Speaking on NPR after Bush's speech, Jessica Tuchman Mathews of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace summed his proposed new plan up nicely:
Stay the course plus 20,000.As she pointed out -- and as Dan Froomkin said earlier on washingtonpost.com -- Bush didn't provide the promised change in strategy. He simply set out a few changes in tactics and increased the number of troops on the ground.
It's not enough of a change to do anything, except cost a lot more lives.
Bush reiterated over and over that "failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the U.S." The problem is, we already failed in Iraq. And minor efforts to pick up the pieces aren't going to fix that.
And in yet another insult to our intelligence, he even managed to mention September 11 -- he's still trying to use that excuse to justify his actions.
He claimed his military advisors think his plans will work -- which contradicts the article in this morning's Washington Post, which said that most of the military advised against the troop increase. Maybe it's just me, but I tend to believe The Post on this one.
Bush said a couple of things that convinced me he still lives in a fantasy world. He kept talking about the freedom-loving people of Iraq and how we were going to leave a democracy there, when what we have really given the Iraqis is chaos and civil war.
And then he said if Iraqis don't step up and take charge, this effort will lose the support of the American people.
Mr. Bush, apparently you haven't been paying attention. You've already lost the support of the American people.
He did make one truthful comment: "The responsibility belongs to me." Yes, it does. But the suffering belongs to us all.