"W" focused on winning
Two points caught my eye. The most important person was focused on winning and understood what really strains military forces.
The chiefs had real grievances to air, and they didn't hold back. Schoomaker cited the stress on combat forces from repeated tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. That, Bush told me, was "the main thing I remember from that meeting. That was clearly a factor in some of the people around the table's thinking . . . if you sustain our level, much less increase the level, you could, Mr. President, strain the force, which is an important consideration."
Bush agreed that strain was a problem. Then he delivered a sharp rejoinder, touching on a theme he returned to in nearly every meeting on Iraq. "The biggest strain on the force would be a defeat in Iraq," he said.
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The 20-minute speech on January 10, 2007, was not Bush's most eloquent. And it wasn't greeted with applause. Democrats condemned the surge and Republicans were mostly silent. Polls showing strong public opposition to the war in Iraq were unaffected.
But the president, as best I could tell, wasn't looking for affirmation. He was focused solely on victory in Iraq.
We have the right man in the White House.