Home > Political Ranting > SOTU: Same Old, Tired, Untrue Speech (Part One)

SOTU: Same Old, Tired, Untrue Speech (Part One)

February 1st, 2006

I just didn’t have the stomach to watch it live this time. Good thing, too–seeing Bush acting all solemn while hypocritically invoking Coretta Scott King’s passing earlier that day would have turned my stomach in the first few seconds of the address. So I’ll have to wade through the toxic waste of his speech by transcript instead.

In a system of two parties, two chambers and two elected branches, there will always be differences and debate. But even tough debates can be conducted in a civil tone. And our differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger.

Good freaking holy God. How to even begin to address this ultimate hypocrisy, except that from Day One five years ago, Bush made claims to bipartisanship, and yet from Day Two, he has incessantly carried out every single act of his presidency in such partisan fury as to boggle the mind. Good grief, who’s got Karl Rove as his chief advisor? Do even ardent Bush supporters buy this horse manure?

In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting, yet it ends in danger and decline. The only way to protect our people, the only way to secure the peace, the only way to control our destiny is by our leadership.

As Kevin Drum points out, Bush kept referring to “isolationism” without being specific. What, is he referring to Pat Buchanan? Bush and the Republicans were the ones who said that they didn’t need approval from the U.N. to invade Iraq and ignored that almost all the rest of the world was against him. He dismissed the world stage as “irrelevant,” alienated us from most of the world, mocked our allies who refused to go along with him, and abrogated international treaties right and left.

And now he’s trying to cash in on his world leadership and make others out to be isolationists?

Abroad, our nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal: We seek the end of tyranny in our world.

Like the tyranny in Saudi Arabia or and other of dozens of tyrannies we ally ourselves with? Um, yeah.

On September the 11th, 2001, we found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state 7,000 miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country. Dictatorships shelter terrorists, and feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction.

You think he’s talking about Afghanistan and the Taliban, but a closer look shows that he’s trying to reference Iraq, again spreading the lie of Iraq=9/11 through false implications. A bit later in the speech, he also refers to “retreat” as being dishonorable, taking another sideways swipe at Democrats–fully in the spirit of bipartisanship, of course.

We remain on the offensive against terror networks. We have killed or captured many of their leaders. And, for the others, their day will come.

Can you name one that we’ve killed or captured? I can’t. We’ve captured the “number three” man of al Qaeda a half-dozen times, but no one who is key. I was surprised that he actually mentioned bin Laden’s name twice, and made a reference that should remind Americans that Bush has failed over the last four years to even come close to capturing or killing him. But I suppose by now most people have become used to the idea, and Bush can comfortably invoke bin Laden as part of his manner of instigating fear among Americans so as to coerce acceptance of his agenda and his lawbreaking.

First, we are helping Iraqis build an inclusive government, so that old resentments will be eased and the insurgency will be marginalized.

That’s funny, according to Cheney and Rice, the insurgents were already “losing steam” and in their “last throes,” but now Bush is saying that they have not yet been “marginalized.” The Iraqi insurgency’s demise has been called by the Bush administration almost as often as Apple Computers’ demise has been called by the Windows world. How much do you want to bet that a year from now, Bush will tell us that we will soon start to make a dent in the insurgency?

As Bush goes over all these points, two things stand out: first, in almost every area he mentions, Bush has screwed up and failed miserably; and second, he speaks in terms of “confidence” and “will” and intentions–with little of significance already accomplished. And yet he tries to make all this sound like a victory.

Fellow citizens, we are in this fight to win, and we are winning.

I wish I could believe that, but the insurgency and terrorist groups thrive, and our soldiers continue to die with increasing regularity. Even Bush cannot state a clear exit strategy. It is painful to face, but we are not winning, and that is due chiefly to Bush’s mismanagement.

Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy.

No, but plenty on the left were pointing out the lack of wisdom or strategy on Bush’s part before the invasion of Iraq. Hell, even I could see it, when I wrote in August 2002 that there was not enough of the strategically necessary international support; that it would cost us in money, lives, and international respect and influence; that the intelligence about WMD and terrorist ties were flawed; that Bush had no exit strategy. This is not hindsight or second-guessing. Bush’s plan was a failure from the start and it was easy to see and predict well before he plowed ahead with it.

But Bush insisted that he was right, and, disgustingly, once again used fallen soldiers as political fodder, trotting out one’s (undoubtedly heavily vetted) family for show, quoting the Marine’s letter home last month, as if challenging anyone to criticize his own plans so he could smear it as a criticism of brave soldiers who died for their country. He of course never quotes soldiers with viewpoints just as opposed, of whom there are many–which is significant when you consider that soldiers in the field are almost by necessity heavily invested in seeing and portraying the conflict they are in as being necessary.

And, tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.

After you stop being so evil, of course.

It is said that prior to the attacks of September the 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to Al Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late.

So to prevent another attack — based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute — I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected Al Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America.

Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have and federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed.

The terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with Al Qaida, we want to know about it, because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.

This is more or less pure BS. Bush is directly implying that FISA prevented the Bush administration from catching those terrorists and therefore causing 9/11. That is a knowing lie. FISA did not slow it down, rather the phone calls–which were, after all, intercepted–were not translated in time. Saying “we did not know their plans until it was too late, so we started warrantless wiretapping” is like saying, “I forgot to feed the cat, so I’m going to get cable TV installed.” It’s a non-sequiter. Warrantless eavesdropping was not the solution, hiring more translators was. And yet, a few years ago, Bush’s Pentagon actually fired 37 strategically priceless Arabic translators–because they were gay.

Furthermore, Bush’s statements about his wiretaps being legal by statute and Constitution are patently false; they violate the 4th Amendment and the FISA law. Bush gives utterly no reference to which law or which part of the Constitution grant him the authority he claims, just as he provides not one whit of evidence that any of the data collected has foiled any terrorist attacks. It’s all complete and utter bullshit he’s talking here, folks.

Update: and that’s backed up by the LA Times, which reported that Bush’s statements contradict the facts. The “previous presidents” Bush cited were apparently Lincoln, Wilson, and Roosevelt, but the power they practiced was ruled unconstitutional in 1972 by the Supreme Court. Bush also said he’d want the line item veto, but the Supreme Court also ruled that unconstitutional, in 1998. The article said it well: Bush “backed up assertions with selective uses of fact, or seemed to place a positive spin on his own interpretation.”

Whew. that’s not even half the speech, and I’m already exhausted. I’m sure there’s a lot more I didn’t catch in the parts I covered, partly because I’m trying to hit the high points and not trying to expose every single mistruth in the speech–a colossal task if anyone decides to take that on. I’ll try to get to the second half soon, if I have the energy to do so.

But in short, I was right not to watch the speech live. Anyone who is aware of the facts of the administration would undoubtedly choke in disgust at what was presented tonight; it’s hard enough just to read it, much less to actually watch this abomination of a president abuse his standing and the prestige of the position to further his goals and continue to wreak havoc on our country.

Categories: Political Ranting Tags: by
  1. Tim Kane
    February 2nd, 2006 at 08:27 | #1

    Can you name one major problem solved by Bush/Neocons?

    They have solved no major problems and launched many new ones.

    They undermine every institution, be it national or internation, if only to unnerve the electorate and scare them stupid into voting for them.

    They have looted the treasurey clean.

    They have indebted the nation to China.

    Terrorism is a much worse problem now than in 2000. Radical Islam is a worse problem now than in 2000. Renegade states with access to nuclear weapons are a worse problem now then in 2000.

    Their policies have lent legitimacy and empowered hammas and the radical islamicist in Iran – both dedicated to destroying Israel and one hell bent on nuclear weapons.

    Iraq, that war of choice is in chaos and will become a client state to Iran the day after we leave.

    Voilence with Iran would cause the closing of the Strait of Hormuz and send oil up to $200 a barrel.

    Meanwhile back in the U.S. corruption runs rampid and a city is missing.

    The American people get the government they deserve for electing Bush a second time.

  2. Plevvy
    February 8th, 2006 at 01:48 | #2

    I find it odd that you suggest a hypocrisy in Bush noting King’s passing… I truly found it to be the one statement out of his mouth that didn’t enrage me. Credit must be given where credit is due; to suggest that one shouldn’t utter particular words due to past (and present) behavior indicates that you refuse to think critically, and instead just want to grumble.

    To suggest that Bush should not mention King is a dishonor to King, and one that I hope you will reconsider. She surely deserves more from you.

  3. Luis
    February 8th, 2006 at 02:06 | #3

    Plevvy: I don’t think that my suggestion is a dishonor to King, and I have trouble seeing how you think so–not to mention that I find it more than a little condescending and undeserved for you to suggest that by criticizing Bush I am criticizing King. That’s a low blow.

    It is simply that at this point, I see no reason whatsoever to believe that Bush is doing anything but using King as a political prop. If Bush were not president, I do not believe for a moment that he would note her passing; nothing in his past would suggest that. If I believed that he was in the least bit truly saddened by her passing, I would give credit. But I don’t see that in this man, who has represented a rolling back of what King and her late husband fought for, who has disregarded and disrespected African Americans in his actions while spouting words that he clearly does not mean and never backs up. I was just as disgusted at how he once again used NOLA, for example, in his speech as a claim to compassion and fame, even made a reference to African Americans, when not only did he let them drown, suffer and starve at the time of the crisis, but even today, the people of the area still languish, still suffer, while Bush gives the money promised to them to corporations like Halliburton to do salvage oil fields and such. People of color are still disproportionatley in poverty, and Bush has hit them hard, stealing away the meager services that still existed, trashing education, trashing their health care, sending their children to war–while at the same time giving billions to corporations and millionaires. He has fought to roll back civil rights achievements and brought to the Supreme Court justices who will dismantle most of the rest.

    And after all this, he invokes King and NOLA to his political advantage. Forgive me if I don’t take him at face value. King deserves note from all the great people of the world, but from Bush, who represents so much of what King has fought against, his words ring insincere at best, and she is decidedly not given honor by a weasel like Bush using her to make himself look like he cares in truth about things he clearly cares nothing for.

Comments are closed.