It was truly weird to see him march onto the stage of an obviously prepared event and not have wild cheers from his partisans.
Could someone explain to me how Iraq isn't in a civil war but is at war with insurgents?
The President listed "three new steps" that the US would be taking:
To further prepare Iraqi forces to fight the enemy on their own, we are taking three new steps:
First, we are partnering Coalition units with Iraqi units. These Coalition-Iraqi teams are conducting operations together in the field. These combined operations are giving Iraqis a chance to experience how the most professional armed forces in the world operate in combat.
Second, we are embedding Coalition "Transition Teams" inside Iraqi units. These teams are made up of Coalition officers and non-commissioned officers who live, work, and fight together with their Iraqi comrades. Under U.S. command, they are providing battlefield advice and assistance to Iraqi forces during combat operations. Between battles, they are assisting the Iraqis with important skills - such as urban combat, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance techniques.
Third, we are working with the Iraqi Ministries of Interior and Defense to improve their capabilities to coordinate anti-terrorist operations.
I thought for sure that we were already doing the first two. And, frankly, if we weren't already doing the third, why the hell weren't we?
Oh, and speaking of Iraqi forces:
Today Iraq has more than 160,000 security forces trained and equipped for a variety of missions.Yet, a few paragraphs later:
Today Iraqi Security Forces are at different levels of readiness. Some are capable of taking on the terrorists and insurgents by themselves. A larger number can plan and execute anti-terrorist operations with Coalition support. The rest are forming and not yet ready to participate fully in security operations.Too bad he wouldn't mention how many of these "160,000" are "capable of taking on the terrorists and insurgents by themselves", so that perhaps we the people might get a clue as to how much progress is being made?
That penultimate paragraph - with the one sentence "And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces." - boy, there's a rousing call, sure to cure the recruiting shortfalls, eh?
"Only" five mentions of September 11 in thirty minutes.
All in all - I can't imagine that he changed many minds, on any side of the political spectrum. He certainly did nothing to change mine.