A Few Thoughts on Bush’s Speech

President George W. Bush addressed the nation in prime time tonight with a speech that lasted just over 13 minutes. He spoke of his accomplishments as president and of his optimism about America’s future. He admitted that he would do some things differently if he could, though he defended the results of his efforts to protect America. There have been no attacks on the homeland in the seven and a half years since 9/11—an achievement few anticipated in the days after the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

One line in the address stood out to me as worth further reflection. It’s the one line that sheds the most light on the President’s personal motivation for taking the country to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Here’s the line:

“As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before Nine-Eleven. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our Nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe.”

I can remember how I felt right after the attacks. There was a sense of uncertainty about when the next shoe would drop. Most people thought that it would. The President along with the rest of America was learning to live with a new reality—the fact that the homeland is vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

Yet I suspect that the President is right about how Americans by and large have lost their sense of urgency and vigilance about threats against the homeland. When was the last time you stayed up talking to friends about the possibility of another attack? We all did it in the months after 9/11. I daresay most Americans haven’t had such a conversation in years.

President Bush has talked about this possibility everyday for the last seven and a half years, and his conversations are accompanied by intelligence briefings that describe how people around the world are plotting to acquire and use WMD against the American homeland. I’m sure things never went back to normal for him. What must it have been like to walk in his shoes?

In terms of understanding the psychology of this unpopular president, that one line explains a lot.

5 Responses to A Few Thoughts on Bush’s Speech

  1. Derek January 16, 2009 at 11:08 am #

    And I remember Bush moving quickly to gather Islamic leaders – some of whom proved later on to be supporters of Hamas and other terrorist organizations – and to declare that Islam is a religion of peace. Later on, he went on to say this in an interview with Charlie Gibson:

    CHARLES GIBSON: Do we all worship the same God, Christian and Muslim?

    PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I think we do.

    CHARLES GIBSON: Do Christians and non-Christians and Muslims go to heaven in your mind?

    PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes, they do. We have different routes of getting there.

    These actions and words describe why I have been extremely disappointed with this President. I recently heard that George W. Bush reads the entire Bible every year. I don’t understand how he could read the Bible through even half way once and say those words.

  2. Darius T January 16, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    We have to keep in mind, Derek, that presidents routinely say things they don’t actually believe, just because they don’t want to alienate some portion of the population. That said, I too was disappointed with how he handled the non-military side of the war on Islamic terrorism. Islam IS NOT a religion of peace.

  3. Derek January 16, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    Darius, there are a million other politically deft ways he could have answered Charlie Gibson’s question, without calling Jesus a liar or lunatic. I happen to think he said what he really believes here because he said similar things on other occasions. I voted for Bush both times, btw.

  4. Alando Franklin January 16, 2009 at 1:13 pm #

    Darius,

    Do you suggest that we should extend this type of pass to EVERYONE in general, albeit the President, etc. when they say things they don’t believe? (the biblical category for saying things you don’t believe is deception) because they don’t “want to alienate some portions of society”?

  5. Darius T January 16, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    I’m not saying I agree with his choice of words… he SHOULD have the cajones to just say it like it is. I’m merely saying that Derek may be incorrect in inferring that Bush is a universalist. He also said in that same interview that radical Islamists pray to a false god. It does seem to me that he may not fully appreciate the idea of total depravity of ALL people.

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