A Government to be Named Later

As violence continued in Iraq, President Bush addressed the nation Monday night about his plans for the June 30 "transfer of power." Bush offered preliminary details about Iraq’s forthcoming sovereignty.

Iraqi "sovereignty" will apparently include a large U.S. military and advisory presence for the indefinite future. No date is set for coalition troops to leave Iraq.

Speaking before an audience at the Army War College, Bush blamed the military for underestimating the number of troops needed for such a task.

"Our commanders had estimated that a troop level below 115,000 would be sufficient at this point in the conflict," he said. No comment yet from former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki.

"Given the recent increase in violence, we will maintain our troop level at the current 138,000 as long as necessary," he said, adding that he would send more troops if needed.

While Bush admitted that violence has worsened in Iraq, the news was not all bad. In a promising sign that the Iraqis understand the concept of sovereignty, the president noted, "In some cases, the early performance of Iraqi [military] forces fell short. Some refused orders to engage the enemy." 

In response to recent torture scandals, Bush pledged meaningful reform.

"America will fund the construction of a modern maximum security prison," he said. "When that prison is completed, detainees at Abu Ghraib will be relocated. Then with the approval of the Iraqi government, we will demolish the Abu Ghraib Prison as a fitting symbol of Iraq’s new beginning."

As the president put it in his stirring conclusion, "We will persevere and defeat this enemy and hold this hard-won ground for the realm of liberty."

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