Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Presidential Speech

I watched intently a couple of days ago while President Bush spoke to, presumably, his press corps after meeting with top leaders of this nation’s Defense Department. Watching the speech in its entirety, I was initially moved to express to myself that this was one of his more decisive speeches in a while. Of course, initially, I had no one to discuss this with but myself. And, initially, I didn’t have the transcript of the speech in front of me. Now, I have both the transcript and this fancy little blog.

So let us dissect and discuss.

I’d rather not look at the speech chronologically, but discuss points as I remember them in my head. The ones most resounding, naturally, will come up first.

President Bush: The two questions you asked, one was about General Petraeus's report to -- around September about what's taking place in Baghdad. My attitude toward Congress is, why don't you wait and see what he says? Fund the troops, and let him come back and report to the American people.

In many different methods, the President touched on this same point repeatedly during his speech. And, as a former soldier, I couldn’t help but let out a fist-pump, “Way to Go, Mister President!”

As the President stated somewhere else in his speech, he genuinely saw that past strategy in Iraq was flawed. He approached Congress with a new strategy and, after certain bickering, it was implemented. And that’s it – it’s being implemented. Call me “na├»ve” but if the President truly believes that this new troop surge is going to work, then please give it an opportunity to work. Funding bills that don’t adequately and quickly supply troops on the ground throughout this new strategy will certainly hinder its effectiveness. But if we are all truly in this together, Republican and Democrat both, then we should all have a desired end result: victory, in whatever terms we dictate victory to be. To shortchange victory from occurring would be little more then political meandering and, for lack of a more descriptive phrase, a damn shame.

My fear is that the success of this troop surge may prove anti-beneficial to certain political figures, especially those on the Left. While I know enough to realize that the funding bill currently being debated doesn’t directly translate to a loss or gain of supplies on the ground immediately, I do recognize that continued partisan argument on such a bill could lower the morale of those, on the ground, implementing this new strategy. Again, give it a chance. And, more importantly, don’t allow political agendas to surpass what, again, should be everyone’s utmost agenda point: victory!

President Bush: And what happens with increased presence, there's increased confidence, and with increased confidence becomes increased information...

While this is, indeed, logically true, it brings up something that’s always on my mind concerning the strategy being deployed in this war. While I hope that this new strategy (the troop swell) does prove effective, I have lessons learned from my own experiences that lead me to believe that the above statement is only a half truth.

Increased forces only amount to a relatively small amount of increased intelligence. However, increased unconventional forces, such as our Army’s Special Forces really bring about immediate results in intelligence gathering. Our conventional military is only so well equipped for this sort of battle. If we utilized our Special Operation Forces (and, again, in particular the Army’s Special Forces who are trained ideally for this situation), we would see net intelligence gained multiplied almost innumerably. While I am not totally privy to the operational stance of this new strategy, I sincerely hope it includes a swell of these better-equipped warriors. If not, then I am still for any new method that may work… I just think that my particular method would have a much better chance of being successful.

President Bush: One message I have heard from people from both parties is that the idea of benchmarks makes sense.

Of course, benchmarks make sense. I have the feeling that the President is only alluding to the benchmarks in much the same way I see them: while they are beneficial towards developing strategy, they are not paramount to developing a troop funding bill.

You simply can not say that if Goal XYZ is not met by a certain date that we must remove a certain amount of troops. That is little more then idiotic military strategy. Instead, you establish benchmarks as a method of measuring success. When a benchmark is reached or a deadline is met without the benchmark being reached, then you re-assess and attempt a new method of gaining the same end result. While foresight is important, you simply can’t develop plans until seeing what ground situations dictate. That is to say that you can’t have premeditated strategy that is dictated by whether certain successes are met. These benchmarks are a barometer, but not “end-all-be-all” type of steps. And they certainly aren’t measurements that can be used to prematurely develop dates for troop withdrawal.

While there is much more to this speech that I would like to look at, all good things must come to an end. Life’s other calls beckon me, so I will be back to post again as soon as possible and as soon as developments or interest warrant additional posting.

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