Friday, January 14, 2005
Finally, Bush Has A Regret!
From today's WaPo:
Without getting into a discussion of presidential regrets-- I'll save that for another time, not at work-- please permit me to say a few things in defense of the "Bring 'em on" remark.
Calling it "a regret, a confession, something," President Bush acknowledged in a round-table interview with regional newspapers yesterday that he has had second thoughts about two of his more swaggering comments from the first term, including his notorious utterance: "Bring 'em on."
"Sometimes, words have consequences you don't intend them to mean. 'Bring 'em on' is the classic example, when I was really trying to rally the troops and make it clear to them that I fully understood, you know, what a great job they were doing.
"And those words had an unintended consequence," Bush continued. "It kind of, some interpreted it to be defiance in the face of danger. That certainly wasn't the case.
It was in a July 2, 2003, exchange with reporters, just as the insurgency was starting to inflict serious casualties on American troops, that Bush said: "There are some who feel like -- that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on. We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation." Here's that text.
Critics described it as an irresponsible taunt that invited more attacks on U.S. soldiers. Since then, more than 1,100 U.S. servicemen have died in Iraq.
If the worst thing that can be said for the remark is that it "critics described it as an irresponsible taunt that invited more attacks on U.S. soldiers," I'd appreciate it if someone proved to me how many jihadis derived their inspiration from the words of George W. Bush.
Meaning, would it have made any difference whatsoever had President Bush used the words, "I love all Iraqis-- terrorists included," or "Pretty please, with sugar on top, stop attacking our poor troops," or "Karate Explosion"?
Of course words matter. But some words matter more than others, and context is always the most important consideration.
Besides, isn't "Bring 'em on" you know, our *strategy*?
Fight the jihadis in Iraq, where superior U.S. firepower can send them to Hell, instead of fighting them in the concrete jungles of Manhattan. Sure, I bet that anyone squeamish about what war entails squirmed at President Bush's remark. But that doesn't mean it wasn't the right thing to say, for our troop's sake. If someone says they want to kill us, kill them before they ever get the chance. Kill them by the bushel.
We can fight this war on the cheap. We could win or lose, but victory on the cheap is a very difficult proposition. Critics of the war will argue that we need more troops. . . but for what? To protect our convoys out of Iraq?
I personally feel that we have enough troops in the field to accomplish the missions we give them. The question in my mind is whether the missions we are giving them are those necessary to achieve victory.
Ruthless violence to our enemies, charity and magnanimity to the vanquished.
President Bush may no longer be comfortable in uttering the phrase, but I still agree: bring 'em on.