Bush’s speech on troop levels

This evening, President Bush gave a speech about his new strategy in Iraq (link goes to the full text). This strategy basically seems to involve sending in 20,000 more troops and doing the same thing they’ve been doing all along. I seriously doubt this is a viable strategy, particularly when a significant part of the “extra” troops will come from simply extending the tours of the soldiers who are currently over there. Anderson Cooper had some interesting analysis, however: pulling out of Iraq would cause the country to break out into a Sunni/Shia civil war, rather than falling back into a state similar to what Saddam’s reign was like. Perhaps the US is actually doing a fair amount to help by keeping this war from bubbling to the surface. Perhaps it would be best to keep our noses out of their business, and let them fight their own wars without our intervention. Either way, it was a point of view I hadn’t heard before.

However, the thing that struck me most about the speech was that it didn’t end in “God bless America.” This is the first speech of his that I have heard that didn’t end that way (for instance, every State of the Union address he has given as well as his inaugural address ended with that or a similar phrase). Instead he hoped that the “Author of Liberty” would “guide us,” which is at least slightly less Christian. Perhaps he has realized that bringing fundamental Christianity into politics, particularly when he’s talking about a Muslim civil war, is a bad idea? Here’s hoping!

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