Here, via NRO, is the text of the president’s speech to the American people about Iraq. The speech distilled the points Bush has been making in other speeches over the past few weeks. They are good points, and with this speech he presents them to a larger audience. It’s unfortunate that Bush hasn’t been making speeches like this periodically since the last election.
Beyond the substance of the speech, Bush struck the right tone. He expressed respect for those who oppose the war, admitted to some mistakes, and conveyed how wrenching it is to be a war president and how determined he is to win the war. Bush also put the focus where it should be — on where we go from here. He has a coherent answer; the Democrats don’t.
Glenn Reynolds argues that Bush was up-front about his responsibility for the war because he thinks we’re winning and wants credit. Bush almost certainly does think that things are going our way and that we will win if we persevere. But I think the tone of the speech was less about positioning himself to take credit than about conveying his sincerity and good faith in order to persuade Americans to stick with him on the war so that we do win it. I trust that the personal qualities Bush displayed in the speech play better with most Americans than those his crtics generally display.