Bush Has Gone AWOL


The following is a transcript of the Democratic Radio Address delivered by Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army (Ret.) on Saturday April 28, 2007:

You can download the radio address by clicking here: http://a9.g.akamai.net/7/9/8082/v001/democ…adioAddress.mp3

“Good morning, this is Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army, retired.

“I am not now nor have I ever been a Democrat or a Republican. Thus, I do
not speak for the Democratic Party. I speak for myself, as a
non-partisan retired military officer who is a former Director of the
National Security Agency. I do so because Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of
the House of Representatives, asked me.

“In principle, I do not favor Congressional involvement in the execution of U.S. foreign and
military policy. I have seen its perverse effects in many cases. The
conflict in Iraq is different. Over the past couple of years, the
President has let it proceed on automatic pilot, making no corrections
in the face of accumulating evidence that his strategy is failing and
cannot be rescued.

“Thus, he lets the United States fly further and further into trouble, squandering its
influence, money, and blood, facilitating the gains of our enemies. The Congress is the only
mechanism we have to fill this vacuum in command judgment.

“To put this in a simple army metaphor, the Commander-in-Chief seems to
have gone AWOL, that is ‘absent without leave.’ He neither acts nor
talks as though he is in charge. Rather, he engages in tit-for-tat

“Some in Congress on both sides of the aisle have
responded with their own tits-for-tats. These kinds of games, however,
are no longer helpful, much less amusing. They merely reflect the
absence of effective leadership in a crisis. And we are in a crisis.

“Most Americans suspect that something is fundamentally wrong with the
President’s management of the conflict in Iraq. And they are right.

“The challenge we face today is not how to win in Iraq; it is how to recover
from a strategic mistake: invading Iraq in the first place. The war
could never have served American interests.

“But it has served Iran’s interest by revenging Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran in the
1980s and enhancing Iran’s influence within Iraq. It has also served al
Qaeda’s interests, providing a much better training ground than did
Afghanistan, allowing it to build its ranks far above the levels and
competence that otherwise would have been possible.

“We cannot ‘win’ a war that serves our enemies interests and not our own. Thus
continuing to pursue the illusion of victory in Iraq makes no sense. We
can now see that it never did.

“A wise commander in this situation normally revises his objectives and changes his strategy,
not just marginally, but radically. Nothing less today will limit the death
and destruction that the invasion of Iraq has unleashed.

“No effective new strategy can be devised for the United States until it
begins withdrawing its forces from Iraq. Only that step will break the
paralysis that now confronts us. Withdrawal is the pre-condition for
winning support from countries in Europe that have stood aside and
other major powers including India, China, Japan, Russia.

“It will also shock and change attitudes in Iran, Syria, and other
countries on Iraq’s borders, making them far more likely to take
seriously new U.S. approaches, not just to Iraq, but to restoring
regional stability and heading off the spreading chaos that our war has

“The bill that Congress approved this week, with bipartisan support,
setting schedules for withdrawal, provides the President an opportunity to
begin this kind of strategic shift, one that defines regional stability as the measure
of victory, not some impossible outcome.

“I hope the President seizes this moment for a basic change in course and signs the
bill the Congress has sent him.  I will respect him greatly for such a rare act of courage,
and so too, I suspect, will most Americans.

“This is retired General Odom. Thank you for listening.”


General Odom has served as Director of the National Security Agency and Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, the Army’s senior intelligence officer. In his address, General Odom will discuss why he believes President Bush should sign the conference report on the Iraq Accountability Act.

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