First reaction to Bush's speechBush (sort-of) defines victory in Iraq. I think the best we'll get is a partial one.
I was listening for a fundamental change in strategy but didn't hear him describe one. So, the best we get is a slightly modified "stay the course". What he was describing had some merit but it wasn't a course change.
The war has gone on long enough that I think we know that course: a version of Iran. The main question is whether Iraq will split or stay whole in the process.
I was particularly interested in Bush's definition of "victory" since that has been one of the more vexing parts of his war rhetoric.
>> Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship.
OK. I agree, the world has changed ... but how will we even know when it's happened? How will we know when to bring our soldiers home?
>> But victory in Iraq will bring something new in the Arab world -- a functioning democracy that polices its territory, upholds the rule of law, respects fundamental human liberties, and answers to its people.
Something new? Not likely! Something modified is more like it -- a modified version of Iran.
The first-three goals will probably be reached: a (limited) democracy, a police force and rule of law (with morals police!) . Iran has those things.
The last two will very likely not happen: respects fundamental human liberties and answers to its people.
>> A democratic Iraq will not be perfect. But it will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them -- and it will help bring a future of peace and security for our children and our grandchildren.
Again, not likely. Iran does fights terrorism -- if they are Sunni.
Will Iran having another major national ally make children feel safer or more threatened?
So, the best we can hope for is a mixed bag. Is that enough of a victory to justify the thousands of deaths and hundreds of billions of dollars we're spending on this war?
The whole speech transcript is here