Custom Search

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The President Has Spoken

A serious speech and it needed to be serious. A well thought out speech and plan with some key changes involved in America's approach to the problems facing the Iraqi's and the US military in Iraq.

I linked to the fact sheet which high lights the key points and differences in this plan from the others in the last few years, feel free to click the link as I go through them.

Mistakes have been made and the President has taken full responsibility for those mistakes and I can see why the unveiling of this new plan, despite the many leaks, has taken as long as it has.

The reactions from the Democrats were prewritten, preplanned and no big surprise. These days we all pretty well understand that it can be pouring down raining, the president can say it is raining and the Democrats will insist it is "not really rain" and if it is raining, it is the presidents fault. So, no big surprises there.

But in 2006, the opposite happened. The violence in Iraq – particularly in Baghdad – overwhelmed the political gains the Iraqis had made. Al Qaeda terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq’s elections posed for their cause. And they responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis. They blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam – the Golden Mosque of Samarra – in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq’s Shia population to retaliate. Their strategy worked. Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran, formed death squads. And the result was a vicious cycle of sectarian violence that continues today.

The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people – and it is unacceptable to me. Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.

Yes, mistakes have been made and as commander in chief he is accepting full responsibility for them. He has also addressed what those mistakes were and how this new way forward will be different, what changes to the strategy would be and how they will be implemented (Including gated communities), along with making it clear what they consequences of failure would be.

The ramifications of failure is about the only thing that all seem to agree on.

It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq. So my national security team, military commanders, and diplomats conducted a comprehensive review. We consulted Members of Congress from both parties, allies abroad, and distinguished outside experts. We benefited from the thoughtful recommendations of the Iraq Study Group – a bipartisan panel led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton. In our discussions, we all agreed that there is no magic formula for success in Iraq. And one message came through loud and clear: Failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States.

The consequences of failure are clear: Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our enemies would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people. On September the 11th, 2001, we saw what a refuge for extremists on the other side of the world could bring to the streets of our own cities. For the safety of our people, America must succeed in Iraq.

Security....this is one issue I have time and again said MUST be in the forefront in order for any political solutions to be attempted. If the leaders do not have security and live under threat, they cannot make the political decisions needed to succeed.

Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have. Our military commanders reviewed the new Iraqi plan to ensure that it addressed these mistakes. They report that it does. They also report that this plan can work.

As I said in a previous post, there are too many cooks in the kitchen and our troops and commanders had too many hoops to jump through to be allowed to take out a militia or threat... NO MORE.

As well as security, another main issue has been Iraq itself getting their ducks in order, which the president details how that will change, as well as Maliki announcing a change in the handling of militias, all militias, in addition to our confronting certain elements in Iraq that are doing their best to continue creating chaos. (Iran)

A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.

To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq’s provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend 10 billion dollars of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation’s political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws – and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq’s constitution.

In another part of the speech, more on Maliki:

Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Here are the differences: In earlier operations, Iraqi and American forces cleared many neighborhoods of terrorists and insurgents – but when our forces moved on to other targets, the killers returned. This time, we will have the force levels we need to hold the areas that have been cleared. In earlier operations, political and sectarian interference prevented Iraqi and American forces from going into neighborhoods that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence. This time, Iraqi and American forces will have a green light to enter these neighborhoods – and Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated.

To this end, we have Maliki's words, to be followed up by action:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Saturday that Iraq's armed forces are set for an assault on Baghdad to take out militias and rogue security forces.

Aided by multinational troops, the Iraqi forces "will hunt down all outlaws regardless of their sectarian and political affiliations," al-Maliki said at an Iraqi Army Day parade.

"We will also severely punish those [security forces] who do not carry out orders or operate in a partisan or sectarian way," he said.

A strong show from al-Maliki to Mahdi Army via CBC News:

Iraq's prime minister has told Mahdi Army militiamen they must surrender their arms or face an all-out assault by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, senior Iraqi officials said Wednesday, revealing a pledge Washington wanted to hear as American and Iraqi troops prepared a fresh operation to end the bloody sectarian war gripping Baghdad.

The blunt message was particularly significant given that Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi leader, previously had blocked several U.S. attempts to crack down on the military wing of radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, now one of the most powerful players in Iraq.

"Prime Minister al-Maliki has told everyone that there will be no escape from attack. The government has told the Sadrists (the political movement that supports the Mahdi Army), if we want to build a state we have no other choice but to attack armed groups," a senior Shiite legislator and close al-Maliki adviser said.

As I stated in previous posts, we cannot be hindered by the "politics" in dealing with security. The politicians have their job, our soldiers have a different one and the two should not be interchanged by allowing a political affiliation to hinder the military securing any area.

A good lesson for OUR politicians here to learn.

According to BBC, we have also stormed the Iranian consulate in Iraq:

US forces have stormed an Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil and seized six members of staff.

The troops raided the building at about 0300 (0001GMT), taking away computers and papers, according to Kurdish media and senior local officials.

The US military would only confirm the detention of six people around Irbil.

It seems that the President also made sure that our ducks were in a row before giving his speech, making sure that the key elements of the changes were already being implemented.

A little nudge to Iran, as we raided their consulate to make it clear that the President was not just making a speech, but was implementing the elements of that speech as it was being made.....Iran has been served notice. Continue to interfere in Iraq and we will stop you. Period.

As we make these changes, we will continue to pursue al Qaeda and foreign fighters. Al Qaeda is still active in Iraq. Its home base is Anbar Province. Al Qaeda has helped make Anbar the most violent area of Iraq outside the capital. A captured al Qaeda document describes the terrorists’ plan to infiltrate and seize control of the province. This would bring al Qaeda closer to its goals of taking down Iraq’s democracy, building a radical Islamic empire, and launching new attacks on the United States at home and abroad.

Our military forces in Anbar are killing and capturing al Qaeda leaders – and protecting the local population. Recently, local tribal leaders have begun to show their willingness to take on al Qaeda. As a result, our commanders believe we have an opportunity to deal a serious blow to the terrorists. So I have given orders to increase American forces in Anbar Province by 4,000 troops. These troops will work with Iraqi and tribal forces to step up the pressure on the terrorists. America’s men and women in uniform took away al Qaeda’s safe haven in Afghanistan – and we will not allow them to re-establish it in Iraq.

No matter what happens on the ground in Iraq, I am glad the President is not taking his eye off al-Qaeda or what a failed Iraq would mean to al-Qaeda and the danger a failure in Iraq would pose to us here in the united States.

Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity – and stabilizing the region in the face of the 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.

We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence sharing – and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region.
Ahmadinejad, You have just been put on notice. Cease hostile actions that are killing American and Iraqi soldiers in Iraq, or suffer the consequences. About DAMN time.

As I said, the reactions are about what I expected to see, although the Democrat from Georgia, Jim Marshall, impressed me by breaking with the standard "party line": Via MSNBC.

WASHINGTON - President Bush and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi both need Jim Marshall.

He’s a House Democrat who represents the kind of Republican-leaning district in the South — in Macon, Ga., and its environs — that Pelosi must keep in order to hold onto her majority in the House.

And Bush needs the support of Marshall and Democrats like him to give his Iraq policy a chance of success.


After watching President Bush’s speech Wednesday night in his office on Capitol Hill, Marshall told me, “The most significant thing is that this is an Iraqi plan. If you think about it, what has the government of Iraq tried to do or suggested doing anything as significant as this, with Iraqis attempting to take the lead? This is a big deal.”

“There’s going to have to be one heck of a great speech by Maliki to the Iraqis — because this is Maliki’s plan,” he said, referring to the prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki. “And that’s wonderful, frankly, that this is an Iraq plan to secure Iraq.”

But he said, “This is a plausible thing to try.”

Marshall did not see the speech in the apocalyptic terms that some pundits did: “People need to be thinking about this not as some sort of last stand or next-to-the-last stand, but as a reasonable thing for America to do in order to support the Iraqis.”

Marshall’s reaction was sharply at odds with that of many Democrats such as Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, who said, “I believe we need to bring our troops home, not send more troops to war."

The end paragraph of Marshall's interview is very telling:

Despite all the disappointments and blunders, Marshall said Monday he thinks that “the vast majority of members of Congress agree that it is in our national interest to be successful” in Iraq.

Good for Marshall again, he states what the other Democrats have been trying to avoid with their rhetoric, failure is NOT something we should run toward and we should try everything possible to succeed.

That is the bottom line. The majority of the left and the Democrats will complain and take symbolic votes on non binding resolutions, but no one disagrees that it is in OUR NATIONAL INTEREST to be successful. Ideas to help achieve that are welcome, cut and run or ideas that will only bring about more failure are not. It is that simple. Help, think, plan and strategize or get out of the way because the President has spoken and he has no intention of tucking our tail between our legs and running for the hills.

One very significant thing I noticed about the Presidents speech that made it far different than the other speeches he has made about Iraq. Instead of telling the American public what they wanted to hear, he was brutally honest and made it abundantly clear that the enemy would do everything in their power to see to it that devastating images would be shown on our televisions.

He stated what many of us have said often:

This new strategy will not yield an immediate end to suicide bombings, assassinations, or IED attacks. Our enemies in Iraq will make every effort to ensure that our television screens are filled with images of death and suffering.........

He understands that the enemy with quite a bit of help from our MSM does everything in their power to manipulate the American has worked to date which is why I am glad the President faced that head on and warned the American public.

After the President made his speech, Dick Durbin came out with his prewritten "reaction" and I am glad he did, because after reading through a few blog reactions, it seems he has actually brought things into focus for some people and contrary to what he was trying to do, actually made a few people ask themselves if they were prepared to accept a loss in Iraq before trying everything to achieve success.

An example of what I mean came from The Moderate Voice, who is no fan of our actions in Iraq, yet with a basic fairness and a level enough head on her shoulders to understand what failure would mean to the US and our national security:

After Bush’s “surge” speech last night, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin gave the Democrats’ response, and hearing them back-to-back gave me — for the first time in many weeks– some clarity about Iraq. This new view stemmed from the most basic of suppositions — that escalation is not what the Americans voted for; this is not what we want.

That’s true… but I don’t think Americans want the outcome of withdrawal, either, and that was the basis of my post late last night. As often happens, though, sleep gave my thoughts time to fall more fully into place, and this morning I found myself questioning this assumption of what it is we do want… or at least, what I want.


Dick Durbin tells us that Americans want out, and he knows this because the Democrats won the majority in Congress in November. The Democrats, of course, have yet another foreign policy approach, and it includes redeployment out of Iraq, in spite of indications that the most likely outcome will be genocide and/or war across the entire region.

I don’t want that, either.

I opposed the election of George Bush because I vehemently disagreed with his administration’s foreign policy; I still do. Furthermore, I objected to this war from the get-go — but we cannot unspill milk, unbreak eggs, or roll back time.

I don’t know if this proposed “surge” will turn the tide in Iraq, but I am terrified of the likely alternative if we pull out. The resultant slaughter of innocents would be far worse than anything we’ve seen there thus far.

Thus — for the first time since this entire nightmare began, Polimom supports Bush’s proposal. I do so reluctantly, and with very deep reservations. It’s not because I think his ideas are good, but because the likely outcome of the proposed alternative is worse.

Given the alternatives, I think we have to continue to try in Iraq, even though none of this is what I, as an American, “want”.

Durbin and his ilk have forgotten that we are a proud country, Americans are sick and tired of seeing death and destruction and hearing about our military casualties, but America is also strong and when faced with an unveiled desire to quit and run and the hell with the innocents that will die, Americans will dig deep in their hearts and refuse to hand over innocent men, women and children to a fate of mass murder and genocide.

The President has spoken and he did not pull any punches..... I, for one, think if this new way forward includes all the changes listed, has a good chance to work.

Right Truth has the world reaction the president sending more troops to Iraq, a must read.

Michelle Malkin and Bryan of Hot Air are reporting live from Iraq.

More on this later,either as an update or a followup post.....stay tuned.

Others discussing this:

Just a few reactions from across the web:
Sister Todjah, Don Surber, Right Wing News, TigerHawk, Pitt Bull, A Blog for All, Blue Crab Boulevard, WizBang, Tammy Bruce, Gateway Pundit, Strata-Sphere, Faultline USA, Right Wing Guy, Stop the ACLU.

Tracked back by:
World reaction to President sending more troops to Iraq from Right Truth...
Mr.President Unleash Our Troops from Rightwing Guy...