Gut reaction? I think it is what we need to do, though I hate what it means for our military family.
I thought President Obama's speech was very good and I think that the goals, time lines, narrow focus and specifics will go a long way to remedy and address the issues that arose in the Iraq war (goals that were too broad, no urgency due to no timeline, etc). I am no analyst, I am no General, but I feel like this decision was reached without undue haste, with deep regard to the cost of our troops and country, and with the wisdom of past failures. This plan will be changed, this plan will have pitfalls... but it will also have successes, it will have results and it will provide a timeline to gauge our progress and to assess changes that need to be made.
If we must be at war, I would rather we be thoughtful and concerned about the outcomes. I would rather we be specific and decisive, not open-ended and vague. I would rather follow a CinC with a clear vision and a complete understanding of all factors at play. In short, I support this surge. Even though we as a military community will bear the burden.
After listening to all of President Obama's speech, I was beyond pleased to find both Swiss's concerns and mine addressed (which at times are quite divergent), and walk away feeling like, finally, we have a POTUS who isn't short-sighted, who sees the big picture and who is willing to engage in thoughtful, concerted, honest dialogue about the issues facing our country, our military, and our world. It's about damned time.
Also, for the record: I cannot tolerate the media, pundits, analysts, politicians (on both sides) and opportunists who took this serious matter, this issue of national and world concern, this commitment of 30,000 of our bravest men and women, and turn it into a chance to up their political stock, extend their 15 minutes of fame, or goad the other side for future electoral gains. Also, when it is obvious within the first 20 seconds of you opening your mouth that you only heard what you wanted to hear, you loose all credibility. Just so you know.