I watched every moment of the speech, as I wanted to make sure I got everything in. Let me just say this outright: I'm really digging Bush's plan. Contrary to some views, it really is a departure from previous approaches. The idea it seems is to help the Iraqis secure Baghdad and Anbar, and with our increased support, turn them loose on the Mahdi Army, the death squads, and those making trouble in Iraq. It really does sound like a plan that could work. I pray to God it does.
There has been a lot of talk about Bush's admitting of mistakes in Iraq. It's good that he did that, for the obvious reasons. One of my main criticisms of Bush in general was his inability to admit error, and change course. The course should be towards victory, however, and not defeat.
As we all know, there has been a lot of criticism of this plan, even before it was announced. A lot of it has been legitimate. Many of the generals and experts don't think it will work. There are real questions about the specifcs that are legitimate. The Democrats, for all intents and purposes, opposes the surge (well, they do now). The Dems basically argue that sending twenty thousand more troops isn't enough, and that political solutions are needed, as opposed to an escalation. In other words, start planning for a phased withdrawal. I've never doubted the sincerity of those who hold this view, but their view is wrong.
The word on the street is that Dems will either put up a non-binding resolution opposing the surge, or even try to block funds for the surge. I really don't need to explain why the second option is bad, do I? The Dems really are in a bind: They can't cut the funds, but they cannot block the surge. As much as they might want to, the decision is entirely up the commander-in-chief, as it should be. I hope to God they won't try to cut funding, but this half-assed dance doesn't help either.
At the end of the day, IMO, they won't cut funds. Any attempt to block the surge will fail, and either the Dems will support because they're forced to, or oppose it, yet remain powerless politically. Who knows. Despite all, I have faith in the good judgment of the clear-headed leadership. Joe Lieberman can't be the only one who gets it.