I thought the president's speech was right on. Progress is being made despite what the Democrats say. It is a shame how the Democrats keep refusing to acknowledge any success at all. Sure it is tough, and will continue to be tough for a while.
It is not more of the same; it is a direction that is gaining. We need to support it and quit trying to undermine the efforts.
Don Brown, Olympia
The president's speech was more of the same. His speech writers are very good at spin, and rhetorical public relations salesmanship. However, nothing new was said. Mr. Bush continues to link 9-11 to Iraq which is patently false. ... President Bush treats the American people with contempt when he assumes we do not perceive the events of the past four years in an intelligent and realistic way.
Martha and William Pierce, Lacey
There were no surprises. It was more stay the course. The "draw down" is not due to any success from the surge, it is because the military can not sustain the 160,000 boots on the ground any longer then the timeline that was given when it started.
A key element in the surge was to give the Maliki government "breathing room" to establish their government and achieve reconciliation. This has not happened, in fact it seems to be falling apart.
Bush is talking about a long term commitment, into the next presidency. I see this as a way to put the blame for the failure on the next President, which will probably be a Democrat.
There has been success in recent months, that is in Al Anbar Province. The reason for the success is because the tribal leaders have taken control of the security on the region. It is an example of what can happen if we just leave them to control their own neighborhoods.
The lie that is constantly told is that America will some how be safer. That is just plainly not true, the United States will only be a trillion dollars poorer and more American and Iraqis will be dead. There is no benefit for the American people in this fiasco.
I have no confidence in anything Bush has to say, especially regarding the invasion and occupation of Iraq. In my opinion, he and his administration should resign from office. Doubting he would ever take that step, I have been resigned to wait until January 20, 2009. I believe we should immediately withdraw from Iraq and bring our service persons home. I only hope and pray Bush won't commit us to an invasion and occupation of Iran before he leaves office. I had no love for Saddam or the current Iranian government, but I don't believe either to be a credible threat to the people of this country. Bush used 9/11 to take care of old unfinished business instead of focusing on the immediate threat of Bin Laden.
I think our service men and women have done the very best they could under dangerous, difficult, and trying circumstances. I don't believe this administration is doing everything they can to meet the needs of our troops. I read an e-mail today from the father of a Marine in Iraq who was asking for donations to pay for double AA lithium batteries and silly string for his son and fellow Marines because they can't get what they need to protect themselves from explosive devices. So much money is going into propping up the Iraqi government and train their soldiers and policemen that our own don't have what they need. Just makes me mad that we could allow Bush to talk the American people into war in Iraq. I guess most of us were just plain mad about 9/11 that war with Iraq was just a substitute for Bin Laden.
I thought a mother who just lost a son in Iraq had a very good point when she asked why she was planning a funeral when Bush was planning a wedding.
I believe that some times wars have to be fought, and that the vast majority of our service persons have served honorably and in good faith. I will continue to believe in them and their sacrifices even though Bush has betrayed them.
Thank you for allowing me to have a voice.
Robert S. Geissinger, Olympia
As a retired enlisted Vietnam veteran I was not particularly surprised by the President's actions and speech. Pretty much same thing happened with Nixon as President while the Democrats controlled the government back in the 70's.
I was also not particularly pleased. However, as political expediencies have been allowed, once again, to override "right".
I was in Iran before the Shaw fell (thanks to Jimmy-give-away-the-canal-Carter) and saw far more than I ever wanted to of Muslim intolerance.
We are dealing with something worse than Nazism. Worse than Communism even. Nazi's wanted to convert us. Communists wanted to conquer us. These fanatics want to kill us.
When we destroyed the evils of Nazism in WW2 we bombed 1000 year old cathedrals and burned cities to the ground. Now we are kissing butt on people who only understand brute force - people with a mentality rooted in 635AD.
We will be safe only when they are too scared of us to take action.
H. W. Safford, Olympia
Nothing new! He is only repeating himself, yet again. What surprised me? That he'd have the gall to face the people of this nation and read such drivel. He has no shame.
Diane Skov, Lacey
I thought it was very slick to promote as a huge concession and recognition of Petraeus report, a troop level that only returns things to where they were a year ago.
I think Bush is stalling withdrawal in anticipation of a conflict with Iran. We have more troops in the arena than ever, we have plans to bomb a number of Iranian sites, the British have more troops in the arena and there are reports that Iran and Syria have the bomb.
Shawn Timothy Newman, Olympia
This war has been based on lies and deceptions from the very beginning, and Bush's latest speech is more of the same. Although the best intelligence says perhaps only 2% but certainly less than 5% of the people fighting the U.S. occupation of Iraq are Al-Qaeda, Petraeus and Bush kept referring to the Iraqi nationalists as Al-Qaeda. It's grossly deceptive, but Petraeus and Bush want to manipulate U.S. public opinion.
Bush called for sacrifice, but he doesn't expect his rich cronies to sacrifice by paying the taxes necessary to fund the war from which they profit. He just keeps adding to the deficit so middle-class people and their children and grandchildren will pay, while his cronies get rich from the war.
Bush admitted that the U.S. will continue to occupy Iraq for a long time. Thousands of U.S. military people are stationed in Germany, Japan and Korea decades after those wars, and the U.S. will have to occupy Iraq for as many decades as Iraq's oil lasts. This is because Iraq's people and parliament OPPOSE the oil law the U.S. government (Republicans and Democrats alike) are trying to cram down the Iraqi government's throat. The oil law would let U.S. oil companies control and derive most of the profits from Iraq's oil.
Bush's offer to let some troops come home would still leave a huge occupying army. His ploy is a public relations scam. He's just buying time.
Public opinion polls in Iraq keep showing that a large majority want the U.S. to get out. If Bush believed in democracy he'd do what the Iraqi people want -- and get out! But it's not about democracy. It's about OIL.
A couple of days ago I read in the Olympian the result of a poll of Iraqis which showed that they wanted the American forces to leave by approximately 55%, and that it was acceptable to them to make US forces targets by about 45%. It was also reported that Al-Maliki wanted more American assistance. As long as we continue to prop up this puppet Iraqi government which does not do the will of its people we will not be doing them or ourselves any favors. President Bush wants to withdraw the surge troops and bring us back to the previous 130 000 troop level by next summer. Smoke and mirrors. When will our elected representatives in Washington DC discuss the Impeachment of Bush and Cheney for their complicity in the lies leading up to this illegal war and the hijacking of our own government??
The first thing in the speech that struck me was its opening terminology - describing Iraq as "our ally." I was unaware that we had signed an alliance agreement with the Iraqi government. Aside from that, it contained the same bromides of the past four years. As the political leader, the president still has not given the armed forces, bless their souls, a clear statement of mission and objectives. As I see it, the speech amounted to nothing more than a plan to leave the mess for his successor.
G. Patrick March, Lacey
If someone says they're tired of mashed potatoes every night for dinner, the answer is not to start giving extra large portions of mashed potatoes every night for dinner. True that people might give up expecting dinner to ever contain anything other than mashed potatoes, so when you promise cutting back to the original portion size, it seems like something has changed. But it hasn’t!
During the 2006 election, control of both houses of congress changed hands from Republican to Democrat. The media rightfully interpreted this "sea change" as it was called, a clear mandate to change course in Iraq. In following months, the media reported that more and more Republican legislators were imploring President Bush to do something to address their constituents’, along with the rest of the American majority's desire for a change in policy toward Iraq. Bush proposed the serge of more mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, what was actually being mashed were and are human beings, Americans and Iraqis. Does this huckster actually think that the American people will buy this? He’s got cronies droning on about “redeployment of our troops equals defeat” while he’s trying to make us believe that a mere 5000 extra troops home for Christmas out of 150,000 still deployed in Iraq. I don’t believe this will earn him any praise in the American psyche. He’s a huckster.
It’s time for the Iraqis to get their house in order. Granted Bush’s war on Iraq totally responsible for the influx of militant Islamists into that country. I believer they are only there due to the vacuum created by our taking out Sadam. He didn’t want them in his country either. As to whether WE are actually any safer serging against the militants, I’d like to quote General David Petraeus yesterday, “I don’t know.”
Thank you for this forum.
The President's speech sucked. I say get the hell out of Iraq. We only went in there to steal their oil in the first place. We ain't gonna get that oil, because the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites are all gonna have a jolly time killing off one another in a civil war that has been ongoing off and on since 600 A.D.
David N. Allen
When OUR nation invaded Iraq in March of 2003, that country was not considered an ally. President Bush labeled that nation part of the, “Axis of Evil”, that was to be dealt with like one would treat a monster.
However nasty he might have been, Saddam Hussein had been in control of those various factions of people for decades: we meddled. I do not believe Bush has ever understood the Middle East, the mind set of Muslim extremists or even the day-to-day workings of their culture.
They, the Iraqis, are not stupid people. Nay. They have played that sap of a U.S. president like a fiddle. We are spending BILLIONS OF OUR DOLLARS EVERY WEEK on Iraq. Say it fast. One billion equals 1000 millions. In the meantime, the Iraqi government has taken vacations, been in hiding, gone on vacation, adjourned to the desert, gone on vacation, and done absolutely nothing to take control. They do not want to take control. The spectacle of watching this horse’s ass with his lack of diplomacy has been much too much fun. When and only when they are ready to seize control of the oilfields and kick every foreigner out, will they act like leaders. They have not yet milked enough money from Yankee pockets. They have not yet fully exposed our soft underbelly…but they are getting there fast.
The infrastructure of the United States needs serious work. It is not getting done. New Orleans is still in ruins: two years out from that awful hurricane. The dikes and levee systems are still not in place.
China has shipped millions of contaminated products to our shores, (which, by the way took jobs from American hands) and we find the Consumer Protection Agency is a sham from top to bottom because the personnel and money to operate this agency was stripped to less than skeletal…it is DEAD.
We clamor like a bunch of harpies in the airports…seizing things like baby bottles and allowing entire cargo holds to go un-inspected. Our food supplies are contaminated right and left with human and animal feces that causes E-coli outbreaks. The food inspection system is broken.
Inner cities in this nation are riddled with the ugliest of filth and crime. Unemployment is staggering in some areas. The cock and bull figures of 4.5% unemployment is pure garbage. There are so many people who have long since depleted their unemployment money. They drop off the statistics when that happens: Hmmm they are still unemployed. Only now, they no longer “count”.
Senior citizens in this nation are still eating dog food as a protein source because they cannot afford groceries. Except now we find out even that food is potentially lethal because of the Chinese poisons in it.
The price of crude oil just hit the $80 a barrel mark. Our domestic fuels are at an all time high. Yet, Bush has not seen fit to turn loose of any real money for alternative energy sources: More hypocrisy on his part. (Of course his own oil interests would be in direct competition with alternative fuels.)
This administration is the most corrupt, most inept and the most dangerous I can ever remember. Harry Truman was president when I was born. In those years, we have suffered through some awful administrations: this current one is the worst.
Bush could not find his own ass with a flashlight and ten-man working party. But, he and that SOB Cheney can sure strip the American People of every last dime and send it to other lands and peoples.
Anne V. Norskog, Lacey
Everything he said had already been reported ahead of time by mainstream media, talk radio, bloggers, etc; so nothing new with respect to the speech and the political responses to it. One hopes the eventual drawdowns will be accompanied by increased secuirty and stability in Iraq and that a corner can be turned. This is a difficult problem that should transcend the partisan quagmire into which it has fallen. The national dialog should focus on the consequences of our future actions and what will be left behind under various scenarios. That would be a refreshing change.
I see the Smirking Decider is at it again. There was nothing to like about this speech, but even I was surprised that he kept up the same campaign of misinformation. All the things he said we Iraq would have if we pulled out (more violence, etc) they already have and he has done nothing to prevent it. Now he has guaranteed that we will have 100,000 or more soldiers in Iraq beyond the election, with another 1000 soldiers dead along with countless citizens of Iraq. And for what? The only benefit from this madness will be a major Democratic victory in 2008, and those deaths are a heavy price to pay. The idea that this fiasco does anything to give security to America would be laughable, except that a disaster like this, which has caused so much human misery, is anything but laughable. Bush and his right-wing allies should be run out of town and Republicans should be out of power for at least a generation for having gotten us into this mess.
J. David Markham, Tumwater
President Bush is attempting to pass this mistake of a war off to his successor. I have and I will continue to advocate his and his vice-president's impeachment until the evening of January 19, 2008. These two men are criminals.
Nick W. Bond
I didn't like his speech. It was too predictable. Same thing over and over. Again, the president is using our troops for his political agenda. To make statements about reducing troops in Iraq next Spring or Summer is making it sound as though he is bending and listening to the majority of Americans. However, it is just smoke and mirrors. The surge troops he is 'reducing' the numbers with are scheduled to come home at that time on their normal rotation - of course this is after the 15 month deployments that the most troops didn't learn about until already in Iraq. He has no exit strategy, he can't explain what success really is going to look like. He just wants more money and more time - so he can then tell everyone it is working a bit more, but he just needs more money and time - an American lives. And even his top General couldn't answer the question - Are Americans safer because of the actions in Iraq? It is time to end this ridiculous idea that democracy is wanted in that part of the world. Support the troops and their families by bringing them home now - right now - not 6 months or a year - NOW!
Jerry Simmons, Lacey
It's tempting to say, 'nothing he has to say can be _________!.' Many choices exist for the last word, none of them matter to me, so I won't say it.
The map he verbally drew held no surprises however. He is commited and I did not expect any major alterations to that stance. He managed to use the testimony of recent days to beat his drum of "Endure and Succeed."
I liked his display of stubborn devotion to an already made decision. I think he even attempted to open a door for discussion with some in the opposition camps.
I disliked the selected references to individuals as tools to emphasize his interpretation of events in Iraq. I disliked his thinly vieled barbs aimed at congress, when he thanked them for funding his war in one breath and blamed them for causing so much disagreement in the next.
I was neither surprised, nor disappointed. This man is predictable, and not likely to diviate from his self created comfort zone. Status goals change when you are the son of a world figure. The bar is high and you either go under it or over it. His life is dedicated to surpassing the parent. His parent had one trait GW has not so far exhibited, he had patience. The son has confused patience with persistence. Two distinctively different frameworks.
Ron Lawson, Lacey
Nothing surprised me. The President said the exact same things he has always said, and they don't match the reality we see everyday on our TV screens and the Internet. America is seriously lacking in pragmatic leadership and our troops are paying the price. How many more will have to die to feed Mr. Bush's ego?
Mike Unser, Olympia
More spin, more lies, no surprises, just more of the same.
I think that this president has ulterior motives for stalling the withdrawal of our occupation of Iraq. I think if he was sincere about about caring for the Iraqi people and for Americans, he would lead accordingly in trying to bring about a livable peace in Iraq and the region. Instead his message is war and more war and more death and more punitive action. And, I think that those who blame the Iraqi people for not pulling a government of our liking together fast enough, after we've bombed them into the stone-age, are equally delusional. We need a leader who will bring a lot of angry and traumatized people to the table to figure out a sensible plan for a just and healing peace. And, we need a leader who will engage the American people in this effort, rather than the current hellish course.
I saw President Bush's speech tonight. It's time for patriotic Americans to stand by their President. Now, you ask yourself, I'm just an average American, whatcan I possibly do? I've got four suggestions to help you get started. 1) If you have a teenager, advise them to join the Army or the Marines. For a fallback, the National Guard. 2) If you're a senior citizen, when you get that monthly Social Security check, write on the envelope "Return To Sender. Maybe this money will help win the war." 3) Since we're borrowing the money from China to pay for this war, please buy all Chinese products from now on. I myself am using an ancient Chinese lead- based deodorant. 4) Finally, write your Senator to have them eliminate the Presidential term limit. It appears that Mr. Bush will need at least another 8 years to fulfill his Messianic fantasy.
Martin Litwak, Olympia
It's scary. President Bush is so insulated by people who tell him what he wants to hear that he doesn't get it. The American people want a more focused policy on what realistically can be accomplished, not a token reduction in troop strength and an open-ended plan which will require that troops remain in Iraq through the next decade.
Alan M Corwin, Lacey
There were no surprises in the Presidents comments in the speech the other night. Just more of the same. Justification for killing our military people, squandering our nations future finances and killing the innocent people of Iraq where the military action is taking place.
Interesting how none of this would be so important had we not invaded Iraq. We could have invaded Iran, Saudi Arabia or any number of countries that had more involvement in the East Coast attacks, but the weakest of the bunch was selected for destruction. The Iraq government was destroyed, their law enforcement was disbanded, their leader was hung, and their national infrastructure was demolished. The United States destroyed the nation of Iraq and the President keeps saying we still need to stay there. Nation building never was our strong suit in the Middle East. Nor has it been any other nations success. Yet the President wants to keep doing more of the same. He cannot reasonably expect different results than we are seeing today.
The President is still connecting the invasion of Iraq to the terrorists that drove airliners into our nations buildings even though they were not from Iraq. Most distressing is that the hardcore republicans and many from the right will support any position he takes, regardless of how impossible it seems.
Dennis Rohn, Hoodsport