"Is the troop surge a last show of muscular resolve before Bush bows to political reality and reluctantly sets a timetable for withdrawal? Or will Bush's last-desperation gambit be a wider war that touches Iran and Syria?" -- That's exactly what I wondered after watching the rather pathetic address last night. Despite Bush's appearance as a withered husk of his brushcutting, ex-fratboy self, which if there is justice in this world just might show the weight of responsibility and guilt on his shoulders, the whole thing went over like a lead balloon. He didn't sound particularly convinced that these extra troops will accomplish even a short term goal, but he was back on his usual blustery horse with the vague threat against Iran: "We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. . . I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region." God help us all if they decide to light another fire to put out the first one.

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