My first response after President Obama's speech to mark the official "end" of combat operations in Iraq was, "I got nothin'."
You know that's not my normal state of being.
I understand that the President needed to somehow mark the occasion of combat troops being officially pulled out of Iraq after almost eight years, but there are still 50,000 soldiers there to "support" and "train" Iraqis to have a democracy to call their own. Even though all officially named "combat" troops have left the geographic confines of Iraq, we all know that the lives of the soldiers who are still there are just as much in danger tomorrow as they were today, whether they are technically combat troops or not.
So I'm not sure what the real point of the President's speech was. Was it a speech about the war? Or was the end of our combat mission in Iraq a excuse to address the nation about the economy?
I got an advance look at the speech and some of the President's thinking. That's a nice thing about being a pundit -- you get on some good email lists and have a chance to participate in news conferences calls, like the one with a Deputy National Security Advisor in advance of Obama's comments, that give a little peek behind the Presidential curtain and some time to digest and analyze the news to come.
But I still feel like I have nothing -- no answer as to how we're going to save the economy by pulling combat troops from Iraq. And no real assurance that we'll be able to stick to the stated schedule of having all men and women in uniform out of Iraq by the end of 2011.
And, as much as I hate to say this, it was hard not to think about this image while I was watching Obama's speech lauding the soldiers who went to Iraq:
I don't know. I wish I felt something more than "What next?" after listening to the President tell us we're almost done in Iraq. What about you? Did you feel more purpose or inspiration after the President's speech than I did?