Dear Mr. President

Some quotes from yesterday's speech by President Bush -- with my commentary. . .

"On one side are those who believe in the values of freedom and moderation -- the right of all people to speak, and worship, and live in liberty. And on the other side are those driven by the values of tyranny and extremism -- the right of a self-appointed few to impose their fanatical views on all the rest. As veterans, you have seen this kind of enemy before. They're successors to Fascists, to Nazis, to Communists, and other totalitarians of the 20th century."

When you completely demonize your opponent, you make any kind of peaceful resolution impossible.

"Citizens who can join a peaceful political party are less likely to join a terrorist organization. Dissidents with the freedom to protest around the clock are less likely to blow themselves up during rush hour."

I heartily agree. But I don't think the US has or will contribute to that reality. I think that we're providing recruitment incentive for these organizations.

"Our enemies saw the transformation in Lebanon and set out to destabilize the young democracy. Hezbollah launched an unprovoked attack on Israel that undermined the democrat government in Beirut."

Some would agree with that statement. Others would say it was the exact opposite. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. Hezbollah and Israel have been at each other's throats for a long time and neither is willing to acknowledge the other's opinions.
Referring to critics who say we should set a timetable for bringing the troops home from Iraq:"Many of these folks are sincere and they're patriotic but they... could not be more wrong,"

At least those who disagree are no longer labeled as people who are for terror. They disagree. Bush thinks they are wrong. The rhetoric is heading in a better direction here.
"If we give up the fight in the streets of Baghdad, we will face the terrorists in the streets of our own cities."
No matter what we do we have that risk. But I think drawing that direct connection is something that Bush is plain wrong on. I think it's classic scare tactics instead of sound thinking.
"Iraq's government is working tirelessly to hold the nation together and to heal Iraq's divisions, not to exploit them. The Iraqi people have come a long way. They are not going to let their country fall apart or relapse into tyranny. As Prime Minister Maliki told the United States Congress, "Iraqis have tasted freedom and we will defend it absolutely." "

I think there's a real point here. And I don't think the US is going to make it easier. We're now making that harder.

How does this mess get better? I believe we have to stop the name calling and the demonizing and figure out a way for peaceful conversation to happen. We can do better than bombing and killing. We can be the ones who find a solution to the violence and hate.

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