Did you catch the President tonight? I cannot believe he did not specifically address the issue of domestic spying, though I realize it was the subject of Saturday’s radio address. Before long, he may regret both yesterday’s defiance and today’s silence. We’ll see.

In any case, the President did make some interesting comments. For example, it is noteworthy that despite appearances, Bush apparently doesn’t mind criticism — so long as the critics aren’t “defeatists.”

We will continue to listen to honest criticism, and make every change that will help us complete the mission. Yet there is a difference between honest critics who recognize what is wrong, and defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right.

Defeatism may have its partisan uses, but it is not justified by the facts. For every scene of destruction in Iraq, there are more scenes of rebuilding and hope. For every life lost, there are countless more lives reclaimed. And for every terrorist working to stop freedom in Iraq, there are many more Iraqis and Americans working to defeat them. My fellow citizens: Not only can we win the war in Iraq, we are winning the war in Iraq.

There you have it. Defeatists aren’t honest.

That means you Chuck Hagel. And certainly John Murtha.

I have a question for the President about his strategy. He has been saying for awhile now that the US will leave once the Iraqis are ready to stand up and take the place of America. He said it again tonight:

We’re approaching a new year, and there are certain things all Americans can expect to see. We will see more sacrifice — from our military, their families, and the Iraqi people. We will see a concerted effort to improve Iraqi police forces and fight corruption. We will see the Iraqi military gaining strength and confidence, and the democratic process moving forward. As these achievements come, it should require fewer American troops to accomplish our mission.

What he doesn’t say is that the strongest military in the world has been in Iraq for nearly three years and the insurgency is not getting smaller. The attacks are not fewer and American soldiers continue to die at a steady rate.

How can a ragtag indigenous force possibly replace the best military in the world? How long could that possibly take?

Years, certainly.

Decades?

Until he can answer that question, I’m going to have to conclude that the strategy for victory isn’t serious.

That probably makes me a defeatist.

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