Revisiting Mr. Bush’s Surge Declaration

Atrios reminds us to look back at the President’s Address to the Nation on January 10 of this year… you know, where he announces the Surge:

A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.

To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq’s provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation’s political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq’s constitution.

Highlights mine. But really, I could have highlighted any other part of the paragraph. And then there’s this:

The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life.

Now let’s consider who the administration has recently decided we should be dealing with. Can some of these folks be described as anything other than “extremists who kill the innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life”? Have they changed? Or have we? Both? Neither?