Early on Thursday, January 11, 2007, National Review Online (NRO) posted a symposium of reactions to President Bush’s January 10th, 2007 address to the nation detailing changes of strategy in Iraq. Clark S. Judge, managing director of the White House Writers Group, was one of eight experts NRO invited to participate and whose responses it ran. NRO’s introduction and Mr. Judge’s symposium submission follow:
Listening to the president’s new Iraq plan.
An NRO Symposium
January 11, 2007
On Wednesday night, President George W. Bush addressed the nation about a new Iraq strategy. Did the president say what needed to be said? Will it help? National Review Online asked a group of experts and commentators.
Clark S. Judge
The president needed to show he was without illusions. His description of our past offensives and the counteroffensives against us — including that we’d posted insufficient troops to hold ground we’d taken — sounded candid and correct, at least to me.
He needed to lay out a plausible plan, one that included an element of surprise. The troop surge had been advertised. But disrupting infiltration across the Iranian and Syrian borders, loosening the rules of engagement, going after al Qaeda in Anbar province, and flooding absolutely every part of Baghdad with troops went beyond where the rumor mills had him and again, to me, sounded right.
The president must move fast. The speech has brought him time, but not much. The Democrats probably won’t dare block him, yet. But six months from now — even three — will be another story, unless our forces are producing results. He must ride his generals relentlessly. He can expect the media to report some early successes as failures. So he must keep pushing the pace of events, not allowing any one story to define the news for more than a day or two. Like Churchill, his watchwords must be, “Action this day.”
To see the full text of the symposium, please click here: