Can Brown convince the doubters?
Losing the argument over Britain's continued involvement in Afghanistan is much more of a concern for Gordon Brown than losing the defence secretary's aide, Eric Joyce.
The two are, though, connected.
Today's restatement by the prime minister of the war's mission, his defence of the resources he's committed to it, and his outlining of an exit strategy was planned long before Mr Joyce resigned but his resignation highlighted why it was needed.
Downing Street has watched with concern as polls show only around a third of the public back staying in Afghanistan whatever the cost, whilst a third want withdrawal now, and a third to see it within a year. They've been anxious about a growing split with some in the military. They've disliked a campaign in the Sun newspaper under the headline "Don't they know there's a bloody war on?"
The prime minister is hinting that fewer British troops will be needed IF more Afghan troops can be trained fast enough. BUT, the military are warning him that - in the short run at least - that will actually mean sending more soldiers to do that training.
Today, once again, people lined up on the streets of Wootton Bassett to pay their respects to the two latest fallen soldiers to be flown home.
The test of the prime minister's speech is whether he can convince at least some of the doubters that the losses and the pain were worth it.