Full text is here. I liked it. (I'll pause while you gasp.... done? Ok.) Was it perfect, no. He could have been more at ease. (Though for a serious speech like this I wouldn't want him too at ease.) I kind of wonder whether the speech might not have achieved its purpose better had it been from the Oval Office and spoken straight to the camera rather to the audience. All things considered though he got his point across quite well.
The less important points. Sovereignty by 7/30, elections by the end of '05. Sovereign leaders should be announced in the next week. Abu-Ghraib to be razed, with the new government's permission. (Yeah, like they're going to want to keep it around...) Won't decrease troop levels. Willing to increase troop levels if needed.
The most important part of the speech though is the plan for extinguishing the opposition. This isn't a fight that will be won by American generals sending American troops into Iraqi neighborhoods. This isn't a fight that will be won by American generals sending Iraqi troops into Iraqi neighborhoods. This is a fight that will be won by Iraqi generals sending Iraqi troops into Iraqi neighborhoods. This is a fight that will be won by helping the Iraqi government secure the country.
This is not a situation to be quelled with more troops, it's not to be avoided with less troops. It is a situation that will be solved by THEIR troops, and THEIR leaders, and THEIR people. We will help however we can, but it is imperative that Iraqi people know that they are fighting for themselves, not for the United States of America.
Iraqis will know that when they build a school or repair a bridge, they're not working for the Coalition Provisional Authority, they are working for themselves. And when they patrol the streets of Baghdad, or engage radical militias, they will be fighting for their own country.
Working as allies, we will defend Iraq and defeat these enemies.
America will provide forces and support necessary for achieving these goals.
That is the important aspect of this speech. The defeat of the Baathists and terrorists in Iraq cannot be accomplished by an occupying force. It can be, must be, and will be accomplished by the Iraqi people themselves. We will supply them with everything we can to ensure they are able to defeat the enemy but in the end it will be the Iraqis' own resolve that will secure their freedom from violence and tyranny.