This week President Bush used his radio address to talk about the Fourth of July, the sacrifices of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how well things are going in Iraq. The president started out by talking about the Fourth of July. “On the Fourth of July we celebrate the courage and convictions of America’s founders. We remember the spirit of liberty that led men from 13 different colonies to gather in Philadelphia and pen the Declaration of Independence. In that revolutionary document, they proclaimed our independence based on the belief that freedom was God’s gift to all mankind. To defend that freedom, the 56 signers of the Declaration pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Their sacrifices built a new Nation and created a future of freedom for millions yet to be born.”

He then made the comparison to today’s troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Today, a new generation of Americans has stepped forward and volunteered to defend the ideals of our Nation’s founding. Around the world, our brave men and women in uniform are facing danger to protect their fellow citizens from harm. In Afghanistan, our military and NATO forces are hunting down the Taliban and al Qaeda, and helping the Afghan people defend their young democracy. And in Iraq, American and Iraqi forces are standing with the nearly 12 million Iraqis who voted for a future of peace, and opposing ruthless enemies who want to bring down Iraq’s democracy and turn that nation into a terrorist safe haven.”

Then the president felt the need to tell us how much better things are going in Iraq. After mentioning once again that America has a new commander and strategy in Iraq, Bush said, “Recently, we launched Operation Phantom Thunder, which has taken the fight to the enemy in Baghdad, as well as the surrounding regions. We’re still at the beginning of this offensive, but we’re seeing some hopeful signs. We’re engaging the enemy, and killing or capturing hundreds. Just this week, our commanders reported the killing of two senior al Qaeda leaders north of Baghdad. Within Baghdad, our military reports that despite an upward trend in May, sectarian murders in the capital are significantly down from what they were in January. We’re also finding arms caches at more than three times the rate of a year ago.”

The president continued, “The enemy continues to carry out sensational attacks, but the number of car bombings and suicide attacks has been down in May and June. And because of our new strategy, U.S. and Iraqi forces are living among the people they secure, with the result that many Iraqis are now coming forward with information on where the terrorists are hiding.” Interestingly, he doesn’t see fit to mention that American casualties are up, and that the nation has just completed its bloodiest three months of the entire invasion. Today, President Bush once again demonstrated how out of touch he is on this issue. To listen to him, you would think that we have the “bad guys” on the run.

However, pessimism continues to grow about the future of Iraq. A recent Rasmussen Reports poll found that only 29% of Americans think that Iraq will be deemed a success in the long run. Only 25% of people think that things will get better in Iraq over the next six months. Even more troubling for the president is the fact that only 40% of Americans now say that the U.S. is safer than it was before 9/11.

I doubt that anything will make the president change his Iraq policy. He refuses to admit that it isn’t working. I think the only way that things will change is if the Republicans in the Senate join with the Democrats to force a change. For the Republican Party, the stakes are huge. If they continue to stick by the president, they will lose even more seats in Congress and maybe even the White House next year, so under these pressures, you have to wonder how much longer they can stick with the war and failed policy experiment that is Iraq.

Full text of the president’s radio address

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at  blog radio 

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