I just read the presidents big speech tonight and it struck me. There were some key lines left out of the speech. You may have had the same response. For the sake of clarity and fairness, I've tried to reconstruct the missing lines. I'm sure that the omissions were just an accident. Or maybe that Robert Gibbs may be up to his old tricks again. My insertions are in italics, following the president's words from the official White House transcript. White House, August 31, 2010 Here goes.
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Tonight, I'd like to talk to you about the end of our combat mission in Iraq, the ongoing security challenges we face, and the need to rebuild our nation here at home. But before I do that, we need a moment of truth. The Iraq war was based on a deliberate lie involving the White House distorting the National intelligence estimate on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The report got it wrong on WMD. There were none. But it concluded that the only way the nonexistent WMD would be used against the United States was in retaliation for a US attack on Iraq that threatened Saddam Hussein. By deleting this information, the Bush-Cheney White House justified a preemptive invasion without any basis, a crime under international law that our nation helped establish after World War II.
But this milestone should serve as a reminder to all Americans that the future is ours to shape if we move forward with confidence and commitment. It should also serve as a message to the world that the United States of America intends to sustain and strengthen our leadership in this young century. A key part of acknowledging the milestone is listing the damage the illegal invasion of Iraq did to the people Bush-Cheney claimed to liberate. Between 500,000 and 1.0 million civilians died as a result of post invasion sectarian violence and chaos. Millions of Iraqi civilians fled the country and remain abroad because the US failed to secure the nation for years. And there are up to five million orphaned Iraqi children. We cannot proceed with out all citizens understanding what was done in their name and, clearly, without being informed of the carnage.
U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq's cities last summer, and Iraqi forces have moved into the lead with considerable skill and commitment to their fellow citizens. Even as Iraq continues to suffer terrorist attacks, security incidents have been near the lowest on record since the war began. And Iraqi forces have taken the fight to al Qaeda, removing much of its leadership in Iraqi-led operations. Prior to the invasion, al Qaeda was not welcomed in Iraq. As an absolute dictator, Saddam Hussein was hostile to any competitors. He wouldn't allow their presence. The problem of al Qaeda fighters in Iraq was one that flowed form the illegal invasion, as is the problem of clearing out any who remain.
As we speak, al Qaeda continues to plot against us, and its leadership remains anchored in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. I need make this very important point for your consideration. Our estimates of a few months ago are that much of the effort we're making in Afghanistan involves eradicating the 100 or so al Qaeda who remain.
And the bedrock of that prosperity must be a growing middle class. During the past ten years, greedy corporate captains of finance and a bipartisan coalition in Congress have done everything to stamp out the middle class. This has to end.
And so at this moment, as we wind down the war in Iraq, we must tackle those challenges at home with as much energy, and grit, and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad. That's why I ask you to write your member of Congress and insist that they end the Bush give away tax breaks to the wealthiest 1%, once and for all. By doing this, we can start to balance the budget and secure Social Security for those who have worked so hard all of their lives.
Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work. "in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as President. It's about time! I've wasted 20 months listening to Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, economic advisor Larry Summers, and the perpetrators of the economic catastrophe, the fat cats on Wall Street. Their day is over. I just fired Geithner and Summers. More importantly, I'm appointing a team of prosecutors charged with confiscating the billions stolen from pension funds, individual stock accounts, and other honest investors. I intend to track down every dollar of ill gotten gains from those who pulled off the biggest heist in history and see that it's returned to the rightful owners. I will also see to it that no-nonsense emergency stimulus and relief efforts are initiated to help the people and get the economy moving again.
We're treating the signature wounds of today's wars -- post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury -- while providing the health care and benefits that all of our veterans have earned. These veterans and all those lost and injured would be here today, never have needed treatment were it not for the illegal invasion. As a result, I'm appointing one of the nation's greatest prosecutors, Vincent Bugliosi, to prosecute those responsible for the injuries and deaths of all U.S. soldiers who served in Iraq.
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