I heard quite a bit of it over the internet. It didn’t strike me as a very big deal, one way or the other. It was generally consistent with what Bush has been saying about Iraq for a long time: the repressive regime, the need to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the destabilizing tyranny transformed into a harbinger of regional liberation. The speech ended with a call for action against the international sex trade, which Bush called “a form of slavery.” Somewhat oddly, he didn’t say anything about the continuing existence of actual slavery, presumably to avoid offending the U.N.’s African members. This whole discussion seemed out of place. Otherwise, though, it was vintage Bush.
This speech won’t have the kind of impact his last U.N. appearance did, when he challenged the U.N. to enforce its own resolutions or risk irrelevance. But at least it didn’t furnish any new ammunition to those looking for opportunities to humiliate the U.S. (You know, the French, the Democrats, and so on.)
The full text of the speech is available here. It included a status report on the search for WMDs–the same report the administration has been giving for a while:
“Our coalition has made sure that Iraq’s former dictator will never again use weapons of mass destruction. We are interviewing Iraqi citizens and analyzing records of the old regime to reveal the full extent of its weapons programs and its long campaign of deception.” In my opinion, the fruits of that effort will go a long way toward determining whether or not Bush gets a second term.
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