President Bush gave another good speech on Iraq yesterday, focusing this time on Iraq’s political development. You can read it all here. The Washington Post covered the speech on page A19. Like most news outlets, the Post led with Bush’s estimate that 30,000 Iraqis had died since the 2003 invasion, which he gave in response to a question, rather than with the substance of his speech. Which helps to explain why Bush’s usual practice is not to take questions after speeches of this sort.
The Post also covers Rep. Jack Murtha’s response to Bush’s speech. Murtha, who has replaced Cindy Sheehan as the media’s antiwar darling, said:
If they’d have kept the French here after 1776 . . . we’d have thrown them out. And that’s what I say about what’s happening in Iraq right now. The Iraqis are not against democracy. They’re against our occupation.
Actually, most Iraqis view the occupation exactly as President Bush and most Americans do: they want our forces to stay until the Iraqis can maintain reasonable security on their own, then leave. The ABC News poll released yesterday found that only 26% of respondents want coalition troops to “leave now.” Further, only 10% list the withdrawal of foreign troops within the next year as a “high priority.”
Murtha’s conviction that American troops are the problem in Iraq, not the solution, and that things woud be better if we would only leave, exemplifies the childish solipsism so often seen on the Left, where American actions are generally seen as the causes of all events–or all bad ones, anyway.