The dispensable man

The American Prospect
by Ezra Klein


It’s right there in the name: ‘The Petraeus Report.’ Not ‘The Petraeus Report on Iraq’ or the ‘Military Assessment of the Surge,’ but ‘The Petraeus Report.’ The testimonies, the white papers, the MoveOn ads, and the presidential affirmations — none of them are about Iraq. They are about David Petraeus. This is the White House’s political strategy: Make the continuation of the war a referendum on David Petraeus, and it will continue, because he’s really dreamy. Make it a referendum on the state of the country (blown up), and the status of the political reconciliation (unreconciled), and the war will inch closer to its end...

Team Bush’s false optimism

Boston Globe
by H.D.S. Greenway


Nations find it infinitely more difficult to get out of wars and military occupations than to get into them. The British stayed in Palestine trying to bring political reconciliation for years after it was clear that nobody wanted to reconcile. The French clung on to Algeria long after it became hopeless. It took the Americans five years to clear their troops out of Vietnam after they had decided to throw in the towel. Today, President Bush clings to David Petraeus as if the general were the administration’s rabbit foot. ‘Buying time for Iraqis to reconcile,’ was the way Petraeus originally described his mission, and according to that measure there has been no progress at all...

More false optimism on Iraq

Human Events
by Steve Chapman


Petraeus is, by all accounts, an experienced, capable and intelligent commander. So when he says that ‘the security situation in Iraq is improving,’ the natural impulse is to trust his battle-seasoned judgment. The Bush administration encourages this notion by suggesting that the opinions of military commanders are the only sound guide to policy. But if high-ranking military officers are a good barometer of the future, I have a question: Where are the generals who told Americans when things were about to get worse in Iraq, as they have over and over? Which of them warned that insurgent attacks would steadily proliferate in 2005, after elections that were supposed to quell violence? What guy with stars on his shoulders forecast that Iraqi civilian deaths would double over the course of 2006?

“The war as we saw it”

by Buddhika Jayamaha, Wesley D. Smith, Jeremy Roebuck, Omar Mora, Edward Sandmeier, Yance T. Gray and Jeremy A. Murphy


Viewed from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp


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