President Bush will address past mistakes in Iraq in his speech tonight, while trying to instill hope in both the Iraqi people and war-weary Americans with his new strategy for the war.
Bush is expected to announce that an additional 22,000 U.S. troops will be sent to Iraq as part of his new plan for the war.
He will admit that the past strategy has not worked, and say that one of the principle reasons is that there were not enough U.S. and Iraqi forces to stabilize the population.
"This plan will address those past mistakes and put us on a new course in Iraq that we believe will give them the best chance for economic and political reconciliation to solve the problems the soldiers pointed out," said Dan Bartlett, White House communications director, on "Good Morning America" today.
A number of troops and their families have expressed wariness about the president's plan, saying that more soldiers won't stop the sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims that plagues the country.
"I don't think we need to be here," one soldier told ABC News. "I don't think we're doing anything that will benefit us here. Sunnis, Shiites. We're in the middle, and there are a lot of people who say if they don't want to stop fighting we can't stop them."
Critical Point in the War
Bush will also announce specific goals the Iraqis are expected to meet as additional U.S. forces arrive, involving Iraqi troop preparedness and national reconciliation.
"The president will make very clear tonight that Iraqis themselves have to solve the sectarian violence. We can't solve it for them," Bartlett said.
Bartlett said the Iraqi military forces would have to "step up" operations to secure the people of Baghdad.
"What we have found throughout this process is that if the population is not secure, it really impedes any sort of political and economic progress this country needs to realize," he said.
The troops will be assigned to very specific missions, according to the president's plan. In many cases, they will go door to door, trying to identify insurgents.
Many of the soldiers, however, do not speak Arabic and have to make very difficult distinctions among people.
Bartlett said that the Iraqi government and security forces needed U.S. help at this "critical moment in history."
Ultimately, Bartlett said, "It will be Iraqis that are knocking on doors. Iraqis that are leading these military missions."
The troops in Iraq and their families are hoping that is the case.
"I want the president to come up with a plan that doesn't involve more loss of our soldiers' lives," said Carole Bensley, who has three children in the military.
"I want Iraqis to step up into a position and take control of their country. We've been there too long," she said.