Speech II

Okay, looked at the text. The main thing people are noting is that there’s nothing new here. Like every other “new” strategy for Iraq the president has unveiled (and I think this is the third) it isn’t actually new, it’s more of the same. That, however, isn’t quite true. Bush argues that in the past “there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have.” I think this is a quiet reference to complaints that have been bubbling for some time on the time that the rules of engagement on American forces are too restrictive. So, in short, we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing for. But we’ll have somewhat more troops doing it and they’ll be unleashing a somewhat larger level of violence. This last thing, if I’m correct, runs totally against the doctrine in General Petraeus’ counterinsurgency manual but it suits General Odierno’s tastes, the president’s tastes, and the views of conservative pundits, so why not go for it?

The other, and even more important, new thing is that Bush seems to be saying here that he intends to start one or two new wars:

Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

It’s hard to see how will do these things without launching military attacks on Iran or Syria. He goes on to talk about how he “ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region” and, of course, he put a Navy guy in charge of CENTCOM.