I wasn’t surprised by the president’s latest speech. After the ISG report came out, it was clearly evident that the administration didn’t want to implement any of the ISG group’s recommendations.
The idea of increasing the amount of troops by 20k at this point in the war is simply useless, as long as the political situation on the ground remains the same. The whole premise of the escalation strategy is based on an Iraqi government that wants to remove all death squads and militias.
Well the current Iraqi government is dominated by Shiites. The Shite dominated government may be interested in taking out the Sunni militias, but the Shite militias and death squads will go untouched. We are still talking about training and building up the Iraqi army, but on the ground the army and police forces are perceived as an extension of Shite power.
Bottom line, any military escalation would need to have an even greater political reformation. This plan is doomed to fail, and I think Bush even realizes this to some extent. The escalation is really just a way of passing the withdrawal and defeat to the next president.
If the president seriously wants to change the dire situation in Iraq, he should implement the initiatives in the ISG report.