Sending more troops to Iraq is not necessarily an escalation. An escalation of war occurs when you move into a new theater of operation. In this regard, the actions taken by Ethiopia in Somalia would be labeled an escalation. We don't know if Bush is escalating the war until we see what he is doing with the troops. Bush's speech indicates that he wants to shore up the control of areas where we already have limited control. This is not technically an escalation.
If our intention are to draw down troops this year, the best way to go about the task is to precede the draw down with a temporary increase in troops. This would allow us to pass control to the Iraqis. Whereas simply removing troops would create a power vacuum that the militias would try to fill. An increase in troops followed by a draw down provides a better opportunity for the legitimate Iraqi forces to fill the vacuum.
Our really big problem is that Bush seems to have lost his credibility. This is a big problem with the Machiavellian-conservative philosophy advocated by Bill O'Reilly, Harvey Mansfield, and other thinkers. To a Machiavellian thinker, the posture and arguments you put before the American people is just a facade.
In 2003, I actually thought that Bush's war posturing against Iraq was part of a legitimate attempt to get Hussein to draw down his WMD stockpiles. For that matter, I suspect that the many of the Congressmen who approved the War in Iraq thought that the war authorization would only kick in when diplomatic efforts proved a failure. Hussein's tact was to stand on the line, leaving us to forever wonder if Bush intended to invade Iraq regardless of the outcome of the diplomatic effort.
Bush is correct in noting that the wise course of action is to precede a draw down with a temporary increase in troops. In such case, a temporary increase in troops is a shrewd move as it would counter efforts of the insurgents to escalate the war as we transferred control to Iraqi forces.
The actions being taken by Bush is technically not an escalation of the war. Bush may well intend to escalate the war. We do not know. This Machiavellian style of leadership is frustrating because the words of a the leader are always misdirections.
Ted Kennedy and friends have been making grand efforts to call the War in Iraq Bush's Vietnam. An analogy with Vietnam might be apropriate as the power vacuum left in the wake of our clumbsy retreat from Vietnam and Cambodia led to one of the worst genocides of the last century. The actions of Bush might be enough to save the Iraqis a similar fate.
Speaking of actual Iraqis, I see that Michelle Malkin is in Iraq. She has pictures of some of the people who be genocided if we simply retreated and left a power vacuum for Al Quaida or Iran to fill. I really wish Bush success in filling that vacuum with legitimate Iraqi forces before we leave, and I hope that Bush is not foolish enough to escalate the war as Democrats claim.