Faster, Please!

State of the Union

It’s probably going to get me thrown out of the pundit union, but I don’t much care what the president says tonight. I don’t think it matters much, one way or the other. We know him, we’ve made up our minds, mostly negatively, it seems.

All that matters now is facts, and the public’s willingness to recognize them, which is increasingly in doubt, alas. I read an article in today’s LA Times that almost totally denied the statements by our military commanders and our intelligence chiefs regarding Iranian support for terrorists in Iraq. I think it requires an act of religious devotion to believe what the LA Times “reporters” say, but I quite agree with them that the evidence should be made public. Indeed, I said so in a recent blog, didn’t I?

Only facts will make a difference at this point, and since this administration has been uniquely inept at explaining its actions–above all, in the war, which is the defining challenge for this generation–the president would do well to concentrate on presenting us with a full picture of the evidence upon which he has based his decisions. And, of course, he must keep trying to win the war itself.

You may remember a few months ago Senator Santorum and Representative Hoekstra called for the declassification of all materials concerning the discovery of WMDs in Iraq. Negroponte hated it, and dribbled out heavily censored versions of a small portion of what they had. So far as I know, nothing more has been released. And of course there has been no hue and cry from the journalistic fraternity. Compare this acquiescence to censorship with the frenzy over the Libby non-event, and you will see media bias at its finest.

And of course you will also see the ineptitude of the administration, and in particular of a president who still, touchingly, apparently believes that the Intelligence Community is actually working for him, rather than for their own policies.

Tony Snow is one of my favorite people, and I think he’s been a big improvement over his predecessors. And the speech writers, including my old and dear friend Bill McGurn, are excellent, as they have been all along. But the key person presently in charge of our ‘public policy’ is Karen Hughes, who by most accounts has failed to accomplish anything of real value from her gilded perch at Foggy Bottom. Like so many in the “compassionate conservative” crowd, she has put her faith in dialogue, trusting that the bright side of Islam will be inspired by expressions of good will from Washington.

Beata lei, as the Italians say, lucky Karen, who lives in a world where fine words and lofty sentiments trump the will to power and the jihadist determination to kill or dominate us all.

I think the president should forget about such language, demand that all relevant information be presented to the public, and let the citizens see the bare facts and debate their meaning. There may yet be a chance–ever the optimist, I am–for such a debate to lead to an understanding that we are in a regional war, and that we cannot possibly win such a war by fighting to defend Iraq alone.

No speech can do that.