether Bush should even be going to the UN in the first place is questionable, but I'll be curious to see how this pans out in the next couple months.

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