Bush's Whitehall Palace Speech--opinions?

One columnist from the Times was delighted Dubya spoke so well, “without an autocue!” I think our Pres is benefiting from what he’s called in education ‘the bigotry of low expectations’. :smiley:

Anyway, here, from The White House site, is the full speech. There’s a couple of (sics) in there so I think it’s a transcript.

Gotta give my standard disclaimer (moderate Dem, didn’t and won’t vote for the guy) and then go on to say that I rather like it. Here’s some phrases I thought were particularly to his point:

OK, I’m getting away from Fair Use there, but that’s most of what I liked. What say the Dopers, from the UK and elsewhere?

Was there anything new in the speech? All the snippits I’ve caught so far seem to be more of the same – attempting to redefine the Iraq war as part of the “war on terrorism” (never mind those missing WMDs), and casting folks who oppose his views as folks opposed to freedom and democracy. Straight out of the Karl Rove playbook, far as I could see.

I don’t think it was supposed to be new, just a crystallization of his ideas in one place.

Of his ideas? I think you give him too much credit.

I’d like to make some comments on what he said about Israel - Palestine

One would hope that Bush would actually start following through on his claims, and starts imposing some sanctions on Israel for it’s flagrant human rights violations. While the actions of Palestinian terrorists are clearly deplorable, and I personally believe the PLO has a lot to awsner for, one cannot help but notice that the United States tends to be largely one-sided in it’s condemnations. Palestinian terror attacks get met with strong condemnations, Israeli human rights violations merely result in “advocations of restraint”.

That kind of double standard has got to stop.

The United States has repeatedly accused the UN of not following through on it’s own resolutions against Iraq. Powell critized the EU declaration on Iran’s statement on nuclear capability for lacking a “trigger mechanism”. One would like to seem them apply the same kind of logic to Israel, that continues to build Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank, continues to build a security perimeter reminiscent of the Berlin Wall, that legalized torture of Palestinians in 1985, and that continues to preach “racial purity” of the Jewish race throughout the land of Eretz Israel.

But, as a matter of fact, the United States restricts itself to a light slap on the wrist, and instead will donate some 2.7 billion dollars in military and aid relief to Israel in 2003.

I greatly enjoyed it and thought it was brilliant. He made a great effort to try and connect with citizens of the UK by discussing how much of what the US has tried to accomplish comes from a British tradition.

He opened by mentioning how the last American of note to visit London spent his trip dangling in a box above the river and how probably a lot of folks wished the same for him. Certainly those that believe everything is driven out of arrogance would have to admit that he took his critics head on and clearly articulated his vision and position.

I suppose that those who think he’s a puppet or dunce or whatever won’t be impressed because they’ll insist its someone elses ideas (TVAA).

But I think even those that thought he was a complete dullard had to be impressed with his delivery and the energy behind his message.

One of the things I’ve noticed with him is that he speaks much, much better to an audience than to an empty room with a prompter. Maybe the “braintrust” should consider having him do this with his speeches from the whitehouse as well.

"We understand, as well, that the success of multilateralism is not measured by adherence to forms alone, the tidiness of the process, but by the results we achieve to keep our nations secure. "

It´s just me or does that sound like: “the ends justify the means”?

I saw it more as impatience–the Europeans were insisting on following every little protocol they could find to avoid taking action, and thus had let Saddam break the resolutions the UN had passed for twelve years. That they’d rather have papers with x number of nations signed on them then actually do anything.

I still can’t figure out what happens if George Bush doesn’t inject religion into every speech he makes. Does his head fall off or something? The fact that Americans are known as “religious people- rightly so” or that the Middle East “shares” a “religion of personal responsibility” is the least relevent thing in the whole world. Although I don’t agree with his policies, this was a fairly eloquent speech. The constant and out-of-place references to religion still drive me nuts and as an American atheist, I can’t help but feel marginalized, offended, and more importantly scared of his ideas about how religion and government should interact.

What has astonished me is reports from the UK that Britons were astonished at how Bush delivered the above speech and didn’t just stand up, drool, and say “Hee hee, funny monkey.” over and over. Did Britons actually expect that Bush couldn’t pull off a polished speech when given boatloads of time to prepare, rehearse, be coached, etc.?

even sven,

You probably wouldn’t want to read the inaugural address of President Jimmy Carter, since he quotes extensively from the book of Micah.


You might also want to avoid reading the inaugural address of President Harry Truman, since he makes a reference to all men being equal because they are created in God’s image.


Amazingly enough, our republic and its religious freedoms survived these fundamentalist nutjubs that inhabited the Oval Office.

America has a Judeo-Christian heritage that permeates our culture and history, and the vast majority of Americans are religious to some degree. That is bound to find its way into a speech from time to time.

If you feel marginalized, offended, and scared by this, which is longstanding and wholly natural, I feel sorry for you. Do you see signs of oppression every time you pass a synagogue or church?

It is relevant because he was making a case that the US and UK share many values; insofar as some in the UK think of the US as too religious, it seems entirely fair for him to be pointing out that that religiousity is partly rooted in England.


is massively relevant insofar as idiots of various stripes have attempted to depict the US as at war with Islam. Bush feels it necessary to point out constantly that he bears no animus toward Islam per se, and that he views Islam as a potential source for great good which is moreover wholly compatible with democracy. As someone with Arab and Muslim freinds, I can tell you that these constant reassurances are indeed appreciated.


How in blazes does any of this offend or marginalize you? Heck, if he’s too into the God thing for your tastes, you’re not alone. But save the complaining for anything he does that actually infringes of SOCAS. As it is, you just sound a little deiophobic.

It wouldn’t bug me if it didn’t happen in just about every single speech, be it about national security, the economy, or National Recognition of Bean Farmers Week. I can cut a little slack for inaugural speeches, which are a bit more personal. But he doesn’t need to wedge his beliefs into every little thing he does as president.

I watch a lot of Bush speeches, and it’s only a matter of time before he says something about God. It’s not the president’s job to constantly reassure people that this is a Christian nation. He was not elected as the head of state and national preacher. I just wish he’d lay off it for once. God isn’t going to strike us down if George W. Bush doesn’t reassure Him that “America values faith” or “America was founded on Judeo-Christian values” in public every other day. The phrases he uses are trite and meaningless, and have little to do with the matter at hand and everything to do with crafting a vision of America in the minds of Americans that supports his personal beliefs and agenda.

Yes, as an atheist, I do feel marginalized. Every time he says or implies this is a Christian nation, he is also saying that I am not a full part of this nation- that I do not fully belong here. Every time he references Judeo-Christian values he implies that I do not value the thing that are valued in America, and neither do my Hindu, Buddhist, and Pagan friends. We believe in freedom, equality, democracy and progress. These beliefs are not exclusive to YHWH and I don’t think George Bush needs to constantly and relentlessly claim that they are.

Every time he injects his speeches with platitudes about the value of faith or the whatever of the creator, he is either pretending that atheists don’t exist (a common belief among many Christians I know- they figure us atheists know God but rejected him, and “they know in their hearts” that it’d not possible to just not believe in Him) or just needlessly maligning them. And yeah, that pisses me off. This is my nation, too.

And then there is stuff like saying that Challenger astronauts were “home now”- which we all know implies heaven. One of those astronauts was Indian and very likely Hindu. I doubt her parents are going to be reassured that she’s hanging out in Christian heaven- heck, according to many Christians she’d be burning in Hell. How insensitive to a grieving family can you be when you turn an international tragedy into a chance to drop a throwaway line about your religion into it? There was no reason he could not have said something equally meaningful and comforting that wasn’t about God. His speech writers get paid good money to do this stuff. I’m sure they could have figured something out.

I’d be okay if the guy just made a statement of faith or something. But he is using his platform as president to address religion when it irrelevant and inappropriate and has shown through his cabinet and policies that if it were at all possible all his God talk would be much more than just talk. I don’t mind that he is a Christian but when he is giving speeches he needs to stick to the matter at hand and remember that he is speaking to and for a culturally and religiously diverse secular nation.

I saw about 15 minutes of it this morning on CNN. It struck me as nothing more than the same empty platitudes he’s been tossing around for years. I saw no acknowledgment of the falsity of the US-UK case for war, which seemed pretty ridiculous given that that is the #1 reason why the Brits (and everyone else in Europe) are so pissed off at Dear Leader.


I cringe a bit, too, but the fact is religion plays a big part in Bush’s life. He made no secret of it during the campaign, so it’s not like he sprung this on the country as some big surprise. I 'd prefer Bush toned down the religiosity of his speaches, but I just chalk it up to a difference of opinion.

Perhaps the president could have beem more inclusive in his remarks reagarding the Coumbia’s crew. But while Kalpana Chawla was a Sikh, and I can’t speak for all Sikhs (or any Sikhs for that matter), it doesn’t appear that a Sikh would be offended by the president’s remark:

BTW, did you cringe as much when Clinton invoked religion? I seem to remember that he was not shy about references to God either.

Apparantly, that respect for diversity only flows one way.

Bush in this speech mentioned respectfully the traditions of three great world religions. You, in this thread, insult Christians by implying that they all wish a Hindu astronaut to land in hell.

This Christian nation has gone farther to protect the rights of religious minorities, including atheists like you, than most nations on the planet. If this leaves you feeling marginalized, then it is because you are stupifyingly ungrateful.

To clarify, my remarks intended for even sven.

This is not a “Christian nation,” Mr. Moto. It’s a secular one.

I also find it irritating when any politician incessently invokes “God,” including Bill Clinton…hell, Joe Lieberman drove me nuts with it during the 2000 election.

No, it’s saying that the ends justify not using the forms of multilateralism. Perfectly reasonable unless you believe that the forms of multilateralism are sacred and ever to deviate from them is immoral. I don’t believe that.

The more troubling part to me is that the “results” he claims to have achieved are not that great. If the WMDs were ever there, we haven’t found them and we don’t know where they went, al-Qaeda still has chemical weapons, and while we may yet succeed in making Iraq into a free democracy, we are a long, long way from that goal.

I just realized that was silly. Of course the WMDs were once there (i.e. in Iraq), because it is undisputed that Hussein used them on the Iranians and the Kurds. I should have said, “if the WMDs were in Iraq at the time America and Britain invaded.”