So, I somehow missed the chance to listen to Bush explain what’s going on in Iraq, but from the reports I’ve seen I didn’t miss much of substance. In the comments on an earlier item, Rise Against offered the following word counts (courtesy of the Dissent blog):
Terror, Terrorism, Terrorists 33
Free, Freedom 29
Defend, Protect 15
Election, Vote, Polls 10
Killers, Murderers 9
New York, September 11th 7
Democracy, Democratic 5
Liberty, Liberate 4
Exit Strategy 0
Mission Accomplished 0
So, Bush used the speech to go once again to the well of linking Iraq with 9/11 in the public mind. Well, as today’s LA Times editorial puts it:
Bush might be right to now put Iraq at the center of the “global war on terror,” but it didn’t have that status before the invasion.
Meanwhile, Ryan Lizza goes into more detail in the New Republic Online on just what Bush and Karl Rove have been up to with their 9/11 comments lately, including Bush’s repeated invocations of the attacks in last night’s speech: Explain away.
Many expected that Bush would give a speech updating the American people about the war in Iraq. But instead, and not for the first time, the White House confused the need to bolster public support for an increasingly unpopular war with the need to bolster support for an increasingly unpopular president. Bush may have momentarily achieved the latter, but only at the expense of the former.
Update: This article on the speech by Ronald Brownstein of the LA Times was good, too: As war shifts, so does the message.