Dream of: 30 March 2005 "Speech Writer"

I was in a room with president George W. Bush and about 10 other people. Everyone was talking about a recent incident in Iraq. I wasn't exactly sure what had happened, but apparently some American soldiers had committed some atrocities against some Iraqis. Now Bush was compelled to address the country about the incident, and everyone in the room was trying to figure out what Bush should say. Expressing grave concern, everyone was studying Bush's options. 

As several ideas were considered, I also had an idea, and I began laying out my thoughts to the others. I pointed out that similar incidents had occurred in the past, and that each time the United States had apologized for those incidents. In response to those previous incidents, Bush had also said that mistakes would be made in the future, and that we would respond to those mistakes as they happened. 

I thought we should do the same this time: we should display deep regret in an apology and mention that future mistakes might also occur. However, the United States should maintain that this incident had nothing to do with our determination to "persevere" in this struggle in Iraq. I mentioned that our resolve should not be "attenuated" by this incident. I stumbled over the word "attenuated" as I pronounced it, but everyone in the room loved the word. This was the deciding word in everyone's minds and they all began applauding. It seemed, however, that they were applauding the president (and not me) because this was the kind of words he would be using. 

Bush stepped up to me and asked me if I wanted to write the speech for him. I was flattered. I felt as if Bush were an honorable man and I enjoyed being there with him to help him resolve this matter. I accepted, but I was a bit startled when he told me he wanted me to write the speech right there on the spot. 

Bush stepped over to the side with some others, while I started trying to think of exactly what to say. I wanted to stress two basic points: the apology and the determination to see this struggle through to the end. 

I also had another concept on my mind which I wanted to interject into the speech: the scrutiny of the press. I wanted to assert that one of the goals for which the United States was fighting was the freedom of the press. In doing so, I wanted to touch upon the irony that the scrutiny of the press (for which we were fighting) had precipitated the need to address this incident. I wanted to show how this whole incident illustrated the freedom of the press for which the United States was fighting.

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