We must not be complacent at moments of success, and we must not despair over setbacks. We must learn from our mistakes, improve on our successes, and vanquish this unpardonable enemy.
I disagree. I think. On first hearing, I was certain this was a solid endorsement of Bush. I equated "complacent" with the temptation to vote for Kerry now that Saddam has fallen. I took "despair over setbacks" as a reference to Kerry's unceasing attempts to cast Iraq as a botched mess. The message I came away with is that we must press on, that we can’t allow missteps and naysayers to derail us from our cause. It was a call to remain loyal to the president in the face of negativity.
Upon review, my opinion hasn’t changed. But now I’m not so sure. In isolation, Andrew’s interpretation certainly holds up—perhaps better than mine. I’d like to take a look at the surrounding passages to glean the context, but I haven’t yet found a transcript on the web.
Update: I've located the transcript, and in fuller context I stand by my interpretation. Maybe I'm just not nuanced enough, but I think Andrew is reaching here.
Only the most deluded of us could doubt the necessity of this war. Like all wars, this one will have its ups and downs. But we must fight. We must.
The sacrifices borne in our defense are not shared equally by all Americans. But all Americans must share a resolve to see this war through to a just end. We must not be complacent at moments of success, and we must not despair over setbacks.
We must learn from our mistakes, improve on our successes, and vanquish this unpardonable enemy.
If we do less, we will fail the one mission no American generation has ever failed: to provide to our children a stronger, better country than the one we were blessed to inherit.