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By Michelle Malkin  •  December 18, 2005 07:20 PM

Tonight. 9pm EST. President Bush addresses the nation on Iraq. Preview:

The speech will mark the first time he has spoken on Iraq from the Oval Office since launching the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

According to the excerpts released Sunday, Bush will hail Thursday’s vote as “the beginning of something new: constitutional democracy at the heart of the Middle East. And this vote — 6,000 miles away, in a vital region of the world — means that America has an ally of growing strength in the fight against terror.”

Bush’s Sunday address will cap four recent speeches he has delivered on Iraq as part of the White House effort to bolster support for the war effort, a senior official said.

The White House website will have a live webcast here. The White House Renewal in Iraq page is here.

TV Newser has details of tonight’s MSM coverage:

FNC: Bill O’Reilly at 8; The Big Story Weekend at 9:30, with “immediate reaction…from our servicemen and women in Iraq.” Brit Hume’s religion special, which was previously scheduled for 9, will air at 10.

CNN: Wolf Blitzer is in The Situation Room at 8; Larry King at 9; and Blitzer is back at 10.

MSNBC: Brian Williams’ “Day with the President” special at 7; Meet the Press at 8; speech coverage hosted by Keith Olbermann at 9; reaction with Tucker Carlson at 10. (The Meth special originally scheduled at 9 will air at 6.)

NBC: Brian Williams will anchor live coverage at 9.

ABC: Will broadcast the speech at 9. Anchor unknown.

CBS: Bob Schieffer will anchor.

0902pm EST.

…This election will not mean the end of violence, but it is the beginning of something new…

I know many Americans have questions about the cost and direction of this war. So tonight I want to talk to you about how far we have come in Iraq, and the path that lies ahead…

My conviction is this: We do not create terrorists by fighting them. We invite terrorism by ignoring them and we will defeat the terrorists by capturing and killing them abroad, and strengthening new allies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

…Behind the images of chaos that the terrorists create for the cameras, we are making steady gains…

…Three days ago, millions of Iraqis went to the polls…One voter, after dipping his finger in the purple ink, stuck his finger in the air and said, “This is a thorn in the eye of the terrorists.” Another voter, when asked if he was Sunni or Shia, said, “I am Iraqi.”

0912pm EST …Defeatism may have its partisan uses, but it is not justified by the facts…

…To retreat before victory would be an act of recklesseness and dishonor, and I will not allow it….

…Our forces in Iraq are on the road to victory, and that is the road that will lead them home…

0916pm EST I know that some of my decision have led to terrible loss, but not one of those decisions has been made lightly…Next week, Americans will gather to celebrate Christmas and Hannukah. Many families will be praying for loved ones spending the season far from home…We trust with them a love that conquers all fear…[Ends with citing Civil War Christmas carol, Longfellow’s “I heard the bells on Christmas day”]:

God is not dead
Nor does his sleep
The wrong shall fail
The right prevail
With peace on earth
Good will to men.


I think the speech was an excellent summation of why we invaded Iraq, the progress we’re making, and–key point–the dire consequences and costs that the Democrats’ defeatism would impose not only on the Iraqi people, but on all Americans as well.


The talking heads:

Morton Kondracke: “This is the fireside chat that I think he should have delivered during the war…He had elements of humility and he also socked it to the Democratic Party, referring to partisanship and politics…said, in effect, that most Democrats are for defeat…and on the defensive.”

Bill Kristol: “An extremely sober and responsible speech.” But Kristol wanted more “noble” tone.


Blogger reax:

Instapundit: “…one big thing struck me: In this national televised speech, Bush went out of his way to take responsibility for the war. He repeatedly talked about “my decision to invade Iraq,” even though, of course, it was also Congress’s decision. He made very clear that, ultimately, this was his war, and the decisions were his.

Why did he do that? Because he thinks we’re winning, and he wants credit.”

Hennessy’s View: “No president should ever have to go on TV to beg Americans not to undermine our troops in battle.”

Kathryn Lopez gives it two thumbs up.

Mega-round-up at Pajamas Media.

Jim Hoft: After Only 1,000 Days, Bush Takes Credit for Iraq



Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics has an excellent post on the media’s incurable myopia.

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