Before I state why I was underwhelmed, let me offer my congratulations and thanks to the Corps of Cadets for acquitting themselves marvelously. There were more than polite to their commander-in-chief, a man I understand isn't extremely popular at West Point.
Now, my bullet-point issues with the President's speech:
--The word victory wasn't used once. When you're addressing soldiers, especially when the subject is war, mention winning.
--The President doesn't have a firm grasp of history, especially regarding the Vietnam war. It was not a "popular uprising" by any stretch.
--The President's policy of turning the fight over to the Afghanis, while important, reeks of "vietnamization". We cut off support to the South Vietnamese too soon, and the results speak for themselves. Two words: reeducation camps.
--Timetables don't win wars. Overwhelming force wins wars.
--Based on this president's timetable, General McCrystal has about a year to win the war. I wonder if the "tolly-bahn" will have anything to say about that?
--Can you quit with the digs at your predecessor already?
--You can try to rewrite history, Mr. President, but that doesn't make it so.
--Last spring the president said, "I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future." If that's the case, why did it take him 3 months to act on his hand-picked general's recommendations? And to say that his 3 month wait didn't have any impact was disingenuous at best.
--"Years of debate over Iraq and terrorism have left our unity on national security issues in tatters, and created a highly polarized and partisan backdrop for this effort." And who is responsible for that? (Hint: it wasn't President Bush.)
--He came across as angry, or at least sternly lecturing.
What wasn't so bad:
--It seems he's begrudgingly come around to the realization that the Surge in Iraq worked, and that Iraq is now a stable country. What was it he said in July 2007? "Here's what we know. The Surge has not worked."
--He laid out a "why we fight" argument.
--He's providing the troops.
I guess we'll see what happens.