President Bush's speech on our progress in Iraq provides a long-overdue shot in the arm to the president's credibility, our mission in Iraq and his patriotic defenders, who have been tirelessly refuting his detractors, their misinformation, demagoguery and lies with precious little help from the White House.
Up until a few weeks ago, the White House had remained largely silent in the face of the relentless assaults against it, more resembling a punching bag than a confident director of a just war against global Islamofascist terrorists.
The administration, it could be argued, has had a blind spot, even a learning disability, concerning the opposition party's ill will and ruthlessness. When accused of lying about WMD, for example, President Bush barely registered indignation. When Scooter Libby was indicted for misleading the FBI and grand jury, but specifically not for violating either underlying criminal statute for the alleged "outing" of the non-covert Valerie Plame, he ordered ethics training for White House staff rather than proclaiming vindication.
By contrast, the Democrats twisted Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's failure to indict on the underlying crimes as proof that Libby, Cheney and Rove had intentionally "outed" Plame to exact revenge on her husband, Joe Wilson, for attempting to undermine the president's case on Iraqi WMD. It is simply hard to overestimate the opposition's capacity for political chicanery.
The president apparently believed that as long as he was doing the right thing, Democrat leaders would come around, at least on the war for the survival of Western civilization. But his reliance on their presumed good faith was woefully misplaced, and it has cost him.
Better late than never, President Bush finally realized he had to strike back. Almost daily for the last few weeks, high-ranking administration officials, such as Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld have joined him in setting the record straight. They've forcefully countered the fraudulent allegations that he lied about WMD and that the administration systematically tortures terrorist detainees.
But the president's Naval Academy speech raised his counterattack to a new level. Without belaboring the tired WMD and torture claims, he delivered, essentially, a state of the union address on the War on Terror, Iraq Theater. He refuted the disinformation and clarified the state of our military operations and the much-debated readiness of the Iraqi forces.