For the past two years, I have repeatedly heard the complaints of those that believe in Iraqi Freedom that the Administration has failed in the communication war. Critics have said that George W. Bush and his advisors have not adequately explained the consequences of failure and have lost the debate to the anti-war establishment.
I have long believed that discussions of failure constitute the wrong approach. The discussion of the consequences of failure looks defensive and reactionary. It accepts the argument that failure is possible or likely. This is not inspiring. I want to be inspired to support the effort and I believe that most Americans want to be inspired.
To change the debate, to gain support, the message needs to be more of what will be the consequences of success? Why do we want to succeed in Iraq? What will happen when we succeed? No one discusses this anymore and we have lost this message amid the anger and obstructionism of the war's oponents.
Early in the war, when support was reasonably high, the administration and others delivered this message well and it was inspiring. We were repeatedly told that a success in Iraq is merely the first step in liberalizing the Middle East and the periphery of the West. I still believe that message, but where has it gone? Why is it not made anymore?
Furthermore, while many supporters justifiably complain about the lack of media coverage concerning the successes in Iraq, the President is a main culprit in this failure. When Operation Arrowhead Ripper began on June 16, 2007, why didn't the President hold a press conference or an oval office address? We have seen success in Anbar since May and we seem to be on the cusp of a similar success in Diyala. Those of us who read Michael Yon, Pajamas Media, and the other good sources of information on the Web know of these recent advances. Most people don't. The President, by the nature of his office, has a unique opportunity to cut through the filters and address the American people directly. No one else has this pull. Yet, he failed to use the bully pulpit. If you can't get your message out on the surge to the wider American audience, you will fail. Only the President can do this.
Success in Iraq seems possible. It is well past time for the President to personally remind us why success is a desirable outcome and to explain our successes. Obviously no one is going to do it for him.
UPDATE: The White House has been reading this blog. President Bush is holding a news conference this morning in 30 minutes.