Tonight President Bush defined the new SURGE strategy for Iraq. During the week and extensively today, parts of the speach dribbled out to Cable TV reporters, anchors and talking heads who critically analyzed each segment with guest politicians and Military experts on Breaking News Specials. By the time Bush spoke from the WH, the suspense was gone and his presentation seemed anti-climactic and flat.
There will be 20,000+ more troops deployed mostly to Baghdad to protect Iraqi civilians from sectarian militias, and 4 thousand Marines to Anbar Province to deal with Al Qaeda and Sunni insurgents. This time American forces will not be hamstrung by political restraints issued by the Shiite Prime Minister Maliki. He's on board with using thousands of Iraqi Military to fight side by side with US troops to tamp down the violence in Baghdad and finally deal with al Sadr's militias. Maliki and Bush both have been under fire for failure to execute their promised policies to bring stability to war weary Iraqis..and show positive results to impatient, disappointed Americans.
Gen. Patraeus who wrote the book on counter-insurgency, will direct the mission to CLEAR and HOLD Baghdad..In order to achieve success, after the clearing the HOLDING has to be done by the US AND IRAQI troops. The US can not withdraw and rely on the Iraqi Military to do the job alone...the US must supervise and atleast 500 Americans will embed with the Iraqis in each enclave of the city to prevent the Insurgents from returning and making Baghdad unliveable all over again.
When stability is achieved, the Unity Government will be given 1 billion dollars from the US to implement services, build the economy, share OIL revenues, and start reconstruction that will provide jobs to thousands of unemployed Iraqi citizens.
President Bush also addressed the regional threats from Iran and Syria. He prepared for Iranian retaliation by sending an additional Naval battle carrier group to the Persian Gulf to protect the flow of OIL to the World and to counter a possible attack on Saudi Arabia's OIL infrastructure. Plus, the flow of reinforcements and weapons coming into Iraq from Iran and Syria will be curtailed.
Ofcourse there's a domestic political angle..but I'll leave that til tomorrow. In short, Democrats are defeatists to the end and a few wobbly Republicans, up for re-election in '08, are hedging their bets by opposing the President's efforts to Win in Iraq. Their disloyalty repulses me more than the predictable reaction from cut and run Democrats.