i didn’t watch the president’s speech yesterday. didn’t even know it was happening. i’ve grown accustomed to ignoring what he says because he says so little that actually illuminates. if there is truth in the world (and i seriously doubt it), he does nothing to promote it. perhaps the job of any president is not to expose the truth, but rather to create politically expedient half–truths. but that’s the cynic in me speaking.
i don’t think there’s a single american that would doubt that war is hard. as eulsive as truth is these days, this truth seems pretty self–evident. and yet the president reiterated it in his speech yesterday, several times. he also reiterated the need to support our troops, and to recognize the sacrifices of the brave men and women fighting (and dying) in Iraq. also self–evident.
i don’t think anyone on either side of the aisle would argue these two points. so why reiterate them?
these statements have become platitudes. their obviousness almost elevates them to the level of tautologies (the color red is red, the sun rises in the east if it rises in the east). but what happens when you mix these statements with other assertions that are more tenuous, with other calls for support and faith?
maybe there’s the feeling that by asserting so many things that people hold to be true, then mixing them with things that many consider suspect, you will engender positive feelings towards the latter — a truth halo effect, if you will. either that, or your speechwriters are really running out of gas and can’t come up with other good things to say.
if this was the ploy, i don’t think it worked. it’s hard to believe this president when you just don’t know what to believe in general. do you believe the democrats? the republicans? the bloggers? the sunnis? the shia? the kurds? the president? CNN? fox? rush limbaugh? truth, when it comes to the war in Iraq, seems to be caught in the shifting sands of perception, belief, and context.
in any case, the course in Iraq is one that’s impossible to chart. i’m not even sure shackleton could get out of this one. i don’t envy you, mr. president. you’ve got a hard, hard job.