Johno at the Ministry of Minor Perfidy has what I consider to be a top-notch summary and commentary on Bush’s speech. Yeah, he credits the speech-writer with what he considered the best parts, but that same logic applies all the time to everyone so I’ll say no more. I encourage you to go read it. (Please note that this is quite unusual. Generally, when I direct you to the Ministry it’s to read a post by Buckethead.)
He points out my claim that what Bush said last night is the same thing he’s been saying all along, and disagrees. He and I certainly don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, and this is bound to be one of those issues. I’m willing to grant that the message has been tweaked and spun, and that the direction we’re sailing has been adjusted and modified as the situation has changed, but I don’t believe that the President’s plans for a significant Iraqi army or for providing the military with the troops or equipment it wants are “180 degree” changes of tack.
It’s obvious that using former high-level Iraqi military personnel wasn’t part of the original plan, but I honestly don’t think that it signals the end of the de-Ba’athification process.
And when did Bush indicate that the military wouldn’t get what it needed? Most of what I’ve heard indicates that the military commanders were happy with their force levels until the fighting in late March erupted. It was the military talking heads, for the most part, that railed on and on about manpower shortages in Iraq. Sure, there’s spin and bound to be pressure to make do, but I certainly wouldn’t call Bush’s words a major change in policy.
Still, even though I think he missed the mark about Bush’s change in plans, Johno’s right on the money in his analysis.