Bush's Memorial Day Speech: At Least not as "Bellicose" as Cheney's

Stolberg faintly praised Bush for avoiding his "now-familiar refrain" on Iraq, but Cheney was "sharp and at times bellicose" in defense of the war.

There's some slant in Sheryl Gay Stolberg's treatment of President Bush's traditional Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the country's war dead,faintly praisingthe president as no longer yammering his typical pro-war talking points.

"In years past, Mr. Bush used the Arlington ceremony to defend his policies in the campaign against terror. Last year, in the run-up to the midterm elections, he centered his talk on his now-familiar refrain that America must fight its enemies overseas 'so we do not have to face them here at home.'

"This year's speech, though, seemed aimed at comforting grieving families. The president often meets families of the fallen in private; Monday's address amounted to a kind of public conversation with them.

"'Nothing said today will ease your pain,' Mr. Bush said. 'But each of you need to know that your country thanks you, and we embrace you, and we will never forget the terrible loss you have suffered. I hope you find comfort in knowing that your loved ones rest in a place even more peaceful than the fields that surround us here.'

Stolberg seemed to think Bush came off well compared to his vice president: "The speech stood in stark contrast to one delivered on Saturday by Vice President Dick Cheney at another military venue: the United States Military Academy at West Point. Speaking to 978 academy graduates, Mr. Cheney delivered a sharp and at times bellicose defense of the administration's policies.

"'We're fighting a war on terror because the enemy attacked us first, and hit us hard,' he said, adding, 'Nobody can guarantee that we won't be hit again.'"