There was no "top gun" flight suit this time. No Mission Accomplished banner. No strut. Just an American president, a bit pale, almost pleading with the American people to give him one more chance in a war that has gone on much longer, at much greater cost and with much less success, than surely he ever really imagined.
Situation in Iraq: unacceptable to the American people and, said President Bush, "unacceptable to me." Failure would be a disaster, he said, but his demeanor and new plan itself acknowledged that failure has now come close.
The polls say get out. The president's still going in.
This hour On Point: reaction from Iraq, Washington and you, as President Bush orders more US troops to Baghdad.
Quotes from the Show:
"I don't think this is [the last shot on Iraq for President Bush] both because of the nature and the inclination of the President. He's invested so much into the war, so much of himself and so much of the nation, that I think it's exceptionally hard for him to revisit his initial judgment. It's very easy because of the hype to look at this as all or nothing gamble." Richard Wolffe
"Obviously, in Iraq, like anything else, reaction is mixed. The Sunni politicians are particularly concerned about ... the fact that Iraqi troops will be asked to lead.... The concern among them [Sunnis] is that many of them feel that Iraqi troops are Shiite-dominated, which in fact they are, and they're concerned that this will lead to more attacks against the Sunnis in Baghdad, driving more of them out westward. The Shiites of course are also concerned. Many political aides of Prime Minister Al Maliki that we've spoken with are a little weary of having several thousand more American troops here. There's a deep mistrust of US intentions here. They're concerned that somehow this may lead to a lessening of their power." Sudarsan Raghavan
"In the last two months, he [Bush] replaced the Secretary of Defense, which was the right thing to do, he replaced the commanders on the ground, admirable and patriotic men, but who were not pursuing the winning strategy, he's put the best people I gather in the US military in to try to make this work ... We should give it a chance to work unless people think it's helpless. If people think it's impossible, then I guess we need to get out, and people need to explain how that happens. Otherwise, we need to try to make it work." William Kristol
"[Bush's new plan is] too little too late, and it provides the wrong incentives for the Iraqis. Because what the President said to the Iraqis last night, is 'if you don't have unlimited time to do all of these things, you're gonna wear out the patience of the American people' but he didn't then say 'if you don't, this is what we're going to do'." Lawrence Korb
Richard Wolffe, White House correspondent for Newsweek
Sudarsan Raghavan, Baghdad Bureau Chief for the Washington Post.;
William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard;
Lawrence Korb, senior fellow at The Center for American Progress, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Ronald Reagan
Dr. Mahmoud Osmane, Iraqi member of Parliment
Dr. Kalev Sepp, retired Lt. Colonel Special Forces, professor at the U.S. Naval Post-Graduate School
This program aired on January 11, 2007.