(I am participating in a round table discussion on the president’s speech for 411mania.com’s politics page. This is my submission)

1). What did you think of the speech?

I thought it was a fine speech. He seemed to make sense, his speech had substance that is to say a plan with benchmarks and a trigger for departure. Frankly, my wife said it best when she, who is a dyed in wool Democrat and no fan of this man, said “He had me at ‘It’s my fault.'” I’m sure that will be tomorrow’s headline and somewhere in LA Bill Maher is running around without his pants on.

2). What did you like or dislike about it?

I liked that the request for a troop increase has a stated purpose and will be working with the Iraqi troops. I like even more that they will finally be allowed to do their job instead of allowing Muqtadr Al Sadr to hide in a Mosque ostensibly making our forces look like chumps. If Malaki keeps his word and allows the Iraqi army as well as the US troops to kill the enemy and damn political correctness, we may actually see the desired outcome of a self-sufficient Iraq.

I also liked that he was honest about this not being a total cure for Iraq’s violence issues. He has properly and effectively addressed the babies and the idiots who if he had not specifically said that the violence will not be totally quelled, would have eventually cried that this plan didn’t work because somebody set off another IED. I think Bush made it pretty clear that this plan is about allowing the Iraq Central Government to firmly establish control of the capital and not about solving centuries of sectarian violence.

My one major gripe is that he did not effectively address the Iran issue. However, not only am I used to that but I think Dick Morris said it best on O’Reilly right before the speech that he cannot talk about Iran right now to the American public. He’ll only confuse people. Sad but true.

3). Do you think that the changes suggested by President Bush will work in either or both the short and long term?

Again, if Malaki and the Generals allow the troops to kill the enemy whereever they may be, even in a Mosque, then yes, I think this is a good plan. In addition, if Malaki does not step up and do right be his people, he knows that this is the last dance before America just gives Iraq over to Iran, effectively becoming, Kurdistan and Greater Iran. The realist in me thinks that the Iraqi’s will live up to the reputation of their brethren in the Middle East and foul this up to a fare-thee-well but as a mandated reporter and a social worker I gotta have faith, as the song says.

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