The White House has just released a few excerpts from the speech the president will give at Fort Bragg tonight. No surprises -- except for the extent to which George W. Bush will endeavor to link the war in Iraq back to the attacks of September 11th. The sneak peak provided by the White House contains three paragraphs from the president's speech. In two of them, Bush invokes memories of 9/11.
"The terrorists can kill the innocent but they cannot stop the advance of freedom," Bush will say. "The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September 11 if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like Bin Laden."
Later, Bush will say: "We are fighting against men with blind hatred -- and armed with lethal weapons -- who are capable of any atrocity. They wear no uniform; they respect no laws of warfare or morality. They take innocent lives to create chaos for the cameras. They are trying to shake our will in Iraq just as they tried to shake our will on September 11, 2001. They will fail."
When Bush utters those words tonight, would it be too much to ask the cable networks to run some words from the 9/11 Commission under his picture in the crawl? We're thinking about something like, "'No evidence' of a 'collaborative relationship' between Iraq and al Qaida." Or maybe, "No evidence that 'Iraq cooperated with al Qaida in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States.'" Yes, the United States is fighting terrorists in Iraq now. But that's not why the U.S. started the war, and it's a shameful cover for failing to offer a real plan for ending it.