But the maximum level of confusion in the 9/11 speeches revolves around the claim that “Iraq… is the central front in our fight against terrorism.” Yes, Iraq has become a training center for jihadi terrorists – which it wasn’t before Saddam fell. But the reason for Iraq’s descent into postwar hell is the administration’s arrogance and incompetence – which, of course, the president does not admit in his speeches.
This denial creates a black hole of moral and intellectual dishonesty at the heart of the Bush rhetoric. I happen to agree with the president that if we pull out of Iraq now we will provide a bonanza for al-Qaeda in terms of bases and recruitment. But since he won’t take responsibility for his mistakes, the president has little chance of rallying a majority around his Iraq policy.
Why should Americans believe he will do better in the future? Especially when his team denounces critics as “appeasers” – and he paints a simplistic picture of the coming struggle.