David Ignatius of WaPo today offers what is in our SWNIDish experience the best short piece to read before the President's speech tonight. Ignatius bothered to read the Army's counterinsurgency manual, written by General David Petraeus, who now commands US forces in Iraq. And to our benefit, he offers a precis.
In sum, Petraeus's manual presses the idea that gaining the confidence of the general population is crucial, and that doing this requires more responsibility be taken by the Iraqis. Over the long term, that will mean accepting a certain level of messiness in what happens.
It will also require political commitment and patience in the United States, something not much in evidence for the last generation or two.