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Security Politics

After the words "America" and "Americans," the word Bush used most often in his speech was "Iraq." 

Bob Novak notes that Bush didn't mention the war on terrorism or Iraq until the 23rd minute of his 50-minute speech.  "When Bush got around to Iraq specifically, it was an anticlimax because of his speech on that crisis a week earlier." 

Bloomberg casts Bush's proposed advisory council on the war against terror as a "concession to lawmakers who've complained that Bush's failure to consult with them is part of the reason he's lost support on the war...  It would be made up of Democratic and Republican congressional leaders." 

The Washington Post says Bush in his speech "presented an arguably misleading and often flawed description of 'the enemy'" in Iran and the Middle East, "lumping together disparate groups with opposing ideologies to suggest that they have a single-minded focus." 

So far, there's been no sign of any Senate opposition to Bush's nomination of Lt. Gen. David Petraeus to take charge of US forces in Iraq, and confirmation votes are expected to come quickly. 

The Washington Post points out that Petraeus' criticism yesterday of the proposed Senate resolution opposing more troops for Iraq was "unusual for an active-duty officer."  Petraeus later said he did not intend for his comments "to be taken as opposing or supporting any resolutions." 

Critics of Bush's troop increase, the New York Times says, suggested yesterday that the competing Senate resolutions opposing Bush's plan should be merged.  "But Senator John W. Warner,… lead author of [one of the proposals], said he saw important distinctions between them.  He said he was not prepared to enter any negotiations until after he saw wording approved by the Foreign Relations Committee." 

Former Republican House Speaker and possible presidential candidate Newt Gingrich testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday.  Per NBC's Wendy Jones, he cited 18 steps to help with the war, including creating a deputy chief of staff for Iraq, establishing a war cabinet, establishing a job corps for Iraq, and expanding the State Department.  Gingrich: "If we are driven out of Iraq, the world will see it as a defeat…  I don't think it's a question of staying or leaving…  Staying without the will to win is negative."  Gingrich also said he "was deeply opposed to an American occupation…  That system was doomed to failure…  Now that we are where we are, it may be impossible to win.."

"House Democratic leaders plan to dodge the political risk of trying to tamper with U.S. troop deployments by pushing instead to shut down the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and tear down the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq," The Politico reports.  "The decision reflects an effort by House Democrats to put their stamp on the war on terror without micromanaging the war in Iraq." 

Face-off: NBC's Courtney Kube notes that both Sens. John McCain and Hillary Clinton will be at Fort Sam Houston on Monday to dedicate a new burn center.