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Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
 
In an address to the nation on June 28, 2005:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Please be seated. Good evening. I'm pleased to visit Fort Bragg, "Home of the Airborne and Special Operations Forces." It's an honor to speak before you tonight. (Especially since a military base was not something the president was used to seeing during the Vietnam years)

My greatest responsibility as President is to protect the American people (Yeah, way to go). And that's your calling, as well. I thank you for your service, your courage and your sacrifice (Three things I lack). I thank your families, who support you in your vital work. The soldiers and families of Fort Bragg have contributed mightily to our efforts to secure our country and promote peace (Note the keyword “efforts”). America is grateful, and so is your Commander-in-Chief (I'm sorry he wasn't here to tell you that, but...oh, wait, that's me!).

The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror (Oh, how’s that going? I never know because I only watch the evening news). The war reached our shores on September the 11th, 2001. The terrorists who attacked us -- and the terrorists we face -- murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent (Much like we do, but with bigger beards). Their aim is to remake the Middle East in their own grim image of tyranny and oppression -- by toppling governments, by driving us out of the region, and by exporting terror (and apple butter).

To achieve these aims, they have continued to kill -- in Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca (We’ll always have Paris!), Riyadh, Bali, and elsewhere (places he can’t pronounce). The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent (Do they now?), and with a few hard blows they can force us to retreat. They are mistaken. After September the 11th, I made a commitment to the American people: This nation will not wait to be attacked again (Boy, did you ever fulfill THAT one). We will defend our freedom. We will take the fight to the enemy (Hell, you don’t even have to be the enemy anymore, we’ll bring the fight to you, anyway).

Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war. Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women, and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, in Washington, and Pennsylvania (and proposed “Real ID”). There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home. The commander in charge of coalition operations in Iraq -- who is also senior commander at this base -- General John Vines, put it well the other day. He said: "We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us." (Laura, get Bartlett’s on the phone!)

Our mission in Iraq is clear (Steal natural resou...Um, I mean, uh, secure freedom?). We're hunting down the terrorists. We're helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror (in what we call our “Three Steps Forward, Four Steps Back” Plan). We're advancing freedom in the broader Middle East (Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia sold separately). We are removing a source of violence and instability, and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren (Have you noticed peace smells a lot like blood and rubble?).

The work in Iraq is difficult and it is dangerous (I would know...Oh, wait, no I wouldn’t). Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed (Where? On the news? Because they’re too busy talking about a rescued pelican). Every picture is horrifying, and the suffering is real (which none of us here in the White House really expected). Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it? (No. It’s no, right? The answer’s no) It is worth it, (WHAT???) and it is vital to the future security of our country (Yeah, in that it’s a huge freaking blow). And tonight I will explain the reasons why. (Why? Because we like you!)

Some of the violence you see in Iraq is being carried out by ruthless killers who are converging on Iraq to fight the advance of peace and freedom (The rest of it is being carried out by otherwise very nice people). Our military reports that we have killed or captured hundreds of foreign fighters (meaning people with beards and shifty eyes) in Iraq who have come from Saudi Arabia and Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and others. They are making common cause with criminal elements, Iraqi insurgents, and remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime who want to restore the old order (because at least the buildings were still standing then). They fight because they know that the survival of their hateful ideology is at stake (Trust me on this one, Republicans are used to this). They know that as freedom takes root in Iraq, it will inspire millions across the Middle East to claim their liberty, as well (which is tax-deductible). And when the Middle East grows in democracy and prosperity and hope, the terrorists will lose their sponsors (Pepsi already pulled out), lose their recruits, and lose their hopes for turning that region into a base for attacks on America and our allies around the world (Soon, they’ll have to rely on donations from viewers like you).

Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror (the rest of us know that it's not). Among the terrorists, there is no debate ("Purple Rain" is Prince's best album). Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: "This Third World War is raging" in Iraq. "The whole world is watching this war." (Unless you're in America) He says it will end in "victory and glory, or misery and humiliation." (Boy, this has really been a day of poignant, not-obvious-at-all quotations)

The terrorists know that the outcome will leave them emboldened, or defeated (the option of "reasonably comfortable" was crossed off). So they are waging a campaign of murder and destruction (just like us). And there is no limit to the innocent lives they are willing to take (just like us).

We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who exploded car bombs along a busy shopping street in Baghdad, including one outside a mosque (kind of like the one we accidentally bombed). We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who sent a suicide bomber to a teaching hospital in Mosul. We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who behead civilian hostages and broadcast their atrocities for the world to see (although that Flash cartoon of the gerbil in the microwave was funny).

These are savage acts of violence, but they have not brought the terrorists any closer to achieving their strategic objectives (our foreign policy and shoddy border patrol have already taken care of that). The terrorists -- both foreign and Iraqi -- failed to stop the transfer of sovereignty (But of course, you can't stop what really isn't there). They failed to break our Coalition and force a mass withdrawal by our allies (again, we blame ourselves). They failed to incite an Iraqi civil war (Riiiiiiight). They failed to prevent free elections (Define “free”). They failed to stop the formation of a democratic Iraqi government that represents all of Iraq's diverse population (Sunnis sold separately). And they failed to stop Iraqis from signing up in large number with the police forces and the army to defend their new democracy (so they just blew them up instead).

The lesson of this experience is clear: The terrorists can kill the innocent, but they cannot stop the advance of freedom (What do you bet Bush wanted to say that line like Mel Gibson in "Braveheart"?). The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September the 11th (September the huh? I already forgot), if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi, and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like Bin Laden (or Dick Cheney). For the sake of our nation's security, this will not happen on my watch (It's a Rolex, and that shit's expensive).

A little over a year ago, I spoke to the nation and described our coalition's goals in Iraq (A Milky Way to whoever remembers what I said). I said that America's mission in Iraq is to defeat an enemy (the Iraqi people) and give strength to a friend (Halliburton) -- a free, representative government that is an ally in the war on terror, and a beacon of hope in a part of the world that is desperate for reform (is something we're not going to have any time soon). I outlined the steps we would take to achieve this goal (Step 1: Put right foot in...): We would hand authority over to a sovereign Iraqi government (headed by a wooden marionette). We would help Iraqis hold free elections by January 2005 (in the one place in the world where the voter turnout was lower than our own). We would continue helping Iraqis rebuild their nation's infrastructure and economy (but without letting them actually help us). We would encourage more international support for Iraq's democratic transition (and not get it), and we would enable Iraqis to take increasing responsibility for their own security and stability (two hours of electricity every day is certainly stable).

In the past year, we have made significant progress (thanks to “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost”). One year ago today, we restored sovereignty to the Iraqi people (Trust me, they haven’t stopped dancing since). In January 2005, more than 8 million Iraqi men and women voted in elections that were free and fair, and took time on -- and took place on time (Ummm...What?). We continued our efforts to help them rebuild their country (then destroy it then rebuild it then destroy it then rebuild it...). Rebuilding a country after three decades of tyranny is hard (like being President), and rebuilding while at war is even harder (not to mention just plain stupid). Our progress has been uneven, but progress is being made (By the way, you ever hear that one about the opposite of progress being Congress? Gets me every time).

We're improving roads and schools and health clinics (We might actually start doing that in America soon, too). We're working to improve basic services like sanitation, electricity, and water (They’re just going crazy over that indoor plumbing). And together with our allies, we'll help the new Iraqi government deliver a better life for its citizens (Why can’t they do that with US???).

In the past year, the international community has stepped forward with vital assistance (followed by revelation and subsequent withdrawal). Some 30 nations have troops in Iraq, and many others are contributing non-military assistance (like criticism). The United Nations is in Iraq to help Iraqis write a constitution and conduct their next elections (which John Bolton’s already preparing to fix). Thus far, some 40 countries and three international organizations have pledged about $34 billion in assistance for Iraqi reconstruction (which should more than make up for the $8.8 billion of ours that went missing). More than 80 countries and international organizations recently came together in Brussels to coordinate their efforts to help Iraqis provide for their security and rebuild their country (Their first idea: Kick us out). And next month, donor countries will meet in Jordan to support Iraqi reconstruction (“Go, reconstruct, win!”).

Whatever our differences in the past (paper vs. plastic), the world understands that success in Iraq is critical to the security of our nations (cough, national resources, cough). As German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder said at the White House yesterday, "There can be no question a stable and democratic Iraq is in the vested interest of not just Germany, but also Europe." (He also said he liked “Kingdom of Heaven”, so I don’t know...) Finally, we have continued our efforts to equip and train Iraqi security forces (We just donated some body armor from our own troops. They won’t miss it). We made gains in both the number and quality of those forces (We’ve gone from “way too few and very unequipped” to “lower than average and a little overwhelmed”). Today Iraq has more than 160,000 security forces trained and equipped for a variety of missions (such as human shields). Iraqi forces have fought bravely, helping to capture terrorists and insurgents in Najaf and Samarra, Fallujah and Mosul (What do you bet he smirked when he pronounced all of these right?). And in the past month, Iraqi forces have led a major anti-terrorist campaign in Baghdad called Operation Lightning (very, very frightening), which has led to the capture of hundreds of suspected insurgents (and a couple zookeepers). Like free people everywhere, Iraqis want to be defended by their own countrymen, and we are helping Iraqis assume those duties (and we’ll still be helping them do that five years from now).

The progress in the past year has been significant, and we have a clear path forward (once we clear all the bodies out of the way). To complete the mission, we will continue to hunt down the terrorists and insurgents (Have you noticed that if you say “terrorist” enough it sounds like “terrace”?). To complete the mission, we will prevent al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban, a safe haven from which they could launch attacks on America and our friends (Umm, too late). And the best way to complete the mission is to help Iraqis build a free nation that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself (So, what exactly are you saying?).

So our strategy going forward has both a military track and a political track (and a go-kart track for the kids). The principal task of our military is to find and defeat the terrorists, and that is why we are on the offense (“offensive” certainly is an appropriate word). And as we pursue the terrorists, our military is helping to train Iraqi security forces so that they can defend their people and fight the enemy on their own. Our strategy can be summed up this way (turn to page 32 in your textbooks): As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down (and probably go for some Del Taco).

We've made progress, but we have a lot of -- (Say it!!! Say it!!!) a lot more work to do (You got that right). Today Iraqi security forces are at different levels of readiness (We’ve put it into this color-coded chart). Some are capable of taking on the terrorists and insurgents by themselves (much like Rambo). A large number can plan and execute anti-terrorist operations with coalition support (they are currently working on anti-terrorist spray). The rest are forming and not yet ready to participate fully in security operations (and as such, they will be thrown into the middle of battle within the week). Our task is to make the Iraqi units fully capable and independent (much like Destiny’s Child). We're building up Iraqi security forces as quickly as possible, so they can assume the lead in defeating the terrorists and insurgents (with America as the slutty cheerleader on the sidelines)

Our coalition is devoting considerable resources and manpower to this critical task (and by considerable, we mean underwhelming). Thousands of coalition troops are involved in the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces. NATO is establishing a military academy near Baghdad (The Donald Rumsfeld School of Buffoonery) to train the next generation of Iraqi military leaders, and 17 nations are contributing troops to the NATO training mission. Iraqi army and police are being trained by personnel from Italy (Ciao!), Germany (Guten tag!), Ukraine (Howdy!), Turkey (Gobble gobble!), Poland (Don’t forget ‘em!), Romania (Love your lettuce!), Australia (G’day!), and the United Kingdom (Pip pip, Tony Blair!). Today, dozens of nations are working toward a common objective: an Iraq that can defend itself, defeat its enemies, and secure its freedom (although the other dozens of nations keep snickering when I say that).

To further prepare Iraqi forces to fight the enemy on their own, we are taking three new steps (two to the left, one to the right): First, we are partnering coalition units with Iraqi units (which make some nice shelving units). These coalition-Iraqi teams are conducting operations together in the field (like softball tournaments). These combined operations are giving Iraqis a chance to experience how the most professional armed forces in the world operate in combat (they’ll be unnecessarily invading other countries in no time).

Second, we are embedding coalition "transition teams" inside Iraqi units. These teams are made up of coalition officers and non-commissioned officers who live, work, and fight together with their Iraqi comrades (and some D-list celebrities...all in the same house!). Under U.S. command, they are providing battlefield advice and assistance to Iraqi forces during combat operations (“Step 2: Attach electrode B to right genital”). Between battles, they are assisting the Iraqis with important skills, such as urban combat (is that like gang warfare), and intelligence (a.k.a. “The Anti-Bush”), surveillance (every Iraqi gets a tracking device, guaranteed!) and reconnaissance techniques (Oh, how I love the paintings of Raphael. Oh, wait, I’m thinking of the Renaissance).

Third, we're working with the Iraqi Ministries of Interior and Defense to improve their capabilities to coordinate anti-terrorist operations. We're helping them develop command and control structures (Every Iraqi computer gets the game “Command & Conquer: Red Alert”, guaranteed!). We're also providing them with civilian and military leadership training, so Iraq's new leaders can effectively manage their forces in the fight against terror (rather than the previous strategy of “run and scatter”).

The new Iraqi security forces are proving their courage every day (They tried sushi for the first time last week). More than 2,000 members of Iraqi security forces have given their lives in the line of duty. Thousands more have stepped forward, and are now training to serve their nation (We got them to do this by asking those who liked ice cream to step forward). With each engagement, Iraqi soldiers grow more battle-hardened, and their officers grow more experienced (This week they’re working on their angry sneer). We've learned that Iraqis are courageous and that they need additional skills (Who knew?). And that is why a major part of our mission is to train them so they can do the fighting, and then our troops can come home (We’re predicting fall of 2008, around the time that “Indiana Jones 4” is released).

I recognize that Americans want our troops to come home as quickly as possible. So do I (This is the point where he twirled his moustache and wrung his hands). Some contend that we should set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces (Yeah, that would be nice). Let me explain why that would be a serious mistake (Oooh, this guy’s got balls). Setting an artificial timetable (who said the timetable would be artificial?) would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done (the job that we started and screwed up). It would send the wrong message to our troops, who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve (they got really mad when did the Iraqi Mission Comedy Hour for them). And it would send the wrong message to the enemy, who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out. We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed, and not a day longer (or a week or a month or a year or five years...).

Some Americans ask me (and by ask me, I mean that they ask one of my minions and despite the numerous filters, the question somehow gets to me), if completing the mission is so important, why don't you send more troops? (Because we don’t have any more) If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them (along with a Get Well card). But our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their job (they call them “sacrifices”. It’s kinda funny). Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight (it would also piss the fuck out of them). And sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever (well, aren’t we?), when we are, in fact, working for the day when Iraq can defend itself and we can leave. As we determine the right force level (we’re currently on Force Level Orange), our troops can know that I will continue to be guided by the advice that matters: the sober judgment of our military leaders (and the misconstrued words of Jesus).

The other critical element of our strategy is to help ensure that the hopes Iraqis expressed at the polls in January are translated into a secure democracy (‘cause their language is pretty hard to translate. Just a lot of yelling and babbling as far as I’m concerned). The Iraqi people are emerging from decades of tyranny and oppression. Under the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Shia and Kurds were brutally oppressed, and the vast majority of Sunni Arabs were also denied their basic rights, while senior regime officials enjoyed the privileges of unchecked power (God, this is sounding more and more familiar). The challenge facing Iraqis today is to put this past behind them, and come together to build a new Iraq that includes all of its people (preferably alive).

They're doing that by building the institutions of a free society (plus shipping and handling), a society based on freedom of speech (Shut up!), freedom of assembly (Go away!), freedom of religion (Praise Jesus!), and equal justice under law (Praise Gitmo!). The Iraqis have held free elections and established a Transitional National Assembly (Which gets a laugh in Congress when I call it “TNA”). The next step is to write a good constitution that enshrines these freedoms in permanent law (and then rewrite it). The Assembly plans to expand its constitutional drafting committee to include more Sunni Arabs (we’d certainly love to draft them, too). Many Sunnis who opposed the January elections are now taking part in the democratic process, and that is essential to Iraq's future (along with our plan to stop fucking things up over there).

After a constitution is written, the Iraqi people will have a chance to vote on it (provided the polling places aren’t burning piles of rubble). If approved, Iraqis will go to the polls again, to elect a new government (composed of marionettes and/or aspiring dictators) under their new, permanent constitution (Yeah, permanent like OUR constitution?). By taking these critical steps and meeting their deadlines, Iraqis will bind their multiethnic society together in a democracy that respects the will of the majority and protects minority rights (which will be impressive, since we can’t even seem to do that here).

As Iraqis grow confident that the democratic progress they are making is real and permanent (Shhh, don’t let them know it’s not true), more will join the political process. And as Iraqis see that their military can protect them (again, Mum’s the word), more will step forward with vital intelligence to help defeat the enemies of a free Iraq (which such bits of intelligence as “Stop destroying our country”). The combination of political and military reform will lay a solid foundation for a free and stable Iraq (at least, that’s what we’re saying. We also thought there wouldn’t be any major casualties, though, so what do we know).

As Iraqis make progress toward a free society, the effects are being felt beyond Iraq's borders (Iran, for instance, is shaking in its boots). Before our coalition liberated Iraq, Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons (the nuclear weapons just wanted to be friends, though). Today the leader of Libya has given up his chemical and nuclear weapons programs (we’re planning on invading next spring). Across the broader Middle East, people are claiming their freedom (the fools). In the last few months, we've witnessed elections in the Palestinian Territories and Lebanon (they voted for Clay Aiken). These elections are inspiring democratic reformers in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia (where our family has ties with the corrupt royal family and where the American military bases that inspired the 9/11 hijackers to carry out their deeds are...Um, I’m sorry, did I just say something?). Our strategy to defend ourselves and spread freedom is working (if by working you mean “not working”). The rise of freedom in this vital region will eliminate the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder (Really, it’s that easy? Radicalism and murder are purely Middle Eastern philosophies?), and make our nation safer.

We have more work to do (no shit), and there will be tough moments that test America's resolve (or there would be if Americans knew what was going on). We're fighting against men with blind hatred -- and armed with lethal weapons (starring Danny Glover) -- who are capable of any atrocity. They wear no uniform (the football team got all the funding); they respect no laws of warfare or morality. They take innocent lives to create chaos for the cameras (which is completely unlike the Jessica Lynch rescue). They are trying to shake our will in Iraq, just as they tried to shake our will on September the 11th, 2001. They will fail (We recently got a statement from Will, who said, “Stop shaking me!”). The terrorists do not understand America (They keep asking, “What’s so great about ‘The Bachelor?’”). The American people do not falter under threat, and we will not allow our future to be determined by car bombers and assassins (just liars and corrupt businessmen).

America and our friends are in a conflict that demands much of us (loss of sanity, ignorance toward the facts...). It demands the courage of our fighting men and women (who we abuse), it demands the steadfastness of our allies (who we ignore), and it demands the perseverance of our citizens (who we oppress). We accept these burdens, because we know what is at stake (Mmm, who could go for a barbecue steak right about now, huh?). We fight today because Iraq now carries the hope of freedom in a vital region of the world (Omaha?), and the rise of democracy will be the ultimate triumph over radicalism and terror (Yeah, because we’re really going to eliminate THOSE soon). And we fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand (Yeah, it makes sense to attack our country and its citizens by retreating to a different continent). So we'll fight them there, we'll fight them across the world, and we will stay in the fight until the fight is won. (Apparently at this point in the speech there was applause from sparkly-eyed, blissfully ignorant Republicans.)

America has done difficult work before. From our desperate fight for independence to the darkest days of a Civil War, to the hard-fought battles against tyranny in the 20th century (not to mention watching “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” three times a week), there were many chances to lose our heart, our nerve, or our way. But Americans have always held firm, because we have always believed in certain truths (until now). We know that if evil is not confronted, it gains in strength and audacity, and returns to strike us again (Which is why impeachment papers need to be drafted). We know that when the work is hard, the proper response is not retreat, it is courage (Does that include joining the National Guard in 1972?). And we know that this great ideal of human freedom entrusted to us in a special way (Oh, unnecessarily invading a country is a special way of being entrusted freedom?), and that the ideal of liberty is worth defending.

In this time of testing, our troops can know: The American people are behind you (Because we’re going to be drafted soon). Next week, our nation has an opportunity to make sure that support is felt by every soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman, and Marine at every outpost across the world (How so, George?). This Fourth of July, I ask you to find a way to thank the men and women defending our freedom -- by flying the flag, sending a letter to our troops in the field, or helping the military family down the street (Yeah, Corporal Johnson’s really going to give a shit if I have a flag in my front yard while he’s involved in a shootout). The Department of Defense has set up a website (hotDoDgirls.xxx) -- AmericaSupportsYou.mil. You can go there to learn about private efforts in your own community. At this time when we celebrate our freedom, let us stand with the men and women who defend us all (Just sign this paper and get on that plane).

To the soldiers in this hall, and our servicemen and women across the globe: I thank you for your courage under fire and your service to our nation (Lord knows it’s more than I’d do). I thank our military families -- the burden of war falls especially hard on you (Not that I’d know. My daughters are busy doing body shots in Cabo). In this war, we have lost good men and women who left our shores to defend freedom and did not live to make the journey home. I've met with families grieving the loss of loved ones who were taken from us too soon. I've been inspired by their strength in the face of such great loss (Not inspired enough to actually do something about it, but you know what I mean). We pray for the families (unless they’re Jewish or Muslim or their kid is gay). And the best way to honor the lives that have been given in this struggle is to complete the mission (If only he really believed it).

I thank those of you who have re-enlisted in an hour when your country needs you (And I can assure you that in an hour, your country will need you. There’s a plane out back). And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces (despite the impressive advertising campaign of the shopping mall security guards). We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves (I am not one of them). Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our nation's uniform. When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom (but only in the textbook, “Delusional Views of American History”).

After September the 11th, 2001, I told the American people that the road ahead would be difficult, and that we would prevail (And how blindly you followed me. It’s called power, baby, and I swim in it every day!). Well, it has been difficult -- and we are prevailing (I assume he used finger quotations around “prevailing”). Our enemies are brutal, but they are no match for the United States of America, and they are no match for the men and women of the United States military.

May God bless you all (and have mercy on us).

(More applause from people who apparently just like clapping).

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