President Bush finally took notice of the Democratic Party’s attacks on his administration today, in a Veterans’ Day speech at the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania. Bush said:
The stakes in the global war on terror are too high and the national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false charges. While it’s perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.
President Bush pointed out that a bipartisan investigation (two, actually) has found that the administration did not manipulate pre-war intelligence on Iraq’s weapons, and that more than 100 Democrats in the House and Senate voted for the war on the basis of the same intelligence the administration had.
Ted Kennedy immediately responded by regurgitating the same old lies.
This is a pretty good beginning, but it means nothing unless Bush and his surrogates keep up the counter-attack. My fear is that Bush will think that now that he has responded, he can move on to other things. This would be a serious mistake. I think Bush and his surrogates should give the same speech more or less every day for the next month or two. The administration has a lot of catching up to do, and a single speech, or a handful of speeches, won’t have any impact.
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds has thoughts on patriotism and how it relates to dishonest criticism of the war effort here and here. I don’t recall ever having called anyone unpatriotic, and I don’t intend to start now. But I do think it’s clear that the Democrats are putting their partisan interests above the national interest in winning the war against the Islamist fanatics–not by criticizing or dissenting from the war effort, but by making charges against the administration that they know to be false, for the sake of partisan advantage. Call it what you will; lots of adjectives, none of them flattering, come to mind.