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What Do The Bush And Blair Speeches Tell Us About The Assumed Intellectual And Maturity Levels Of Their Respective Audiences? Read And Decide For Yourself.

SPEECH: Bush Announces Strikes Against Taliban

Hope you have time to read the whole Bush speech by clicking on the above link, but here's an excerpt...

"I recently received a touching letter that says a lot about the state of America in these difficult times, a letter from a fourth grade girl with a father in the military.

"As much as I don't want my dad to fight," she wrote, "I'm willing to give him to you."

This is a precious gift. The greatest she could give. This young girl knows what America is all about." --G.W. Bush

SPEECH: Tony Blair Announces British Participation In Attack

Again, hope you have time to read the whole Blair speech by clicking on the above link, but here's a similar excerpt...

"I want to pay tribute at the outset to Britain's armed forces. There is no greater strength for a British prime minister and the British nation at a time like this than to know that the forces we are calling upon are amongst the best in the world. They and their families are of course carrying an immense burden at this moment and will be feeling deep anxiety, as will the British people, but we can take great pride in their courage, their sense of duty, and the esteem with which they are held throughout the world." --Tony Blair

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Dear Politex,

I fear you missed the mark on the comparison between the assumed intelligence of the audiences in the Bush v. Blair speeches. It seems to me that the more obvious comparison is between the intellectual capacity of George W. Bush vs. Tony Blair. It is common knowledge that individuals tend to speak publicly at their own comfort level. Professional speech writers recognize this and tailor their writings not only for the intended audience, but more importantly, the person making delivery. Having heard quantum physics explained in layman's terms to fifth graders with remarkable results, I believe Bush's team is not misunderestimating those who might be hearing the speech - if you get my drift. In short, I don't expect a speech from Bush that speaks to the heart or mind of anyone above the age of 12. --Cheryl, 10/9/01

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Tony Blair Puts Bush to Shame
The prime minister articulates ideas for achieving broader, more global goals.

by DAVID CORN, 10/9/01

WASHINGTON -- "Ever since the Sept. 11 attack, President Bush has tried to universalize his war on terrorism, casting it not merely as a campaign against the plotters and their supporters, but as a global struggle for freedom. It's not that he needs to persuade the American public that a reprisal is warranted; polls indicate overwhelming support for military action. Still, he has tried to convince audiences at home and abroad that this war is a values-driven endeavor rising above an exercise in self-defense or revenge. And the Pentagon helped by initially naming the mission Operation Infinite Justice.

"The mission's moniker was dropped out of concern that devout Muslims would take offense at the notion that anyone but God could dispense "infinite justice." But simple truth-in-advertising would have necessitated a name change as well. It's hard to wage an international war for infinite justice--or even "Enduring Freedom" as the operation is now named--with some of the allies Bush has recruited. Turkey represses its Kurdish population and imprisons dissidents and human rights defenders. In Saudi Arabia, women face severe discrimination, and political and religious activists are routinely detained and punished without due process. Pakistan is ruled by a man who overthrew an elected government in a military coup. The government of Uzbekistan, which Bush has assiduously courted so the United States can base forces there, has locked up more than 7,000 political prisoners, some accused of no more than distributing religious leaflets or wearing a beard.

"Several crucial participants in Bush's anti-terrorism coalition are not champions of enduring freedom and are uninterested in a global campaign of such grand intention. But Tony Blair, the prime minister of England, has eagerly promoted this new war on terrorism in the loftiest of terms, and he has done so in a manner that puts Bush's hollow appeal to freedom to shame.

"If Bush is looking to enhance the image of his war on terrorism, he should study the remarks Blair delivered at a Labor Party conference last Tuesday. Blair's blistering speech received attention mostly for its hawkish eloquence. With much passion, he declared, "If [the terrorists] could have murdered not 7,000 but 70,000, does anyone doubt they would have done so and rejoiced in it?" He went on. "There is no compromise possible with such people .... I say to the Taliban: surrender the terrorists or surrender power." Much of the media described the address as a virtual declaration of war.

"But even as the prime minister talked tough and vowed to defeat Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, he also noted that the problem of terrorism does not exist in a geopolitical vacuum. "We are realizing," Blair said, "how fragile are our frontiers in the face of the world's new challenges. Today, conflicts rarely stay within national boundaries. Today, a tremor in one financial market is repeated in the markets of the world. Today, confidence is global, either its presence or absence."

"In addition to pursuing terrorists, Blair insisted, the international community must also band together to "sort out the blight" in the Third World--to provide more aid and write off debt, while demanding that recipient governments respect human rights and root out corruption. And Blair went further: "With imagination, we could use or find the technologies that create energy without destroying our planet; we could provide work and trade without deforestation." He stated the nations of the world must join forces to curb global warming and to revive the Middle East peace process: "The state of Israel must be given recognition by all .... The Palestinians must have justice." To triumph over terror, Blair said, "The world community must show as much its capacity for compassion as for force."

"Blair has defined the war on terrorism as one component of a wider project. This is quite a different tack than Bush's. The president, for tactical purposes, has inched toward a more engaged position on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and his administration has discussed providing food assistance to Afghan refugees, but his war on terrorism is unconnected to a larger vision. His references to freedom are abstract. He has no way to explain how this war on terrorism will benefit, say, the Kurds of Turkey. In fact, freedom-seekers who live beneath repressive regimes may find their efforts hampered, as the United States downplays human rights concerns to prosecute the war on Bin Laden. Perhaps this is regrettably unavoidable, for war does bring ugly alliances and dirty deals. But Bush ought not add insult to injury by hailing this coalition as a force for freedom.

"Words do come easy--especially to the best of British politicians--and Blair is as glib as they come. It remains to be seen if he can act in accordance with his bold principles. Yet words do count when a leader is attempting to mobilize public opinion at home and abroad--particularly in wartime or near-wartime.

"I believe this is a fight for freedom," Blair stated. "And I want to make it a fight for justice too .... The starving, the wretched, the dispossessed, the ignorant, those living in want and squalor from the deserts of Northern Africa to the slums of Gaza, to the mountain ranges of Afghanistan--they too are our cause." If the world were to hear such sentiments from Washington as well, if Bush were to dump his empty rhetoric and truly tether his war on terrorism to an extensive campaign for global justice, then the president might be able to justify the Pentagon's initial choice for the mission name."

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