What a difference three years make. The bluster has not completely disappeared but cracks have begun to appear in the facade of our warrior president.
Three reports point out the president's loss of ground and his so far unsuccessful efforts to reclaim it.
"More rallies, no sale" David Broder
in The Washington Post: On the third anniversary of the war in Iraq, President Bush once again finds himself trying to rally American public opinion to support that costly venture. The series of speeches that began this week comes against a background of deepening skepticism on the part of voters about the effort that began in March 2003 with a lightning strike against Saddam Hussein's forces.
- A CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll, taken just as Bush began this latest oratorical push, found 57 percent of those surveyed said it was a mistake to start the war and 60 percent believe the struggle for democracy and order in that country is going badly. Only 1 voter in 3 believes Bush has a clear plan for winning or ending the war.
"Can Bush rally US Public?" Linda Feldmann
, Christian Science Monitor: "Preemption was the name of the game in President Bush's first-term foreign policy: Undo Iraqi President Saddam Hussein before he harms the United States. Now, with the three-year mark for the start of the Iraq war coming this Sunday, Mr. Bush has launched another preemptive campaign - to answer the war's critics before the media flood of anniversary coverage."
"The Other Face of Bush", Matt Frei BBC New
s:"The man who gave the world jitters with his "let's go it alone", "you're either with us or against us", "smoke 'em out!" rhetoric and who peppered his speeches with words like pre-emption, evil and axis has turned out to be a soft-centred, fuzzy-lipped moderate who cannot stop talking about globalisation, inter-dependence, nation building and the UN."
"Yes, Mr Bush in his second term is the nice guy! The rank and file of his own party are now the nasties. Last week's row over the Dubai ports deal was a case in point."