Liveblogging the Bush Iraq Speech
OK, I don't have a TV, so I have to listen to the radio. And to be safe, I've removed all the objects I can throw from the immediate vicinity. Three minutes until we hear the sound of Dear Leader's voice... Two... One...
"... engaged in a struggle that will determine global war on terror.... When I addressed ya a year ago ... 2005 elections stunning achievement... thought bring Iraq together... AQ and Sunni insurents blew up Golden Mosque in effort to provoke Shia... Their strategy worked... Shia death squads supported by Iran...
Unacceptable to American people and to me. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.. The responsbility rests with me [static] ...
This is no admission of mistakes at all! Let's parse it! It's in the passive voice, doesn't say what the mistakes were, and with "Where" raises the possibility that really, there weren't any mistakes at all. That means the "responsibility" stuff that follows is totally meaningless.
No magic formula for success. [Straw man!] Failure disaster. Extremists, Iran nukular, enemies safe haven. On 9/11 see what a refuge for extremists brings. For safety of our people must succeed.
Hey, give the guy credit; he must have waited two or three minutes before mentioning 9/11!
The most urgent priority for success in Iraq is security, especially in Baghdad. Eighty percent of Iraq's sectarian violence occurs within 30 miles of the capital. This violence is splitting Baghdad into sectarian enclaves, and shaking the confidence of all Iraqis.
Now it's eighty percent. And when we concentrate in Baghdad, the insurgents will move elsewhere.
Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have.
By restrictions, Bush seems to mean Iraqi restrictions, like not going into Shia neighborhoods or confronting the militias. The Sadrists own Maliki, am I right? So why will they make this happen now?
Our military commanders reviewed the new Iraqi plan to ensure that it addressed these mistakes. They report that it does.
Some of them ...
there will be 18 Iraqi Army and National Police brigades committed to this effort - along with local police. These Iraqi forces will operate from local police stations - conducting patrols, setting up checkpoints, and going door-to-door to gain the trust of Baghdad residents. This is a strong commitment.
Sweet Jeebus, we're going to go house to house with the Iraqis? Like Stalingrad? And I don't see a "commitment." I see some people telling Bush what he wants to hear.
American will change our strategy to help. Require increase force levels, 20,000 plus. 5 brigages Baghdad, embedded in Iraqi formations, hep Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods.
This is not a change in strategy. It's all tactical!
Why will this effort succeed?
1. Earlier cleared, but moved on and killers returned
This time have forces to hold
Not according to counter-insurgency doctrine; we don't have enough troops to make the numbers.
2. Political and sectarian forces interfered.
And they won't now? Why?
Our commitment not open ended. Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated.
Why should we believe that Maliki has the power to do this?
Enemies will fill TV screens with death and suffering. Yet over time, fewer acts of violance, Iraqis trust, government will have breathing space to make progress.
Accompany operations with improved quality of life that we will benchmark.
Pass legislation to share oil revenues.
Maybe the Iraqis should renationalize the oil companies...
Iraqis spend $10 billion own money.
We will change our strategy. Embed, partner brigade with each division, accellerate training. Give greater flexibility to spend funds for reconstruction.
Bricks of cash in duffel bags isn't enough flexibility?
Sec Rice soon appoint a Reconstruction coordinator.
Continue to pursue AQ and foreign fighters. AQ wants to seize Anbar. I have given orders to increase troops in Anbar by 4,000. Will work with Iraqis and tribes.
Defend Iraq territorial integrity. Address Iran and Syria. These two regimes allow insurgents to use their territory. Will seek out and destroy network. Also taking other steps, like new carrier group. Deploy Patriot defense systems.
Will work with others prevent Iran from nukular.
Surrounding nations have a stake in success in Iraq, and must step up their support.
So weird. Apparently they are not capable of recognizing their interests unless Bush informs them.
On Friday, Sec Rice will leave for the region and continue Mideast diplomacy.
Decisive ideological struggle: Moderates vs Extremists.
Yeah, that's why we won the 2006 midterms.
Provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy.
Yeah, that's why we won the 2006 midterms.
The changes ensure survival of a young democracy.
Terrorists and insurgents are without conscience. Death and violence will continue.
Victory won't look like fathers and grandfathers. No surrender on battleship.
Well, He's learned something: No more "Mission Accomplished" banners!
Victory will look like a functioning democracy.
As if Bush knew what that looked like.
New approach comes after consultation with Congress. Many concerned Iraqis becoming dependent. Scale back Baghhdad, focus on borders, or withdraw. Step back now collapse govt, tear country apart, mass killings, force us to stay longer.
If increase support this crucial moment, break cycle of violence.
I think I need to Google on "crucial moment." Somehow I think it has something to do with a Friedman Unit.
Honorable people have different views. Acting on the good advice of Sen. Joe Lieberman and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, Bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror.
Nice work on driving a wedge in the Democratic majority. Wonder if Joe will cross the aisle?
Troops undertand is noble and necessary.
Not according to the polls.
We mourn the loss of every fallen American.
Not to mention the Iraqis.
Fellow citizens [even those in the camps], year ahead will demand patience, sacrifice, and resolve. Times of testing reveal character of nation. Americans have always defied the pessimists.
I didn't hear any calls for sacrifice. Except for the troops, of course, who will have their tours extended, and who still lack body armor.
We can and we will prevail. We go forward with the trust that the author of liberty [Madison? Jefferson?] will guide us through these trying hours.
NPR: Not a strategic change: "Stay the course plus 20,000"
KERRY: Why not demand political changes before committing the troops?
IRAQI AMBASSADOR: [Asked for a benchmark, showing success six months from now] Number of schools that are open; business that are open, and people shopping, and people walking the streets in the evening.]
CORNYN: "Last best hope." As Atrios says, "And then?"
NPR: "If I hear the President right, for the past 3 1/2 years we've been running Iraq terribly."
NPR: Taking every soldier we have, and throwing them in. The same strategy that hasn't worked for 3 1/2 years.