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January 10, 2007
Bush Speech Live Blog

I will live-blog the President's speech, which starts as 8 pm CT, at this link.

7:32 PM CT - I will appear on CHQR's The World Tonight with Rob Breakenridge at 8:40 pm CT. We'll be discussing the speech and its implications. CHQR broadcasts on 770 AM in Calgary, but CQ readers can listen to the station's Internet stream.

7:34 - The Anchoress sends a link to this Newsweek item showing a Democratic flip-flop on the surge. I agree with her that the Democrats seem to use the automatic-gainsay strategy with Bush about Iraq, but I do recall this article -- and it was remarkable because Silvestre Reyes came out so strongly opposed to the Democrats' policy of defeat and retreat. Has Reyes repudiated his support for the surge today? I haven't heard. Also, Sister Toldjah has more thoughts along these lines ...

7:45 - Drudge has the speech up on his site now.

7:50 - Wesley Clark was just on O'Reilly, and he showed why he flopped in the 2004 primaries. John Podhoretz caught it too, and he posted an excellent riposte at The Corner. O'Reilly has Dick Morris on the show in this segment, and Morris points out the obvious: Iran is not the Soviet Union, and mutually-assured destruction will not stop them from pressing forward with a new Holocaust in the Middle East. Clark seemed completely confused; on one hand, he was saying that we need to talk with Iran to get their cooperation, and in the next breath he talked about how he stuck a finger in Milosevic's chest and told him that the US would bomb him ... which is exactly what we did, with Clark at the helm. So why aren't we sticking our finger in Ahmadinejad's chest in the same manner?

7:59 - The coming surge? It's already landed, at least to start.

8:01 - Fox News cut over late, but the speech has already started. He's covering some of the successes first.

8:03 - "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility lies with me." Is that enough for Bush's critics? No way.

8:04 - A failure in Iraq would be a catastrophe. Bush outlines a few reasons why:

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.

8:05 - He's working up to the two key issues of the surge -- there weren't enough American troops to hold after clearing, and the rules of engagement were too restrictive. Bush says both of these will change in the new strategy.

8:07 - Why will this effort be different from earlier efforts? Nancy Pelosi asked that in her press conference today. Bush has an answer, which boils down to this: either we take on all of the militias, or we'll pack up and leave Maliki to their tender mercies. I guess Maliki chose Door #1.

8:11 - He's going to do the fruit-salad thing with the ISG. I guess James Baker will have to live with that. Bush is using the best of the ISG's recommendations and ignoring the rest. The Iraqi government has committed $10 billion in jobs programs and infrastructure work, which I noted was key to success.

8:12 - We're going to stay on the offense in Anbar; Bush says we're making headway against the terrorists there, so 4,000 Marines will expand the effort.

8: 14 - "We will expand intelligence sharing, and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies." Or to send a message to our enemies that their missile systems may do them little good.

8:16 - "They will make the year ahead bloody and violent." Well, that's what terrorists do, which is why we're fighting them now. They've been making the world bloody and violent for decades, and the vacillations and appeasement offered by the West during that time didn't convince them to stop.

8:19 - Bush challenged his opposition to explain in their criticisms how they will succeed in Iraq using a different strategy, couched in gracious terms. In effect, he's saying that failure and defeat should not be options, and he's right.

8:21 - A nice finish to the speech, and a journeyman effort in delivering it tonight. Will it change minds? I don't think it will have that much effect.

POST SPEECH ANALYSIS: Bush and his team spent quite a bit of time on the address. They included several elements to bridge political differences. His assumption of responsibility for the failure to quell the violence in Baghdad is the one element that had been missing until now, and it may help take the edge off of some of the criticism.

Durbin is speaking now, and he's making an impassioned address to give Iraq back to the Iraqis. He's doing a good job in delivering the speech, but he is avoiding the question of what happens when we leave. He argues on one hand that the Iraqis are in the middle of a "civil war", but then says that the Iraqis will suddenly unite to govern themselves when we leave. That implies that the only dispute in Iraq is the presence of American troops, a ludicrous suggestion.

8:33 - General Bob Scales on Fox says that Bush may have won a small window in which to achieve enough success to gain a slightly larger window. If Bush cannot show enough success early on, American patience will run out.

8:34 - John McCain is appearing with Chris Wallace, and he's saying that failure will be a catastrophe for the region. He thinks that this strategy will improve the situation. McCain also says that Maliki would be the key, and that while Maliki keeps saying the right things, up to now he hasn't done the right things. "The Maliki government will have to be very different than it is now."

8:41 - Waiting for my call from CHQR, but Fox is announcing that Defense Secretary Robert Gates will propose an expansion of the active-duty military.

8:44 - Going on the air in one minute -- just enough time to click on the link at the top of this post and listen in ...

8:57 - I had a great conversation with Rob Breakenridge. Hope you had a chance to listen!

9:27 - Family phone calls put an end to the live blog, but be sure to catch Jay Reding's.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 10, 2007 7:28 PM

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