The Iraq speeches, Take Two

Five pm Friday China time, 5 am on the US East Coast: I'm ready to sweat away my woes with a trip to the gym. Find CNN to watch on a monitor in the workout room -- and discover that I have my choice of agonies! I can directly face the rigors of an hour on the ergometer,* or I can be distracted from them while rowing by watching President Bush's latest Iraq speech all over again!

Impression the second time around (first take here):

Senator Reed a little better than I had remembered.

President Bush a little worse.

Senators Obama and McCain about the same.

Mayor Giuliani, outrageously worse. Is this how he's been all along? To start with, he doesn't know anything. To be more precise: not a single sentence that he utters suggests any familiarity with what people have been saying and arguing -- about terrorism, Iraq, the situation of the military, security trade-offs, etc -- for the last few years. He's out of date in two ways: He displays the "fashionable in 2003 and 2004" assumption that if you say "nine-eleven, nine-eleven, nine-eleven!!" enough times, you end all debate about military policy. He displays the "fashionable about three weeks ago" assumption that if you say "General Petraeus, General Petraeus, General Petraeus" enough times, you've offered an Iraq policy. And through it all he seems totally self-confident. Hmm, have we seen anything like this combo before?

Senator Edwards: Again I saw, Wow. What a powerful, no-nonsense appearance. In his heyday Bill Clinton could deflate a Newt Gingrich argument by saying: Look, here's what's really going on. Edwards was Clintonesque in that good sense tonight.

Same for Michael Ware of CNN: I can't do his whole statement justice, but essentially he said: We hear from these politicians that there would be chaos in Iraq if we leave? What do they think is happening now! We hear that the Iraqi government will be an ally! What world are they living in? And so on.

That may be all the American TV I can take for a while.


* Disclosure! This is a link to a company that one of my sons runs.