I didn't hear Bush's speech, but did get a chance to read it. He touched on just about all the points of debate and seemed to answer a lot of questions. It was designed to raise morale, which was needed. I hope it works.
Particularly interesting was his synopsis of the enemy, which he divided into three groups. The first group he called Sunni "rejectionists" and the third the "foreign fighters". As has been the strategy from early on, he put a face and a name to the al-Qaida presence by demonizing al-Zarqawi.
The second group he called the "Saddamists". Here's how he described them:
The second group that makes up the enemy in Iraq is smaller, but more determined. It contains former regime loyalists who held positions of power under Saddam Hussein -- people who still harbor dreams of returning to power. These hard-core Saddamists are trying to foment anti-democratic sentiment amongst the larger Sunni community. They lack popular support and therefore cannot stop Iraq's democratic progress. And over time, they can be marginalized and defeated by the Iraqi people and the security forces of a free Iraq.
He placed no face or name to this group. No mention of al-Douri. Matter of fact, the mere mention of any Saddam component to the insurgency is relatively new-- previous characterizations have usually focused on al-Qaida. Why is this important? Keep in mind that by all accounts, Saddam allowed Zarqawi into the country before the invasion (he had already been accused of killing our envoy Laurence Foley). Likewise, by all accounts Saddam had placed his barbaric lieutenant Izzat al-Douri into the position as commander of the insurgency. Ergo, al-Douri would become Zarqawi's handler.
Following that logic, it would appear the black hat belongs on al-Douri. Bush's speech left vague the question of who's really in command, perhaps on purpose. Average Iraqis are probably better served thinking foreign fighters are causing the most trouble, as are Americans.
But if the worse case happens and the insurgency triumphs in expelling our forces, what might transpire? Would al-Douri's "Saddamists" continue to insist they had been converted and engage in a group hug with Zarqawi's mujahadeen, all praising Allah for the great victory over the infidels? Perhaps for a short while, but the better odds favor al-Douri dispatching his useful idiots posthaste, followed by a new and improved Ba'ath party.
The end game is no more clear than before. The only clear thing is the need for victory.
Although Bush's speech was meant to look forward not back, it really told us nothing new (other than the feeble attempt to recognize Saddam's operational henchmen as part of the insurgency). It's doubtful there was enough stirring content to evoke the necesary surge of patriotism needed to radically change the minds of the 60 percent of Americans who think Iraq was a big mistake. Perhaps the only way Bush might win back the mob would be to announce we've found the WMD smoking gun.
This Newsmax story details an interview between former NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw and former weapons inspector David Kay regarding stacks of regime documents recovered after we liberated Baghdad, which had Kay convinced beyond all doubt. Don't trust Newsmax? Try the original source, NBC News. Wha? The story is no longer available? Imagine.
Fortunately it's been kept alive by Freepers.
When you add this interview to the recent story by Stephen Hayes about those very same documents, which now sit in a DoD warehouse in Qatar, it becomes really interesting. One has to wonder--if a respected former UNSCOM weapons inspector was so convinced by what he saw, what happened?
Imagine the swell of support Bush could grab if conclusive WMD proof appeared. Just imagine. The Dems' Bush-lied house of cards would come tumbling down hard, dealing their party a serious future blow. They'd be seen as a sack of unpatriotic quitters not willing to protect America (say, Hillary has refused to walk out on that anti-war limb, maybe she knows something). It would also give the military an unparalleled gush of pride and fight, and turn around Bush's poll numbers overnight. So. what's holding everything back?
As Newsmax suggests, only two choices seem to be possible, 1) he had em and moved em, or 2) he had people working round the clock to forge documents. Only number one makes any sense, although with Saddam it's hard to tell. I'd add a third choice--he had em, he moved em, we know it, but can't do anything about it because we're being blackmailed.