A Speech President Bush Should Have Delivered, but, he Lacks the Sense & Sensibility to Do it
On November 30th, 2005, President Bush delivered a speech at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, about his war policy under a banner, "Plan For Victory". Remember the other banner, "Mission Accomplished"... Back then, while riding high, he told us that "major combat operations have ended" in Iraq! Ah, well, to use a bushism, "fooled me once...I can't get fooled again!" Whatever.
Here's a speech I drafted for a president who would speak from the heart, if he had one, and would face reality, if he had the guts....
As I stand here today, in the Naval Academy, I see before me young men and women who represent the armed forces of this nation, and who have, in essence, pledged their lives to defend our country. I stand here as your Commander-in-Chief, yet I do understand that this title bestows me with a huge responsibility, not only toward you but also toward the United States of America. I have to make difficult decisions, but I will never commit our most precious resources, our blood, sweat and tears, without our country being in grave danger and before I carefully weigh the consequences of such an action. I will never lie to you and I will never ask you to make any sacrifice that I, myself, wouldn't be willing to make.
In the past, our leaders have made many serious mistakes at great cost and serious injury to our country. Wisdom often comes at a high price, but it is available only to those willing and able to handle the truth and use their minds. We, as responsible citizens, must know our history and learn from our past mistakes. As individuals, we have to be strong, admit it when we are wrong, and we can take corrective action when necessary. Being stubborn in the face of overwhelming evidence that clearly shows we've taken the wrong path, is not a very smart thing to do. You are being trained to be leaders which means you can adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances on the battlefield, maintain a cool head, and be open-minded to the facts--even if the facts contradict your original views. A good leader is a responsible leader and one who sees beyond his own interests and can overcome his shortcomings.
When our country must sacrifice, I will do my best to see that this burden is widely shared and not placed on the shoulders of the least privileged of our society. I will not allow such a situation to become a way to transfer more wealth to the few, especially when this would result in mortgaging the future of the many. If sacrifice we must, then the pain must be more equitably distributed. It's only fair. Patriotism isn't defined by big talk & long speeches, waving of the flag, and saluting the veterans. A true patriot doesn't remain indifferent on the sidelines when his country is at risk or when blood is being shed, nor does he cares only how to make a profit from the war while his corporation sets up its headquarters overseas to avoid paying taxes.
I know that many of you chose a military career because of the benefits offered by the military: the professional training & the skills, the healthcare benefits, the signing bonuses, etc. I realize that for many of you the military offers opportunities not available to you otherwise. I'm not trying to devalue your commitment to and your love for the country. On the contrary! You all have families, friends, neighbors, our democracy, and our way of life to defend. We are very much indebted to you. I have instructed our recruiters never to lie to you, no false pretenses and promises. And, when you sign up, you should know that your country will never let you down.
Without you, the rest of us wouldn't be able to survive in a hostile world. So, again, we thank you for your commitment, and I promise you to do whatever I can to give you all the necessary means to perform your job. I won't send you into combat without the proper equipment and training. I won't lie to you about our objectives and the reasons for placing you in harm's way. There will be casualties--that's a dire consequence of war. But, I will make sure that all of our injured personnel will get the best medical treatment and their health benefits will never be reduced. The same goes for the families of those killed in action. It's the least we can do for the ultimate sacrifice that so many fighting men & women have done for us.
Yet, a war should be the last resort. We are a powerful country but our strength hasn't relied only on the might of our armed forces. Our strength derives from the strength of the American character, our freedom & tolerance, our diversity, our technology, our culture, our scientific progress, and our democratic way of life. The American experience and the reality of the frontier, even the violent struggles for civil rights, the many peoples who came to our shores to pursue their dreams of a better life... All these, I believe, made us good people, not perfect but always improving. That's progress. We can't turn back! We've endured many trials and tribulations, but like the Revolutionary soldiers at Valley Forge, we marched ahead and blazed our own trails... and we became the envy of the world. We made mistakes aplenty, like every other nation. We accept the responsibility with the promise to look forward with the urgency to keep building a better world for us, and for our children. We should remain the leaders not by military power alone but because we command respect for our worthwhile achievements and the values for which we stand.
The United States does not stand for torture. We are part of the civilized international community that abhors torture and inhumane treatment. We believe that there are certain inalienable rights every person is entitled to, a common sense of human decency that should be universally applied. We strive to be better than our enemies because we recognize the value in every human life, and that we lead by example. We cannot fight intolerance by being intolerant ourselves. We cannot fight terrorism, ignorance and extreme prejudice by exhibiting the worst traits possible. No high value or noble goal can be defended by employing de-humanizing ways and means.
I hope that by the time the freshman class graduates this academy, the United States will not have to use its armies in war but rather as a powerful deterrence. You will be America's ambassadors to the world as we'll help make and maintain the peace. You can help show that although we're very strong we choose not to use violence unless we have no other credible option. Our enemies won't go away any time soon but nor will our resolve to defend ourselves and all those who fight for democracy, human rights and peace. And, our foreign policy will reflect our commitment to those values. United with our friends & allies we can demonstrate to the world that there is much to be gained in prosperity and personal fulfillment by working together.
Finally, I want to call upon all the good citizens of the world to join the United States in committing to the effort of bettering the lives of the less privileged among us. If we are to fight, let's fight extreme poverty, let's fight the diseases that kill & maim millions of humans every day, let's introduce peace to those who see war as a perpetual state, let's give real hope to those who need it most.
Thank you, and let's get to work. Let's excel in everything we do. I expect no less from my fellow Americans. I know our United States can do a lot more. And we will.
Bush's audience at the Naval Academy
Sadly, a speech like this is not something that can be delivered by G. W. Bush or his clique. They lack the sense and sensibilities. Their views of the world are rather small and their horizon is unbelievably microscopic. In line with Newspeak, this is an example what our Caesar is capable of, a blend of Newspeak and bushisms:
"I just want to you know that when we talk about war, we're talking about peace.."
President G W Bush, Washington D.C., June 18, 2002.
Why, did you expect anything better? I didn't think so.