Reaction to the President’s speech

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Here’s the speech – and the strategy.

Thoughts?

The troop surge is already underway.

Fox News is reporting that Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have issued a joint statement saying they oppose the President’s plan. (Just found: Here’s the statement.

Oh, and here’s Senator Lieberman’s response to the President’s plan, which should make the defeatist Democrats who can’t stand him hate him even more.

Blogger reax:

Hugh Hewitt: “President Bush was at his best tonight: serious, detailed, and above all, resolute.”

Don Surber, Blog For All, Stop The ACLU, John Hawkins, Allah, Greg Tinti

Update I: Sean Hannity requested and got Fox to display a digital clock that is counting the minutes until the Democrats detail their alternative plan.

Update II: Here’s that joint Democratic ‘leaders’ statement Fox mentioned earlier.

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Update III: Here’s my reaction (sorry I’m a little late on it – been nursing a headache and formulating a response at the same time): I thought it was the speech he needed to give. He was cautiously optimistic while emphasizing the goals we and the Iraqi government needed to achieve there – noting that there will still be violence and death as we work to achieve those goals, while at the same tiime acknowledging that past strategies weren’t working and that he took responsibility for them.

He mentioned in his speech that he thought that the troops that were there had “too many restrictions on them” which I hope means that we’ll soon be abandoning our ‘soft war’ approach.

It’s good he issued warnings to Syria and Iran about the flow of arms and foreign fighters into Iraq, which let them know that he’s not taken his eyes off of how they are working against his stated goals for success in there.

It was very important for him to emphasize to the American people, who have lost confidence that this war can be won and a majority of who think we should be out by the end of the year, what leaving too soon would mean in the overall scope of the war on terror: disaster. It’s critical that people be reminded that if we were to leave before the job is finished, that the violence and chaos that would overtake Iraq would be a danger not just to Iraqis who desire peace, but us too, and the rest of the international community.

I especially liked it when he told those who have ‘different’ views on his plan to explain why their plan would equate to success for and in Iraq, directly putting Democrats who want to cut and run on the hot seat – because you can’t equate cutting and running to ‘success’ in Iraq, just ‘success’ for Democrats. In the prepared Democratic response, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin didn’t explain how his party’s plan for Iraq equated to ‘success’ for anybody other than the Democratic party.

Update IV: In case you missed the speech, National Review has video highlights. Watch it here.

Playing games with the Iraq war: Democrats supported troop surge before they were against it

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I swear, just when you think the Democrats couldn’t get anymore pathetic, they outdo themselves.

As you’ve already read and heard, the President’s speech tonight will outline a new course for Iraq, which will include what’s being commonly referred to as a troop ‘surge.’ The President wants to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq as part of his overall plan to turn things around and eventually turn things over to the Iraqi people. Naturally, the Democrats in both the House and Senate have come out in strong opposition to the President’s plan for a surge, with some even calling for Congress not to approve funding for any new troops that the President wants to send to Iraq, and some thinking they can sneak around the Constitution and dictate war policy (scroll down on that post) to the President. The NYT reports on other ways Democrats are plan to show their opposition to the President’s ‘surge’ plan (emphasis added):

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 — Democratic leaders said Tuesday that they intended to hold symbolic votes in the House and Senate on President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Baghdad, forcing Republicans to take a stand on the proposal and seeking to isolate the president politically over his handling of the war.

Senate Democrats decided to schedule a vote on the resolution after a closed-door meeting on a day when Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts introduced legislation to require Mr. Bush to gain Congressional approval before sending more troops to Iraq.

The Senate vote is expected as early as next week, after an initial round of committee hearings on the plan Mr. Bush will lay out for the nation Wednesday night in a televised address delivered from the White House library, a setting chosen because it will provide a fresh backdrop for a presidential message.

The office of Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, followed with an announcement that the House would also take up a resolution in opposition to a troop increase. House Democrats were scheduled to meet Wednesday morning to consider whether to interrupt their carefully choreographed 100-hour, two-week-long rollout of their domestic agenda this month to address the Iraq war.

In both chambers, Democrats made clear that the resolutions — which would do nothing in practical terms to block Mr. Bush’s intention to increase the United States military presence in Iraq — would be the minimum steps they would pursue. They did not rule out eventually considering more muscular responses, like seeking to cap the number of troops being deployed to Iraq or limiting financing for the war — steps that could provoke a Constitutional and political showdown over the president’s power to wage war.

They want you to think that they were against a troop surge all along. But they weren’t. Remember in early December when the ISG’s report and recommendations were released? Democrats at that time were saying that the ISG’s findings were “consistent” with their proposals to change course in Iraq:

House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement that the study group’s recommendations are consistent with Democratic proposals “to change the primary mission of U.S. troops in Iraq from combat to training and support, which would enable the redeployment of U.S. forces to begin.”

“Now that the study group has endorsed this proposal, I hope that the president will recognize that he must take our policy in Iraq in a new direction,” Pelosi said.

Just a few days later, Democrats expressed “frustration” over the fact that the President didn’t seem too keen on some of the ISG reports’ “major recommendations”:

WASHINGTON – Top Democrats in Congress left a White House meeting with President Bush on Friday frustrated over what they perceived as his reluctance to embrace major recommendations from the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

Democrats stressed to Bush in separate meetings the dire need for the administration to revamp its Iraq policy, but they don’t expect him to embrace all 79 recommendations made this week by the panel, which was chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind.

[…]

But some Democrats came away unconvinced that major changes were coming.

“I just didn’t feel there today, the president in his words or his demeanor, that he is going to do anything right away to change things drastically,” Senate Majority Leader-elect Harry Reid, D-Nev., said following the Oval Office meeting. “He is tepid in what he talks about doing. Someone has to get the message to this man that there have to be significant changes.”

Clearly, they wanted the President to go along with the ISG’s recommendations without a fight. Well, did you know that the ISG noted in their report that they would support a ‘short term surge’? Yep, they did and along with it rejected an immediate withdrawal of US troops, which some Democrats like Murtha and Dennis Kucinich have already called for. From page 50 of the ISG report:

We could, however, support a shortterm redeployment or surge of American combat forces to stabilize Baghdad, or to speed up the training and equipping mission, if the U.S. commander in Iraq determines that such steps would be effective.

We also rejected the immediate withdrawal of our troops, because we believe that so much is at stake.

My goodness! Looks like the President actually did take some of the ISG’s recommendations to heart after all. After all the whining, b!tching, moaning and groaning from Democrats about how the report was “consistent” with their proposals and that they were “frustrated” with the President’s lukewarm reaction to some of their recommendations, the President incorporated some of their suggestions into his plan – including support for a surge.

Top military commanders in Iraq also came out in late December in support of a troop surge in Iraq, and we all know how important it is to Democrats for Bush to “listen to the commanders on the ground.”

But, what are Democrats doing now? They’re playing games with the Iraq war and any attempts at stabilizing the situation on the ground there by strongly opposing a troop surge, as I noted earlier in this post. And they aren’t listening to those “commanders on the ground” regarding a troop surge and too-soon withdrawal. In other words, this whole time, they were full of *edited* on Bush listening to what the “commanders on the ground” wanted and wanting Bush to comply with ISG’s recommendations. Not surprising, but outrageous nevertheless, and more proof that Congressional Dems don’t mind donning masks to cover up who they are what they’re really all about.

This is what happens when you have a bunch of anti-war uber-liberal hate Bush Democrats like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Ted Kennedy in positions of power: they will look you directly in the eye and lie to you about what their objectives are on national security (among other things). Why? To get elected, so they can stick it to the President, of course. It’s all about the power. And now that they’re in the driver’s seat, they’re going to stick it to the voters who elected Democrats who promised this mysterious, unexplained ‘change’ prior to the 2006 elections. One change voters did NOT want, however, was a too-soon withdrawal from Iraq.

These latest actions by Congressional Democrats are definitive proof that you absolutely, positively cannot take any of them seriously on anything they say regarding their positions on the war on terror. I said it before and I’ll say it again: they do not want us to win in Iraq.

They simply cannot be trusted to tell the truth, nor can they be trusted to be in the driver’s seat in a time of war. That these shameless, dishonest, disingenuous, anti-war, cut and run, stuck-in-Vietnam clowns are going to be micromanaging the President’s every move over the next two years on the war on terror is a travesty of epic proportions, and is already proving to be disastrous.

Second Hand Conjecture and Anchoress have must-read posts on this subject which contain additional links on the Dems flip flopping stances on troop surges and listening to the “commanders on the ground.”

Bush’s speech this evening

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Fox News has a preview of some of the things the President will be addressing in tonight’s speech. Here’s a sneak peek:

WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush will tell the nation Wednesday night that he should have sent more troops to Iraq to fight the war during the earlier stages of the nearly four-year conflict, a senior administration official revealed.

Speaking from the Library — a White House room never before used by the president for a public address — Bush will also acknowledge that the rules of engagement were flawed and will seek support for a new strategy to win the unpopular war, presidential counselor Dan Bartlett said.

The new approach includes sending 21,500 additional U.S. troops — 17,500 to Baghdad and 4,000 to al Anbar province — to join the 132,000 already there. Their purpose will be to help “break the cycle” of violence to “allow for the type of breathing space that the Iraqis need to get the type of political and economic reconciliation we all know that’s necessary for that country to move forward,” Bartlett told FOX News.

“President Bush would not commit one additional troop to Baghdad if it weren’t based upon a new strategy with new outcomes to be expected,” Bartlett said. “And that requires two basic things … one, there has to be more Iraqi troops on the ground — what we saw last time is that the Iraqis made pledges to bring in Iraqi troops that didn’t materialize — and, two, and just as importantly, is that the rules of engagement, the places where these troops can go and actually conduct operations, have to be different.”

Read the rest here.

Democrats, anticipating Bush’s speech, are busy mulling over ideas to thwart the President’s plan to send more troops to Iraq, proving that even though the party in control has changed, they haven’t forgotten about how to be obstructionists.

Hat tip: Right Voices

Dems determined to repeat ‘nam defeat with a defeat in Iraq

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Gateway Pundit slams home a point I’ve had floating around in my mind the last several weeks (but haven’t articulated) with his post titled “How Democrats Lost Vietnam… And, How They Plan On Losing Iraq“.

Cox and Forkum say it another way:

On the issue of opposing additional troops and trying to show it by withholding funds for the war, John Dickerson at Slate thinks that Senator Ted Kennedy is on his own in wanting to ‘stop the surge’ via cutting off war funding. I think on that score, he’s incorrect (more here).

Correction: Dickerson points out in the comments section that he did note that Kennedy would probably have more allies in the House than Senate. My mistake (that’s what I get for speed reading!)

Hat tip: Good Lt at The Jawa Report

Read more via: MKH, Blackfive, Dan Riehl, James Joyner, Decision ’08, AJ Strata, Blue Crab Boulevard

Senator Ted Kennedy calls for ‘universal’ healthcare coverage

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He wants America to follow Massachusetts on requiring healthcare for all:

WASHINGTON — The federal government should join the state of Massachusetts in enacting universal health coverage, said Sen. Edward Kennedy, the new chairman of the Senate committee with jurisdiction over numerous health issues.

Kennedy’s home state is the first to require everyone to have health insurance, just as drivers must have automobile coverage.

Kennedy has his own version of what universal health coverage would look like. He wants to extend Medicare to all. In his first hearing Wednesday as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the Massachusetts Democrat called on 10 witnesses from all over the country to talk about how to make health care more affordable.

“Insurance coverage is down. Costs are up. And America is heading to the bottom of the league of major nations in important measures of the quality of care,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy emphasized how Democratic legislators in his home state worked last year with Republican Gov. Mitt Romney in crafting universal coverage there. He wants the same spirit of compromise to take hold in Congress.

Republicans didn’t do the country any favors by increasing the size and scope of government like they did while they were in control. But now that the Dems have the reigns, look for them to make the Republicans appear like fiscally responsible small government geniuses. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Update: Oh, and speaking of Senate agendas, here are some of the ideas the Kos Kids had yesterday after Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin asked them for suggestions on setting the Senate agenda.

Wednesday open thread

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Just thought about the fact that I haven’t started one of these in a few days, so here ya go.

BTW, ever seen a 22 ft snowman before? No? You have now:


Caption: A group of people look at the 22-foot snowman, Snowzilla in Anchorage, Alaska, Friday, Jan. 5, 2007. Snowzilla may be a smash hit with shutterbugs, but some neighbors of the two-story high snowman say they’re fed up with the hordes of gawkers clogging up the Street. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)

Here’s the story about it: Alaska snowman has some neighbors fuming