Open thread: Obama’s Iraq speech; Update: Obama acknowledges Bush

posted at 7:37 pm on August 31, 2010 by Allahpundit

8 p.m. ET across the dial. It’s billed as an Iraq speech, but that’s not really what it is. The “key part,” apparently, will be a renewed call to “take the fight directly to al Qaeda” by finishing the job in Afghanistan. (Wouldn’t taking the fight to AQ require operations in Pakistan, not Afghanistan?) It’s also being billed as a “mission unaccomplished” speech, as the White House is ever mindful after Bush of the pitfalls in celebrating too early. But that’s not really what this is either. Like it or not, by investing the end of combat ops with the grandeur of an Oval Office address, The One is necessarily signaling completion of the task. And why not? The public couldn’t be clearer as to how it feels about renewing combat operations if Iraqi security starts to fall apart. This is closure, for better or worse.

Because it is closure, and closure at a moment when things are ominously open-ended in Iraq, I admit to having no appetite today for the standard left/right recriminations about how much Bush screwed up or whether Obama should credit him for the surge. (I think he will acknowledge Bush tonight, for what it’s worth, mainly to signal that this is an occasion that transcends partisanship. But never underestimate the political instincts of the perpetual campaigner.) Instead, since we’re putting a bookend on history, I offer you this grim big-picture reminiscence by star NYT correspondent John Burns, who was on the ground over there until 2007. Today is a day that’s taken forever to arrive, he says, and yet it still seems to have arrived too soon. And some Iraqis agree:

“Notwithstanding what the national press says about increased violence, the truth is things are still very much different, things are much safer,” Biden told al-Maliki at the start of their 90 minute meeting.

But throughout the day, Biden’s entourage had to duck for cover three times upon hearing alerts for incoming rocket and mortar fire. No impact was heard, meaning that the shelling likely fell short of its target…

“It’s not the right time,” said Johaina Mohammed, a 40-year-old teacher from Baghdad. “There is no government, the security is deteriorating, and there is no trust.”…

“They should wait for the government to be formed and then withdraw,” said Mohammed Hussein Abbas, a Shiite from the town of Hillah south of Baghdad.

An Iraqi poll taken two weeks ago showed 59.8 percent say it’s too soon for the U.S. to fully withdraw. Ray Odierno, while hopeful that the election stalemate will be resolved by October 1, now worries openly about Iraqis giving up on the democratic model if things continue to bog down. The headlines tomorrow will be about whether The One mentioned Bush, but the bird’s-eye historical view of tonight’s speech will be whether, as lefty hawk Michael O’Hanlon argued today, Obama should have waited until the new Iraqi government was in place to commit to ending combat ops. He’s intent on checking the box next to his campaign promise to end combat ops in Iraq, though, so here we are. The die is now cast — again, for better or worse.

He tends to do well in speeches by his usual standards when he has his C-in-C hat on, so here’s hoping he rises to the occasion. The thread is open.

Update: Nothing specific about the surge, but I was right about him saying some kind words about Dubya. From the transcript:

As we do, I am mindful that the Iraq War has been a contentious issue at home. Here, too, it is time to turn the page. This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush. It’s well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one could doubt President Bush’s support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security. As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hope for Iraq’s future.


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Liar in Chief.

Inanemergencydial on August 31, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Oh boy. Someone drink a shot for “Me”.

upinak on August 31, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Get your Obama Bingo cards ready:

CrankyTRex on August 31, 2010 at 7:41 PM

Hard to stomach.

hawkdriver on August 31, 2010 at 7:41 PM

Hello HA folks!

cmsinaz on August 31, 2010 at 7:41 PM

I think I’m planning a headache….

ted c on August 31, 2010 at 7:41 PM

Oh the agony of a decision; Obama’s speech or two episodes of Warehouse 13.

Skandia Recluse on August 31, 2010 at 7:41 PM

Hard to stomach.

hawkdriver on August 31, 2010 at 7:41 PM

copy that…

cmsinaz on August 31, 2010 at 7:42 PM

It’s going to be awkward.

forest on August 31, 2010 at 7:43 PM

It’s billed as an Iraq speech, but that’s not really what it is.

Whatever it is it’s gonna hack me off just because it’s ‘The Won’ talking reading TOTUS.

Oldnuke on August 31, 2010 at 7:43 PM

Hard to stomach.

hawkdriver on August 31, 2010 at 7:41 PM

You need better alcohol for this.

upinak on August 31, 2010 at 7:43 PM

As I have always said….

Inanemergencydial on August 31, 2010 at 7:43 PM

Wouldn’t taking the fight to AQ require operations in Pakistan, not Afghanistan?

Of course it would. With Øbama, it’s all just a political game.

petefrt on August 31, 2010 at 7:43 PM

I don’t think I can stomach watching him thank himself.

Key West Reader on August 31, 2010 at 7:44 PM

There are those who say…

Inanemergencydial on August 31, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Inanemergencydial on August 31, 2010 at 7:43 PM

let me be clear

cmsinaz on August 31, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Admit you were wrong about the surge.
Admit you were wrong about the surge.
Admit you were wrong about the surge.
Admit you were wrong about the surge.
Admit you were wrong about the surge.

ted c on August 31, 2010 at 7:44 PM

“Let me be clear”.

Oldnuke on August 31, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Barry has some of the worst judgement I’ve ever witnessed in a sitting US President. A political animal with no instinct for common sense.

DrW on August 31, 2010 at 7:45 PM

So, do we drink every time he refers to himself or do we not want to be hungover tomorrow?

NoamSayin on August 31, 2010 at 7:45 PM

I wonder if Iraq relapses(I sincerely hope not!)if it will be Bush’s fault?

jeanie on August 31, 2010 at 7:45 PM

This is closure, for better or worse.

Mostly worse…this will fall apart, since Obama’s new BFFs Iran and Syria will make sure it falls apart and he won’t lift a finger.

AUINSC on August 31, 2010 at 7:45 PM

Oldnuke on August 31, 2010 at 7:44 PM

jinx!

cmsinaz on August 31, 2010 at 7:45 PM

By my authority, I am instituting Sha’ria Law throughout the land…

Inanemergencydial on August 31, 2010 at 7:46 PM

“I inherited”

“My predecessor”

“It’s Bush’s fault”

Oldnuke on August 31, 2010 at 7:46 PM

1. Cut.
2. Run.
3. Boom.

Ronnie on August 31, 2010 at 7:46 PM

OK…how many personal pronouns will he use? What is the over/under?

lukespapa on August 31, 2010 at 7:46 PM

Make no mistake…..

I have always…..

I am proud…..

I salute the troops….

I knew the surge would work…
(that’s for YOU, Ted C LOL)

I uhhh

Key West Reader on August 31, 2010 at 7:46 PM

HA folks can write dear leader’s speeches now…sad, the same thing over and over but in different order…

cmsinaz on August 31, 2010 at 7:47 PM

I hope he has a major TOTUS fvckup.

Christien on August 31, 2010 at 7:47 PM

Let’s count how many times he says “I”.

vcferlita on August 31, 2010 at 7:47 PM

BEFORE ANYONE ASKS

Saddam:
invaded Kuwait, Iran, attacked Israel, threatened Saudi, tried to wipe out Kurds, broke 17 UN resolutions, bribed the rest of the UN, gave refuge to al Qaeda linked guys (Abu sayyaf), gave medical treatment to terrorists, gave diplomatic assistance to terrorists, gave training camps to al qaeda jr (salman pak anyone), paid $25k per dead westerner, used Chem weapons on Kurds, was the biggest environmental felon ever (burning oil), tried to build nukes as early as the 80s, and tried to assassinate a former US president

A saddam today would mean a nuclear arms race with Iran, a secular supporter of jihad (think how bad turkey would be), a more hardlined Israel, and perhaps a refuge for bin laden himself

How much money and weapons would saddam give to Hezbollah (who has killed 300 marines) or Hamas? How many talon would have fled to baghdad? Lebanon would still have 0 democracy. And libya would not have been scared to give up her own nukes back in 03

YES

IT WAS WORTH IT

picklesgap on August 31, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Nope. Won’t listen/watch.

I’ll wait for the review by Mark Steyn (guest host) on Limbaugh’s radio show tomorrow.

GrannyDee on August 31, 2010 at 7:48 PM

I hope he has a major TOTUS fvckup.

Christien on August 31, 2010 at 7:47 PM

Well geeze… now you’re going to make me watch it. I think God has been taunting him lately.

Key West Reader on August 31, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Make no mistake…..

I have always…..

I am proud…..

I salute the troops….

I knew the surge would work…
(that’s for YOU, Ted C LOL)

now watch this drive….

I uhhh

made a lil addition for ya.

ted c on August 31, 2010 at 7:48 PM

1. Cut.
2. Run.
3. Boom.

Ronnie on August 31, 2010 at 7:46 PM

So true. Drink a shot on me.

petefrt on August 31, 2010 at 7:49 PM

Let’s count how many times he says “I”.

vcferlita on August 31, 2010 at 7:47 PM

Most of us are conservatives and we wouldn’t be able to count that high. /sarc

Oldnuke on August 31, 2010 at 7:50 PM

when the camera pans around, see if the new carpet is green with a few small holes planted near the far wall. See if you can tell which way the ball will break if he putts from by the door or the fireplace…

ted c on August 31, 2010 at 7:50 PM

Hmmmm what to watch…

The narcissist
The Twins Game
The narcissist
The Twins Game

Easy choice – go Twins!

gophergirl on August 31, 2010 at 7:50 PM

It appears that many Iraqis have found their voices and I am sure that’s a lot easier without a murdering despot in charge of their country. That said, they should be encouraged to use those voices to push their government into completing their tasks. Maybe they should consider a tea party of sorts.

Cindy Munford on August 31, 2010 at 7:51 PM

just saw the excerpts on Tapper… I’ve got a feeling this clown might even forget to mention General Petraeus, never might Dubya…

phreshone on August 31, 2010 at 7:51 PM

“There are those who said, ‘to hell with it, let’s just book and let these people kill each other off’. And those who said, ‘let’s split Iraq in three countries and conduct forced migrations to segregate the place’. Hey, wait a minute, that was me and Joe. Who wrote this thing?”

forest on August 31, 2010 at 7:51 PM

Hard to stomach.

hawkdriver on August 31, 2010 at 7:41 PM

I bet it is.

gophergirl on August 31, 2010 at 7:52 PM

“Bush’s fault”

orfannkyl on August 31, 2010 at 7:52 PM

cnn says dear leader WON’T credit bush on iraq…

shocka!

cmsinaz on August 31, 2010 at 7:53 PM

FYI: Mark Levin will be doing a “play by play” commentary during O-Liar’s speech tonight.

GrannyDee on August 31, 2010 at 7:53 PM

Any word on who will deliver the American rebuttal?

Christien on August 31, 2010 at 7:53 PM

Mark Levin is commenting on the speech live if anyone is listening to his show. This should be fun.

Cody1991 on August 31, 2010 at 7:53 PM

cnn says dear leader WON’T credit bush on iraq…

shocka!

cmsinaz on August 31, 2010 at 7:53 PM

I think that is going to backfire bigtime.

gophergirl on August 31, 2010 at 7:53 PM

ya but will he try to work in those fabulous car metaphors?

batterup on August 31, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Any word on who will deliver the American rebuttal?

Christien on August 31, 2010 at 7:53 PM

The voters.

Oldnuke on August 31, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Drinking game will commence in 5… 4… 3… 2…

Every time he mentions the word,

“I”

… this should be fun!

Seven Percent Solution on August 31, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Can’t watch.. depending on y’all here.
(recording tho, and BOR after) just in case he expresses sumpin actually remarkable.. like a touch of humility ?
Oh, wait

pambi on August 31, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Any word on who will deliver the American rebuttal?

Christien on August 31, 2010 at 7:53 PM

It will be delayed but well delivered – November 2

gophergirl on August 31, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Here I am. I can’t stand to see or even hear Obama’s voice. Thank you, whoever you are, for doing it for me.

sandee on August 31, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Obama:

Let me be clear…..

……….I was 100% wrong about Iraq.

Baxter Greene on August 31, 2010 at 7:55 PM

I think that is going to backfire bigtime.

gophergirl on August 31, 2010 at 7:53 PM

agree, since he opposed it from the start and EVERYONE knows it…

cmsinaz on August 31, 2010 at 7:55 PM

Every time he mentions the word,

“I”

… this should be fun!

Seven Percent Solution on August 31, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Everybody will be in a coma within 10 minutes.

Oldnuke on August 31, 2010 at 7:55 PM

I miss my Grandpa terribly but I’m so glad he’s not alive to see Obama in charge. He was a very proud WWII Marine and Conservative.

This would be killing him.

gophergirl on August 31, 2010 at 7:55 PM

This one thought will keep me strong through the inanity tonight:

In 3 days, there will be less than 60 until the start of OPERATION AMERICAN FREEDOM!

Mutnodjmet on August 31, 2010 at 7:56 PM

Here I am. I can’t stand to see or even hear Obama’s voice. Thank you, whoever you are, for doing it for me.

sandee on August 31, 2010 at 7:54 PM

ditto

cmsinaz on August 31, 2010 at 7:56 PM

He could give a good speech here. One that tries to unite the country behind the success of our country. But something tells me he won’t do that.

El_Terrible on August 31, 2010 at 7:58 PM

I’ve been lurking. I know it’s :57 after the hour, but I think I need to go de-tick my dog; AND I have a headache.

Yellowdog12 on August 31, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Well… I only show up for the big events… let’s see what the manchild has to say tonight. Maybe when he called President Bush today he asked HIM to deliver the speech… *sigh* I can wish.

On another note, did anybody see the awful re-decoration Obama did to the Oval? It has about as much class as he does.

Republican on August 31, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Everybody will be in a coma within 10 minutes.

Oldnuke on August 31, 2010 at 7:55 PM

If you drink that fast, you’re more likely to be able to boot and rally…

phreshone on August 31, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Another event which makes me happy I have no TV.

Wingo on August 31, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Wake me up when the Jeep hits the helicopter.

Ronnie on August 31, 2010 at 7:59 PM

On another note, did anybody see the awful re-decoration Obama did to the Oval? It has about as much class as he does.

Republican on August 31, 2010 at 7:58 PM

what’s up with that coffee table? yuck

cmsinaz on August 31, 2010 at 7:59 PM

On another note, did anybody see the awful re-decoration Obama did to the Oval? It has about as much class as he does.

Republican on August 31, 2010 at 7:58 PM

It looks like a homemade finished basement in the burbs.

gophergirl on August 31, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Watching CNN’s “coverage” — some woman keeps going on about how it’s the economy dragging the Dems down… um… try the economy, anti-Americanism, his desire for socialist policies, health care… need I continue?

Republican on August 31, 2010 at 8:00 PM

some woman keeps going on about how it’s the economy dragging the Dems down

First of all, it’s the other way around.

Ronnie on August 31, 2010 at 8:00 PM

It looks like a homemade finished basement in the burbs.

gophergirl on August 31, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Yup. You got that right. I can’t wait until a new President redecorates in 2013.

Republican on August 31, 2010 at 8:00 PM

Happy ramadan infidels…speech starts
allah-u-akbar……speech ends

macncheez on August 31, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Indeed Ronnie, you are right!

Republican on August 31, 2010 at 8:01 PM

How late will he be?

darwin-t on August 31, 2010 at 8:01 PM

DRINK…!!!

Seven Percent Solution on August 31, 2010 at 8:01 PM

On another note, did anybody see the awful re-decoration Obama did to the Oval? It has about as much class as he does.

Republican on August 31, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Yes. It looks like a tacky recreational room without the billiard table, wide screen TV and popcorn maker.

Cody1991 on August 31, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Why does he always put on a Southern twang when he speaks?

Republican on August 31, 2010 at 8:02 PM

I’ve pleaded with my husband to see if NCIS is on USA network right now but noooo-he’s got it tuned to FNC.
Make. it. stop.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 31, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Is he going to try to fake crying?

El_Terrible on August 31, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Bush v. Obama re: Troops

Obama is fail

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 31, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Long and painful economy BECAUSE OF YOU!

Yellowdog12 on August 31, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Somebody told him not to move his hands.

Republican on August 31, 2010 at 8:02 PM

His hands are blacker than his face??

PaCadle on August 31, 2010 at 8:03 PM

It sounds like he’s going through puberty… I do like all the family pictures in the background.

El_Terrible on August 31, 2010 at 8:03 PM

First mention of Bush

Republican on August 31, 2010 at 8:03 PM

Hard to stomach.

hawkdriver on August 31, 2010 at 7:41 PM

My son has four more years…

ladyingray on August 31, 2010 at 8:03 PM

What a doofus looking guy

ndulik on August 31, 2010 at 8:03 PM

I have it muted, and it still seems like he’s lying.

DrStock on August 31, 2010 at 8:03 PM

Yeah… courage and resolve… you know nothing about that…

Republican on August 31, 2010 at 8:03 PM

God Bless our TROOPS! THANK YOU for your service!!

Love,

TN Mom

TN Mom on August 31, 2010 at 8:03 PM

There’s less back and forth of the head this time.

Did he get some TOTUS coaching or did he actually memorize this speech?

JadeNYU on August 31, 2010 at 8:03 PM

Why does he always put on a Southern twang when he speaks?

Republican on August 31, 2010 at 8:02 PM

It’s his idea of “outreach” to all of us bitter clingers honkeys.

Cody1991 on August 31, 2010 at 8:04 PM

I I I I
me me me me

ndulik on August 31, 2010 at 8:04 PM

ted c on August 31, 2010 at 7:50 PM

Is it true that Michelle is who chose the official WH interior decorator, and it is Snookie?

petefrt on August 31, 2010 at 8:04 PM

DRINK…!!!

Seven Percent Solution on August 31, 2010 at 8:04 PM

I’m awed by …. the dull, flat, emotionless presentation so far. Where are the flip charts?

ExpressoBold on August 31, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Bush

LEBA on August 31, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Not too bad about Bush yet.Spoke to soon.I,I’m.

sandee on August 31, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Ta da!!!!!

ndulik on August 31, 2010 at 8:04 PM

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