President George Bush is dotting the i's and crossing the t's on his primetime speech to the nation in which he will announce his plan for troop reinforcements in Iraq, or the "surge" as the policy's supporters like to call it. A leader among them is retired general Jack Keane, who repeated his uncomfortable dual role as advisor to the Commander in Chief and consultant for ABC News. ABC and NBC led with the planning for Wednesday's Iraq speech. CBS claimed an Exclusive for its lead about a US special forces air raid on a suspected al-Qaeda cell in southern Somalia.

CBS' Jim Axelrod used both words, calling it a "surge" and an "escalation--going against what voters said they wanted last November," citing his own network's poll that only 35% of Americans support either a maintenance of current troop levels or any increase. NBC's David Gregory was as carefully neutral as can be using the terms "additional troops" and "an increase." Either way, "2007 is going to be a violent year in Iraq."

NBC's Jim Miklaszewski predicted that Bush will designate a wider enemies' list in Baghdad: "This time US forces will enter Sadr City to take on the Mahdi Army and its 10,000 fighters." ABC's Terry McCarthy (subscription required) recalled that US troops from the Fourth Infantry Division occupied Baghdad's Dora neighborhood in August and "as soon as they left in October, handing over to Iraqis--carnage." Consultant Keane told him that the new plan has GIs staying for an entire year: "We are sleeping in the neighborhood; we are eating in the neighborhood; we are staying 24/7." McCarthy commented: "People in Dora are skeptical." A resident told him: "Only God can solve this problem."


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