Steven Cook, author of the excellent new book The Struggle for Egypt and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote before Tantawi gave his speech that he and his fellow generals have made a hash of Egypt's transition.
What is happening in Tahrir Square – as frightening as it is – may very well be a clarifying moment. From the start, the Egyptian military's declarations that it was preparing the ground for democracy were far from credible. The officers' interest in remaining the sole source of political legitimacy and authority, the military's economic interests, and the Ministry of Defense's conception of stability are simply not compatible with a more democratic Egypt...
... Egypt's present impasse, and the violence that is its result, is a critical moment in the political transition. Of course, no one wants to see Egyptians doused with tear gas, shot indiscriminately with rubber bullets, or mowed down with armored vehicles -- but the willingness to take to the streets once again demonstrates that, in Egypt's battle of legitimacies, people are not going to willingly succumb to the military.
Thanks to the massive popular move back to Tahrir, more fundamental change is the only way forward.