President Bush is about to give a quite possibly futile speech to convince the American people not to abandon the Iraqi's to the tender mercies of AlQuaeda and Iran.
I'm going to try liveblogging it despite my extremely slow typing.
Brian Williams just mentioned the library was the site of Jimmy Carters first fireside chat...well.
They cut him off with analysis.
Reminding about the elections (OK good)
Explaining nature of the mistakes as rational.
Wow....very straightforward concise analysis of the situation.
OK so they got the pros from Dover to look at it.....withdrawal = catastrophe. OK no argument here.
Hitting the problems with withdrawal
80% of sectarian violence in/around Bagdad.
Iraqi army is in the lead.
"Going d2d to gain the trust"....that could be problematic given the sectarian divisions.
most troops sent to Bagdad.
whackamole problem before "oil drop strategy" now
Made it clear that comittment is not open ended.
Iraq will not pardon terrorists.
Nice point about the death on TV benefiting enemies.
Reconcilliation depends on Bahgdad peace.
OIL SHARING YESSS!!!!
Infrastructure as priority (good)
Doubling # of reconciliation teams.
Al-Quaeda is in Anbar.
Local tribes are turning on Al-Quaeda.
(The micromanegement is troubling)
Oh...Iran/Syria....He is calling out Iran and interdicting supplies.
It sounds like the second CBG will be semi-permanent.
Putting pressure on Sunni states.
Rice doing shuttle diplomacy.
Fight not just military operation.
Nice bit about the man on the street perspective.
(This is the best speech he's given on this...honest...brutal but with his usual optimism)
Democratic Iraq will not be perfect (more brutal honesty)
Honorable people disagree
Oh OUCH!! Joe Lieberman heading bipartisan group.
Bigger army/marine corps. (very overdue)
Asking yong people to sign up (which he does very little...less than he should)
feed breaking up....
Now we're in analysis....Typical doomsaying but it is hard to disagree with Tim Russert that the next 6 months will be absolutely crucial.
I am actually impressed with the speech, it was forthright, responsible, realistic and informative.
It should have been given 2 years ago.
The point the President touched on quite briefly about the need of Al-Quaeda to put as much blood on the TV as possible is indeed the rub. I think some in the press have a large emotional investment in us loosing this weather they admit it to themselves or not. The President will get no breaks and a lot of cheap shots with the propoganda end of this war, which is more important than in most wars. This is Bush's great failure as a President, his inability to communicate. The home front would not be so precarious if this speech and others like it had been given earlier.
Via Instapundit here isPre-Speech commentary from Austin Bay Read the whole thing...
Particularly noteworthy IMHO
4 – Significant changes in the way provincial-level reconstruction and development teams are created, organized, and deployed. Snow indicated the US will pursue a “more concerted effort to bring together US elements and civilian elements to build institutions for civil society.” That’s jargon but it’s important. Snow said that the new Iraqi “Provincial Support Teams” will embed development officers in military units...snip...Point 4 is particularly significant. The Bush Administration is telling the State Department, Commerce, Treasury, Agriculture, etc to make much more substantial contributions to “unified action”. That’s the DOD buzzword for using and coordinating all of our elements of power.
This is one of the main failures postwar was in my opinion, the total underestimation of just how utterly hosed the Iraqi infrastructure was, and the failure to address this. Some of this may be because of the difficulty to get civil service UUGEis into a war zone and may also explain the huge number of private contractors there, but this indicates he is ordering the associated bureaucracies to coordinated with the military, action which I think is long overdue in this case...
(there being a WAR on and all)
The Alaska style oil trust idea is LONG overdue. It has been bandied about for some time. It is possible that Shiite intransigence was the delay. It is a welcome change as is the de-bathification reform but like everything else in the generally good speech...is very late in the game.
Another point I didn't dwell on but permanently making the # of Carrier Battle Groups in the Arabian sea 2 (+1 during rotations) is a BIG announcement. This doubles and at some times triples the striking power in that area, not just against Iran but the Horn of Africa too.
At a stroke this also eliminates the surest warning Iran might have of any strike...that is another carrier in the area. I think it is still unlikely that we'll attack them right now, but this ads another variable to make their position less certain, and puts a tad more pressure on the rather unpopular Iranian regime. It also is necessary for keeping the Straits of Hormuz open should the Iranians decide to close it in an attempt to wreak Russian style economic warfare.
This deployment also gives better cover (in the event of something quite hot occurring) to the handfull of Coast Guard cutters as well as (Kenyan and other allied OPVs) trying to stamp out the resurgent slave trade in that area, and may well replace them. Note though, that a few cutters are possibly quite useful in the area given their LE and pollution control training. Additionally, on a grim note, it is far better for a 450 ton patrol boat with 26 sailors to be lost to a suicide boat or Q-ship than a gazillion dollar Aegis ship with 450 sailors. The USN warships are over gunned and too expensive for this, and not terribly more survivable if they come within boarding proximity to a vessel fitted out as a Q-ship or suicide craft...while the CG cutters are...sad to say expendable...and with their cannon and small arms capable of handling most law enforcement threats, but totally unsuited for a real war (which is why the Navy doesn't usually buy ships like that...)
But I have digressed badly....
Fortunately, people who can actally type liveblogged the speech too....here, and here
More thoughts here, here here here here, and especially here and here....
One very elegant bit: Joe Lieberman was the only congressman named and since (thanks to the Kos-acks) he has no party affiliation, he is quite likely to be a very important member of the "bipartisan working group". Jedi Joe is now the most powerful man in the senate.
"Markos...Ned...I warn you....if you strike me down I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine"
I think I'll allow myself a "Heh".....