Bush Defends Iraq Policies, Sounds Defiant Note In Speech To UN
President Bush addressed the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, where he defended his Iraq policies and rallied all nations to work together to defeat terror. According to ABC World News Tonight, Bush struck "a defiant note" and was "unapologetic" about his decision to depose Saddam Hussein, "insisting it was part and parcel of the campaign against terrorism an argument widely rejected at the UN and received coolly here today. But with much of Iraq still a battleground, Mr. Bush was also looking for help in securing and reconstructing the war-torn nation." Privately, added ABC, "US officials here say they do not expect much help from the UN in Iraq." The CBS Evening News noted the President "went before the United Nations General Assembly, the same UN he once warned was becoming irrelevant." The NBC Nightly News said "despite a cool reception in the General Assembly, Mr. Bush made no apologies for making good on the UN threat of serious consequences or war if Saddam failed to come clean on his weapons program." Local TV newscasts also portrayed Bush's speech as a steadfast defense of his Iraq policies. Many noted that Bush "made no apologies" for the invasion as well as his claim that his decision will make the word safer. For example, WDIV-TV of Detroit reported that Bush "said he will not allow the terrorists to determine our fate. While addressing the United Nations this morning, President Bush says even though actions in Iraq seem difficult, the human cost of war is so high, it's important for coalition forces to stay the course." Bush was shown saying: "The proper response to difficulty is not to retreat. It is to prevail." WFOR-TV of Miami reported "the President made no apologies about toppling Saddam Hussein."
USA Today, however, thought Bush "did not employ the defiant tone he used two years ago in calling for Iraq to be forced to disarm," while the Wall Street Journal says Bush "pointedly praised US and UN shared commitments to the 'dignity of every human life,' in a muted speech that reflected the domestic and international pressures he faces." UN "officials seemed relieved that Mr. Bush sounded familiar chords of agreement with the organization's mission and belief in the potential of multilateral action."
The Washington Post thought Bush's speech "was the verbal equivalent of a 'greatest hits' album, repackaging and summarizing the key foreign-policy themes the president has embraced in the past four years." He "faced a tough audience many of the world leaders listening are quietly rooting for the victory of his opponent in the upcoming election but without apology or retreat, the president cast the war on terrorism as a defining moment that will usher in democracy across the globe." With the US presidential election six weeks away, noted CNN, the President "was very much also speaking to a domestic audience."