President Bush gave a speech last night. I didn't watch it, because I was still working. The text of his speech is here. I didn't read it, because I was still working.
On the radio this morning, they said the President called for 20,000 more troops to go to Iraq to secure Baghdad, but he acknowledged that troops alone won't get that job done. It's going to take Iraq's government to pull its weight. The message to the Shiite militias is to lay down their weapons and join the country as it is and not as they want it to be. If they won't disband, then the Americans and the Iraqis are going to wipe up the ground with dead militiamen.
Except I don't think the President said it quite that way.
I like this plan. The Democrats don't like it, because it's President Bush's idea, so they'll try to thwart it. Because they're patriots who love America.
Reaction to this plan in other parts of the world is mixed. The AP reported today that Britain won't be contributing to a troop surge. Russia says the new plan won't do any good. France (ever the "cheese-eating surrender monkeys"), says we should stick to the political arena to bring stability to Iraq. Sweden and Denmark's reactions are worthy of quoting from the article.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said Bush's speech lacked any new political ideas, and in Denmark, a key opposition politician put blame for the Iraq quagmire squarely at the feet of the American president.
"George W. Bush lives in his own world," said Helle Thorning-Schmidt, leader of Denmark's Social Democrats. "We are dealing with a stubborn president who continues with an uncertain strategy for Iraq's future."
Don't you love it? They sit there, smug in their neutrality, and take potshots at just about the only country that's doing anything to keep them safe from the outside threat. We'll leave them to deal with their inside threat the way they want to.
But Asia and the South Pacific reacted in a completely different way.
In Asia, however, key U.S. allies such as South Korea, Australia and Japan all pledged continued support for the U.S. war effort.
"If America retreats in Iraq, then that has enormous consequences for the stability of the Middle East and it will also be an enormous boost to terrorism in our part of the world," Australian Prime Minister John Howard said. Howard, whose country has 1,300 troops in and around Iraq, called Bush's plan "very clear, calm and above all, realistic."
And Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said Tokyo would continue its humanitarian air support and loans to Baghdad for reconstruction.
"I strongly hope that the U.S. efforts toward the stability in Iraq and reconstruction will proceed effectively and bring good results," Aso said in a statement. "Japan will continue to closely communicate and cooperate with the U.S."
At least there are still some countries who recognize the danger the world faces at the hands of the jihadists. Australia's Prime Minister Howard has been a stand-up guy from the get-go, and he's continuing to be steadfast, even better than President Bush is.
Meanwhile, in Somalia (which none of my readers seem to care about, but I care about it, so I'll keep writing about it anyway), the AP reported today that the Embassy bombers didn't get killed after all. Here's the whole story:
None of the top three suspected terrorists in Somalia were killed in a U.S. airstrike this week, but Somalis with close ties to al-Qaida were slain, a senior U.S. official in the region said Thursday.
A day earlier, a Somali official had said a U.S. intelligence report had referred to the death of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed _ one of the three senior al-Qaida members believed responsible for bombing U.S. embassies in East Africa.
But U.S. and Ethiopian troops in southern Somalia were still pursuing the three, the U.S. official said Thursday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record to the media.
More leaks to the press by anonymous "U.S. officials." Ugh! But still, it's good to know we're on the bad guys' tail. The terrorists are either in hiding or they're on the run. They don't deserve any better than that. In fact, they deserve worse, and when our special forces catch up to them, they'll get what they deserve.
I'm optimistic about it all right now. But I can't say more. Lunch is over, and I'm still working.