At no point during President Obama’s fifteen-minute speech on the end of combat operations in Iraq tonight (8 p.m.!) the second Oval Office address of his presidency will he rise, unfurl a “Mission Accomplished” banner like some people, and jog around his new, pessimistic rug shouting things like, “Booyah!” and “You got served, insurgents,” according to his remarks today at Fort Bliss in Texas.
Obama said he would not be taking a “victory lap” when he addresses the nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday night.
“It’s not going to be self-congratulatory,” Obama said of his prime-time speech, only the second such address he has made as president. “There’s still a lot of work that we’ve got to do to make sure that Iraq is an effective partner with us.”
So, with bragging apparently off the table, what will Obama talk about? The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder reports that we can expect effusive praise for the sacrifices of the troops, as well as discussion of how the withdrawal will allow the United States to “refocus attention on the threat from Al Qaeda worldwide,” as well as leave us with a lot more spending money.
The big question is whether Obama will give any credit to the man he telephoned earlier today, President Bush, for the unpopular surge that is at least partly responsible for making Iraq a relatively stable place today (even though, yes, he got us into the war in the first place). Already, Sarah Palin is preparing to reference her Orwell books “so rewritten history can be deciphered, depending on who gets credit 4 Iraq surge.” We’re not sure which Orwell book is about the war in Iraq, but her tweet is definitely a precursor to the barrage of shame that will be unleashed on Obama by the conservative media if he doesn’t acknowledge Bush’s role in making the withdrawal possible.