I just landed in Washington and am heading to a round of meetings in advance of President Bush's speech tonight.
I always find it interesting how momentum seems to build in Washington before a speech like this one and how a sort of conventional wisdom develops. Frankly, I'm always wary of conventional wisdom. Rarely, it seems, is it very accurate.
By now, some of the president's proposals for Iraq are well known, and "last chance" is the term a lot of observers are throwing around, Republicans and Democrats alike.
The plan to escalate or "surge" some 20,000 more troops is unlikely to truly satisfy anyone. The troop number is lower than many hawks would like and too high for those who would like to scale back our involvement. There are also real questions about the Maliki government's willingness or ability to make good on its reported promises to go after Shia militias.
As always, it's easy to get caught up in the politics of an event like this one, and no doubt that is what much of tonight's coverage will explore. But I also think it’s worth remembering that human lives are at stake.
For American servicemen and women and for all Iraqis, this is not some laboratory experiment. I've been on enough patrols in Iraq to know that our brave soldiers and Marines will continue to do what is asked of them, no matter how difficult, no matter how dangerous. Lets hope what we ask of them is worthy of their sacrifice.
We've assembled a really smart panel to talk about the speech tonight -- Joe Klein of Time, former presidential advisor David Gergen, blogger Andrew Sullivan, as well as military analysts, and of course our best reporters.
What are you anticipating from the speech? Is there anything you would like to ask our panel of guests?