Tuesday, September 12, 2006

five years of mornings after

President Bush’s speech last night—coming almost five years to the minute after his original 9/11 ovaler—had to be one of the worst of his administration, and yes, I know, that’s saying a lot.

As badly delivered as it was badly written—the tired rhetoric mirroring the tired man (he’d had a long day, and we all know he doesn’t travel well)—the speech not only failed to rise above the politics-as-usual quality that all of Bush’s “important” addresses have, it failed to provide even his staunchest supporters with anything fresh to use in the run-up to the November midterms.

Rather than take a stab at a new approach to the challenges presented five years ago, Bush used most of his fifteen minutes to rehash his latest defense of his Iraqi debacle with language so close to the stump speeches of last week that even the usually deferential local TV reporters called the speech “political.”

The fact is that after so many soldiers have been killed and so many pre-war rationales have been exposed as lies, no one really believes the President when he repeats that the Iraq war was “necessary” because Saddam Hussein was a “clear threat,” or claims yet again that we have to fight the terrorists over there or they will “follow us home,” or even when he attempts to re-recast his middle eastern misadventures as the fight “for civilization.” After five years of this administration’s “war on terror,” a majority of Americans have finally come to understand that Iraq is not part of that “war” at all, and, after countless color-coded alerts, failing grades from the 9/11 commission, and the graphic catastrophe of last year’s emergency response in New Orleans, most have lost faith that Bush can handle the parts that just maybe really are.

(photo by me, 9/11/06)


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