DAVID FRUM IS NOT REASSURED….I don’t know whether to be scared, confused, or both. David Frum, a great admirer of President Bush, nonetheless was unhappy about last week’s speech:
The problem is not that his speech Tuesday night failed to quell his critics: No speech could have done that. The problem is that his speech failed to reassure his worried supporters.
….The president could have talked about the capture of weapons caches, the discovery of an insurgent torture chamber with four shackled Iraqi victims, and the rescue of Australian hostage Douglas Wood.
….Americans want to hear a plan for victory….We have a full-scale terrorism war on our hands in Iraq, a bigger war than the administration expected, backed by at least one regional government, Syria’s, and abetted by another, Iran’s.
On Sept. 20, 2001, the president said: “From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”
Have those words been abandoned? If not, what consequences will these hostile regimes face?
On the one hand, Frum seems to be saying merely that our policies are OK but Bush’s speech was bad. He needed to do a better job of explaining what’s going right in Iraq.
On the other hand, he also seems to be unhappy that Bush didn’t take the opportunity on Tuesday to announce a “plan for victory” that included a declaration of war on Syria and Iran.
This strikes me as a bad thing to be cagey about. I’m used to liberals being hesitant about what to recommend in Iraq, since there don’t seem to be any good options left to us, but are even conservatives now unsure of what to do next? Does Frum think we need more troops? A wider war that includes Iran and Syria? Or just better PR? He owes us a little more clarity here.