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A casual reader of newspaper headlines has a better grasp on the situation in Iraq than the President of the United States. That is the only logical conclusion based on Bush's reaction to Kerry's speech. Bush clearly has developed a set of talking points that he thinks are effective and that are broad enough to be used no matter what Kerry says, and he isn't going to muddle his message with facts or reality.

Bush seized on a comment by Kerry that the United States had traded a dictator for chaos that has left America less secure. He said that in December, in the heat of his primary battle against anti-war candidate Howard Dean, Kerry had said those who did not believe Saddam's removal had made the country safer did not have the credibility to be elected.

"Today my opponent continued his pattern of twisting in the wind, with new contradictions of his old positions on Iraq," Bush said at an "Ask President Bush" event before an enthusiastic crowd in New Hampshire.
Back in December, the administration was telling everyone that the insurgency was led by "dead enders" from Saddam's Baathist regime, and that Saddam's capture would effectively end the resistance. Kerry repeated his unforgivable habit of believing George W. Bush, and criticized Dean for doubting the President. Kerry has learned from his mistakes, Bush has not. The capture of Hussein has made no one safer. It has freed Shiites to oppose U.S. forces, given free reign to AQ and its affiliates, and done nothing to slow down the insurgency. Only an ostrich, head in the sand since March, could believe otherwise. Bush apparently likes the cool, sandy environment (is Crawford sandy?).
"We must show resolve and determination. Mixed signals are the wrong signals to send to the enemy, mixed signals are the wrong signals to send to the people of Iraq. Mixed signals are the wrong signals to send to our allies. And mixed signals are the wrong signals to send to our troops in combat," he said.
For more on mixed signals, please see Bob Novak [from Drum]:
Inside the Bush administration policymaking apparatus, there is strong feeling that U.S. troops must leave Iraq next year. This determination is not predicated on success in implanting Iraqi democracy and internal stability. Rather, the officials are saying: Ready or not, here we go.
Bush's "resolve and determination" plumage are clever talking points, but again betray his complete detachment from reality. He doesn't realize that his resolution is leading to devastation.

More pernicious in this talking point, of course, is its anti-democratic implications. Saletan put this well, back during the GOP convention: "the GOP is trying to quash criticism of the president simply because it's criticism of the president. The election is becoming a referendum on democracy." Nothing Kerry does will damage the nation nearly as much as anything Bush has done.
"Can you imagine what Iraq would be like today if Saddam Hussein were in power? It'd be terrible for them and we'd be dealing with a guy who just totally ignored the demands of the free world," Bush said.
As opposed to now, when Iraq is living through its version of the Clinton administration, full of peace and prosperity? Luckily, Bush's Hussein obsession will result in the defeat of another man who habitually spits on the demands of the free world.

If you had a crazy uncle that made arguments like Bush's, would you listen to him? If you emailed him cites and articles pointing out his numerous errors, but he continued making the same arguments, would he deserve your confidence? My aunts and uncles are all sane and intelligent, but I would think the guy was a nut. I sure as hell wouldn't think he should be President. Even my Republican uncles (both of them) are opposing Bush - Iraq is too big of a mess.


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