I predicted some time ago that Obama would weigh the political implications and then give McCrystal what he asked for. It looks like I was only 75% right.
Update: I just read that the number is now 35,000 so my accuracty has improved to 85%.
What the caveat laden speech illustrated however is how hard it is to split the baby when you actually have to lead. I don't think I can recall any prior president saying we cant let a war go on too long because we have other programs that need attention. War is not a government program.
On a lighter note:
I was only half paying attention to the speech as it aired live on Tuesday night with the drone of I,I,I and "Bush made me do it" barely registering in the background. We have heard it all before.
Obama then got to the part as he does in every speech where he feels the need to inspire. On the campaign trail this is usually accompanied with a change in pitch and cadence that signals to the crowd that they have gotten to the juicy part. The part where you pour out your adoration and excitement.
It would be inappropriate of course to soar the rhetoric in a speech of such seriousness. So he blathered on about the efforts of great Americans blah blah blah. Then he hit a line that literally jerked my head toward the set. I reached for the rewind button to find that without credit to the author Obama stole a line from the greatest presidential speech ever given by arguably the greatest wartime president that ever lived. Do they allow plagiarism at Haaaverd?