Drudge has had it red-fonted at the top of the page for the past 15 hours. Here’s the transcript, all-capped to make it that much more painful to read. Other righty bloggers like Powerline have already noted how accounts of the speech are emphasizing his withering attack on the conduct of the war over his equally withering attack on the media’s coverage of it. I don’t mind that — war policy matters more to people than press bias, and his line about court-martialing certain unnamed political leaders for dereliction of duty if they had been servicemen is irresistible — but read the AP account that Drudge links to. It’s not that they focus more on his criticism of the war than on his criticism of the media; it’s that the criticism of the media is omitted entirely. The whole first half of the speech is wished away into the cornfield. No wonder. Sample quote:
THE DEATH KNELL OF YOUR ETHICS HAS BEEN ENABLED BY YOUR PARENT ORGANIZATIONS WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH POLITICAL AGENDAS. WHAT IS CLEAR TO ME IS THAT YOU ARE PERPETUATING THE CORROSIVE PARTISAN POLITICS THAT IS DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY AND KILLING OUR SERVICEMEMBERS WHO ARE AT WAR.
But enough of that. The amazing thing about the second half of the speech, where he takes on the war, is how vague, redundant, and unrealistic it is as a prescription for what to do now. A few choice passages:
AMERICA HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO CONTINUE OUR EFFORTS IN IRAQ… GIVEN THE LACK OF A GRAND STRATEGY WE MUST MOVE RAPIDLY TO MINIMIZE THAT FORCE PRESENCE AND ALLOW THE IRAQIS MAXIMUM ABILITY TO EXERCISE THEIR SOVERIEGNTY IN ACHIEVING A SOLUTION…
TODAY, WE CONTINUE OUR INEPT COALITION MANAGEMENT EFFORTS AND, IN FACT, WE ARE FACING EVER DECREASING TROOP COMMITMENTS BY OUR MILITARY COALITION PARTNERS. AMERICA’S “REVISED” STRATEGY DOES NOT ADDRESS COALITION INITIATIVES AND CHALLENGES. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO CONTINUE THIS STRUGGLE WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF OUR COALITION PARTNERS ACROSS ALL ELEMENTS OF NATIONAL POWER. WITHOUT THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ELEMENTS OF POWER COMPLEMENTING THE TREMENDOUS EFFORTS OF OUR MILITARY, AMERICA IS ASSURED OF FAILURE…
OUR POLITICAL AND MILITARY LEADERS OWE THE SOLDIER ON THE BATTLEFIELD THE STRATEGY, THE POLICIES AND THE RESOURCES TO WIN ONCE COMMITTED TO WAR… AMERICA MUST MOBILIZE THE INTERAGENCY AND THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ELEMENTS OF POWER, WHICH HAVE BEEN ABJECT FAILURES TO DATE, IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE VICTORY. OUR NATION HAS NOT FOCUSED ON THE GREATEST CHALLENGE OF OUR LIFETIME… PARTISAN POLITICS HAVE HINDERED THIS WAR EFFORT AND AMERICA SHOULD NOT ACCEPT THIS. AMERICA MUST DEMAND A UNIFIED NATIONAL STRATEGY THAT GOES WELL BEYOND PARTISAN POLITICS AND PLACES THE COMMON GOOD ABOVE ALL ELSE.
Got that? We can’t win without our allies, who are deserting us, but we must continue on to achieve victory, which is impossible because we lack a grand strategy, so we should probably start reducing troop levels and let the Iraqis take over, except that this is “the greatest challenge of our lifetime” and we owe it to our soldiers to win, which is why our leaders must come up with a plan that rises above partisanship, which is never, ever going to happen with the public trending Democratic and 60-65% already demanding withdrawal and an election a year away. It’s like saying, “Victory is within reach — if only the American people were completely different.” Thanks for the helpful advice, General. Like Eric Egland says (and Col. Paul Yingling before him), where were you when this Rx might have been even minimally useful?
Update: Here’s a no-caps version of the speech for easier reading.