The president’s speech yesterday was, to my mind, a massive improvement on the phony pep-rallies he has deployed in the past. Someone in the White House has finally realized that a war needs to be explained to the people paying for it, that details are important, strategy can be laid out in specifics, that errors can be conceded as a matter of strength, not weakness. Of course, it would have been better if the president had been giving similar and more candid speeches like this on a monthly basis for the last three years. But better late than never. It’s also encouraging for the troops, who prefer being told the truth rather than fed a bunch of politicized hooey. Still, our position is on the edge of a knife. I’m by no means confident that our war goals can be achieved before American patience runs out. But I do feel our current strategy is about as good as we can get; I do have confdence in General Casey (if not Rumsfeld); in Rice (if not Cheney); and in Khalilzad. The Iraqi people – the long-suffering, triply betrayed Iraqi people – deserve our resilience in this. We should put our feelings about this president to one side and consider the national interest, and our remaining moral responsibility for the almighty but still-promising mess we have created.


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