Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Presidential Address

I actually watched the President's address last night--which is probably the first time I've watched him speak at length in a couple of years. Since it was September 11th, I figured I'd pitch in and do my patriotic duty. For the first half of the speech, I was all like "That's right! Go on, Mr. President!" in spite of myself. And then about mid-way through the question started circulating in my head: is he or is he not going to talk about Iraq? Silently, I pleaded, "Don't mention it, just don't do it."

Of course he did, and here's the thing: I don't think it's entirely out of line to mention Iraq on September 11th. Like it or not September 11th was and is a political event. For better or for worse (guess which) it's what lead us into Iraq and what has defined just about everything about this presidency. He lost me, however, when he said something to the effect of "The safety of America depends on the war in the streets of Baghdad." That's an incredibly simplistic view on the safety of America.

In the days and weeks after September 11th, President Bush was exactly the kind of president I wanted, and I think any president who lead the country through that kind of attack, panic and confusion deserves respect for that. The aftermath though...well, I certainly don't agree with all the follow-through since September 11th. Surely, mistakes have been made, and I'm not sure that a different president wouldn't have made the same ones or different just-as-bad ones. Iraq is messy, messy, messy but some good has come out of it. It's funny how if you listen to one news station with one political leaning, it's all bad news with Iraq and if you listen to another news station with another politican leaning, it's all glossed over. I think the real truth is somewhere in the middle.


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