'A difference between honest critics':
I didn't see the president's speech last night. But I've read enough excerpts and news accounts (here
) to come to a tentative conclusion that this was one heck of a speech. His final lines -- quoting from Longfellow's
poem Christmas Bells
-- was a very nice touch and should provide a new surge in interest for the poet ... This is another key line that people should remember: “There is a difference between honest critics who say what they think is wrong and defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right.” ... Those positioning themselves as always being right should pay a little more attention to the entire sentence -- as well as the president's repeated references to despair and mistakes and hopes and successes. For Iraq, since the occupation, has had all of this. The war has not been a textbook 'we were right/they were wrong' situation.
FYI: Here are the last two verses of Longfellow's poem (the first is the one the NYT somewhat snidely references to and the final is what the president cited):
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."