“Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible.

(APPLAUSE)

Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said, I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power and teach us that the less we use our power, the greater it will be. Today America has a dual responsibility to help Iraq forge a better future and to leave Iraq to Iraqis.”

Well, that’s probably about as much credit as George Bush will get from this generation for the work his administration performed in Iraq. History perhaps will tell a different story.

I think this was a great speech. It’s a much improved tone from the “please forgive us” stance that the administration seemed to take at the beginning of his presidency. Neither John McCain nor Hillary Clinton could have delivered such an address. It remains to be seen what effect these words will really have. Some of the partnering actions he suggests are rather trite in view of the scope of the challenge this President has chosen to tackle. Ironically, the Muslim community has many of the same criticisms for this President that Americans do – long on talk, short on action.

Still, you have to start somewhere. Here is President Obama meeting this challenge head on. It is significant that these words are coming from the President himself and not simply someone in his cabinet. Maybe he can change some opinions on both sides of the fence. There are moments in history that call for great speeches and speeches that become great moments in history. I think the entire planet earnestly hopes that this will be an example of the latter. Whether that hope can be fulfilled remains to be seen:

Text of Obama’s Speech