Today’s joint testimony before the house of representatives was more interesting than I had expected. There were a number of things to be heard if one listened closely.
– General Casey requested the increase in forces that people have called "the surge" and for which Petraeus is generally thought to be responsible. Bush announced the increase in forces in January, 2007. Petraeus assumed command in February, 2007
– Petraeus did not try to claim that the tribal revolt in Anbar, now spreading in the country wherever Sunni Arabs live in numbers, was the result of his policy. His COIN adviser David Killcullen recently wrote that the tribal revolt was not anticipated by the US command in Baghdad, was not caused by it and was a "surprise." What Petraeus did claim, fairly I think, is that he and his team have perceived the usefulness of this phenomenon and are helping to spread it wherever they can while at the same time trying to integrate these forces into government structures. Petraeus also maintained that the US is not arming the tribes because there is no need to arm the tribes. What is happening is that US forces are now welcoming those who wish to change sides in defense of their "turf" and way of life.
– If Casey requested the additional troops and the tribal revolt was caused by factors beyond his control, then what is left as Petraeus creative contribution is his campaign to protect the population of the Baghdad area by garrisoning the city with a myriad of little forts. That, in itself, may be enough to justify his reputation. To be fair, he seems to be an excellnt strategic thinker, and the man can really speak English. (unusual)
– Rep. Duncan Hunter suggested that the former Iraqi Army could not have been used for anything under a new government. Petraeus did not accept that and reiterated the idea that a shortage of well trained and experienced officers at field grade level remains one of the new army’s biggest problem, and that the Maliki government is trying to induce the return to the colors of suitable "old Army." officers.
-Petraeus insisted that he and Admiral Fallon, his immediate commander, have no disagreements concerning policy in Iraq.
-Petraeus insisted that his testimony had not been "vetted" by the Bush Administration.
-Petraeus said that Iranian "Quds" force cadres and Hizbullah trainers "borrowed" by Iran have left Iraq.
-Most importantly, Petraeus said that he has recommended, through Fallon to Gates, that all of the "surge" troops be withdrawn gradually between now and July, 2008 with a further review in March, 2008 of how to continue the withdrawal after July. Some will say that this is deceptive because these troop will have to be withdrawn anyway. I think not. He could easily have conditioned the withdrawal in many ways, but there was little of that.
– He showed little taste for negotiating with the Iranians. Crocker has always liked to talk tough about negotiating with anyone. He seems to fear the "diplomatie au petit fours" image. Perhaps that is why Petraeus mentioned the Quds Force withdrawal.
All in all, an encouraging performance in a limited sort of way. Now, if we knew what the commander guy and ole Dick intend to do about Iran, we would really know something. pl
How can we know that we are not just seeing General Westmoreland 40 years later?
Why should I believe any thing the General has to say? As a former Marine officer, I take whatever any active duty general says with a grain of salt. One of the reasons I like this site, is because you retired as a Colonel!
Crocker talked about good negotiations with Iran in 2001-2002 re Afghanistan. Then, low and behold, we had the famous Axis of Evil speech, and the subsequent five years of the keystone cops’ Pentagon and the alienation of every single ally we ever had, and voila, the Iranians are no longer interested in negotiations with the U.S.
Does anyone wonder why?
I can’t help thinking that we are buying the Iraqis time with our blood; time the Iraqis are using to prepare for when we are gone.
I’m still waiting for the original Surge rationale to be totaled up by Petraeus/Crocker, and heaven forbid, by Junya and crew:
US Troop Surge x Iraqi Political Compromise = Success or Failure.
The calculus is not:
US Troop Surge plus Iraqi Political Compromise = Success or Failure.
This is not addition problem. This is multiplication problem!
Hence the meaningful result must show:
US Troop Surge x Zero Iraqi Political Compromise = Failure.
To belabor the obvious (which sorely needs doing in both the MSM and in DC), Petraeus/Crocker, and Junya and crew, have zero interest in doing this math for the simple reason that to do so, would be to admit the failure in achieving the result that was the original goal of the Surge.
It seems to me that far too many in the MSM and the political arena have missed this central point.
The American military, to paraphrase our Dear Leader’s most recent homily, can “kick some ass”, but that does not address the underlying problem of ethnic/tribal/sectian/religious distrust if not in fact outright hatred.
Political progress there? Not so you’d notice.
As far as I can tell, we’re still looking at a “failed state” with more failure to come.
“Success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan.” And no one apparently is interested in the paternity test.
I appreciate your thoughts, Pat, and always learn from you. Progressive blog comments are critical of the requested withdrawal Petraeus described because, as you note, those troops would have had to come home anyway. I’m wondering if you think his recommendation indicates a trend in his mind, to continue the withdrawal beyond the surge population? If not, don’t you think that demonstrates a lack of confidence in his plan and the proposed hope that the Iraqis can begin to take over more when the surge troops have gone?
I also wonder if you think at that point troops who are not scheduled to go home will be redeployed for Iran.
I hope my language is correct, I am not remotely military, just concerned.
Can a general’s good reputation deflect his Commander’s urge to initiate war? General Petraeus is highly regarded within the administration, and he is being used to represent all that is dedicated, honorable, and capable about the Coalition involvement in Iraq and about the US military. An offensive against Iran would appear to have played him as a chump, and it would yank the rug out from under him in Iraq. Bush and Cheney would look downright underhanded, in the immediate view of the public and for history.
I wish I could find some definite good news about Iraq in what General Petraeus read to Congress today.
I guess the plight of Iraqis who have fled their homes, thousands into neighboring countries, is not likely to be on the Coalition talking points agenda anytime soon.
I’m watching Petraeus on Fox News. He seems to give that particular cable station exclusive interviews. Why is that?
9/11* + Iraq** = Bush’s Fundamentalist Islamic Republic in Iraq
So much for the “fantastic freedom institute”.
1) IRAQ: Clerics Begin to Take Over, By Ali al-Fadhily*, BAGHDAD, Sep 10, 2007 (IPS) – [snip]
Clerics began to play a major role since the U.S.-led occupation began in April 2003. Despite the promises of U.S. President George W. Bush to turn Iraq into a secular and free country, clerics have become the real leaders, and are beginning to control most political matters. http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39197
2) Iraq: Bush’s Islamic Republic
By Peter W. Galbraith
Volume 52, Number 13 · August 11, 2005
SCIRI and Dawa want Iraq to be an Islamic state. They propose to make Islam the principal source of law, which most immediately would affect the status of women. For Muslim women, religious law—rather than Iraq’s relatively progressive civil code—would govern personal status, including matters relating to marriage, divorce, property, and child custody. A Dawa draft for the Iraqi constitution would limit religious freedom for non-Muslims, and apparently deny such freedom altogether to peoples not “of the book,” such as the Yezidis (a significant minority in Kurdistan), Zoroastrians, and Bahais.
THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ; Islamic Law Controls the Streets of Basra; Enforcers patrol the city and Shiite militiamen have taken over the police. Residents accused of infractions are beaten or killed.: By Louise Roug. Los Angeles Times, Jun 27, 2005 [snip]
Physicians have been beaten for treating female patients. Liquor salesmen have been killed. Even barbers have faced threats for giving haircuts judged too short or too fashionable.
Religion rules the streets of this once cosmopolitan city, where women no longer dare go out uncovered.
“We can’t sing in public anymore,” said Hussin Nimma, a popular singer from the south. “It’s ironic. We thought that with the change of the regime, people would be more open to singing, art and poetry.”
* Nearly 3000 murders + uncounted thousands of physical, psychological, spiritual mutilations + tens of billions of dollars in damage incurred
** Tens of thousands of people maimed, murdered, raped, drilled in the head, sodomized, burned, hanged, drowned, etc + five hundred billion dollars
The Bolsheviks had the same problem with a lack of qualified officers for their Red Army. They solved it by bringing back some Czarist officers under the rubrik of “technicals” or some such term. How far they were willing to trust these retreads was indicated by the imposition of Political Commissars to watch the “technicals.” Guess who had the final say?
GEN Petraeus may say that we are not arming them, but we are certainly handing out bags of cash and several news reports indicate that American troops allow their Sunni “allies” to take from arms caches seized during raids. No substantive difference.
The purpose of handing out bags of cash is so that they can buy Moody and S&P AAA rated securities that are backed by sub-prime mortgages. If they’re buying arms it is a gross violation of the agreement.
Oh, and why we should all believe Petraeus:
It would appear that the “surge” was simply an expedient to ensure that there would not be a catastrophic collapse of the US military position before the departure of the Bush administration from office. What kind of leaders would deliberately set up their successors for failure and dolchstoss accusations? What has happened to America?
Colonel Lang appears to be a fine soldier, but he seems to think that the US Military exists and functions independently of the character of our national leadership. The pathetic pandering of General Patraeus to the surge scam suggests this is not the case. The officer corps in Iraq has become corrupted just as it was in Vietnam. This unhappy result seems to be an unavoidable consequence of dirty neo-colonial wars.
“An offensive against Iran would appear to have played him as a chump, and it would yank the rug out from under him in Iraq.”
Remember Colin Powell?
I was listening while working but, did Crocker confirm that he sold the oil-rights to an American company without the approval of Maliki?
If Crocker sold the oil rights, does that mean we have pulled the rug under Maliki or just given-up on Maliki?
Crocker was a little confusing but, what can you expect from a career officer in the State Department.
Col, “If Casey requested the additional troops and the tribal revolt was caused by factors beyond his control, then what is left as Petraeus creative contribution is his campaign to protect the population of the Baghdad area by garrisoning the city with a myriad of little forts. That, in itself, may be enough to justify his reputation.”
Shouldn’t his reputation be based on the fact that he was responsible for training the Iraqi forces and the “victory is around the corner” column?
One of my favorite scenes in Lawrence of Arabia is when the commanding field surgeon enters the Damascus “hospital” housing dead and dying Turks. The conditions are so hoorendous he berates ‘awrence, shouting at him “Outrageous! Outrageous.” Then the nurses and others move in to clean up the crap and mess left by ‘awrence’s nostalgic trip to being Alexander.
I just wish Peteraeus and others (perhaps even a Senator or 2) would act in this way towards the crap-house Bush has created in Iraq. While I admire a guy like Petraeus who’s willing to clean out the latrines as part of his duty, I am hoping that at the same time he’s pointing out to Der Deciderer what a real f*-up he is.
Following on the attempt to psychoanalyze Bush in a previous post, I’d note that Narcissism from a Freudian analysis occurs at the same time as potty training. The Narcissist is pathologically fascinated by his/her own bodily functions and by-products. In a strange way, they see it as somehow themeselves. (Need I mention the rumored predilection of Bush for flatulence jokes?)
One wonders how much Mama Bush changed baby Bush’s nappies. As he went along in life Der Deciderer could certainly count on Mama and Papa Bush to clean up his messes. Then he met up with Rove, another person willing to clean up the mess–or at least smear it in ways that made Der Deciderer look like he was a prom queen and not Carrie.
Anyway, part of the message to Bush and others are things that Peteraeus and Gates have left out of their quantitative analysis of Res-Iraq: over 2million refugees; the lie that is falling body count; the ethnic cleansing.
And yes, the fact that nature indeed does hate a vaccuum, and the vaccuum of Iraq is sucking in all the ill-winds that the modern nation-state and colonialism tried to bottle up.
“Petraeus said that Iranian ‘Quds’ force cadres and Hizbullah trainers ‘borrowed’ by Iran have left Iraq.”
This is great news. Maybe they went to Disneyland. Sorry, they might have reduced their presence but their still present.
“-Petraeus said that Iranian “Quds” force cadres and Hizbullah trainers “borrowed” by Iran have left Iraq.”
They’ll be back if they haave in fact left and not just gone to ground.
Though he speaks good English, he was still “grading his own paper”. Except for Lantos, our representatives treated him like rock star. Will a leader with stature (please Jim Webb) kick this general in the groin to get the truth out of him? His testimony is that of a stooge for Bush. Crocker comes off as the proverbial “poor soul”. Imagine him arguing with the “Decider”? Jones, as uncomfortable as he appeared, was not exactly glowing about the situation in Iraq. Chief Ramsay was outstanding in his unvarnished testimony. But, hey, he’s only a cop; what does he know about violence? He may know more than a lot of the military beause he’s lived with it all his professional life. The US military is over its head in Iraq.
And by the way, don’t be fooled by this business of Bush claiming to do what the generals want. That’s a deliberate deception. It is the generals who do – and say – what they think their commander in chief wants them to do and say. Their careers are at his mercy, and they know it.
As a rule of thumb, don’t believe anybody above the rank of lieutenant colonel. That’s the rank most warriors are forced to retire at. Most of the rest are politicians in uniform.
In general I would agree with the judgment on all those above Lieutenant Colonel. There are exceptions.
In Petraeus’ case one must remember that this is a man who could be president if he gets it right. I think he is acutely aware of that and will be careful not to slavishly follow the administration line into an abyss.
What he is proposing is gradual withdrawal over several years down to a small (20,000?) presence. If he gets anywhere near that without some sort of catastrophe the american people will lose interest in the whole thing and think him a grand success.
So, you think I am either naive or a scoundrel? Amusing. If you think that Bush/Cheney are not worried about just how good a grip they have on people at the top in DoD, then you are the naif. Petraeus is already a four star general. There is no promotion above that. If the administration were to shove him out the door, so what, from his point of view. the same is true of Admiral fallon. Their careers are really beyond the ability of the Bush Administration to seriously harm.
What are Bush/Cheney’s intentions towards Iran? Thst is the big question. If there is war with Iran, then you can throw all this carefully laid out withdrawal planning right out the window. pl
I fear that General Pat Lang is right:
“Now, if we knew what the commander guy and ole Dick intend to do about Iran, we would really know something.”
That is the only thing will matter to the History’s books.
The surge make no diference. Sorry. There is a interesting information at Juan Cole’s blog today. There are 3 conflits now: Bagdha, Basra, and Kirkuk.
At Bagdha is happening a cleansing, the sunni are going out or being murdered, the city will end shia. Basra is a shia versus shia conflit. Who wins will have the oil. Kirkuk, Kurdistan need the oil there. Turkmen and arabs fight them. Turkey and Iran don’t like the idea of a Kurdistan, they fear a “Great Kurdistan”.
At the end, the surge don’t have any importance. They are reforcing Bagdha, but the cleansing is happening anyway. And the real thing, the oil, will not be sunni, but shia. Who have the oil will have the power. End game.
sorry the bad english, my native language is portuguese.
Here’s what’s tedious: listening to partisan speechifying as a set-up to rhetorical questions.
I’m naive in my expectation of more prosecutorial, or at least concrete and pointed questions.
I’d ask why a tactic that is working isn’t to be scaled up.
However, I’m reminded of the Quebec hayfarmers who figure that the truckload they sold at a loss demands going back to market with two truck loads.
Shock and awe against Iran is too lunatic to contemplate, for me, but I’m in the chorus that believes Cheney Inc. is demonstrably nuts enough.
I took a MB test once, but have forgotten what I am. The one thing I do remember is how surprised I was with its accuracy for me. Others in my group were surprised, as well. We all tested as part of a career transitioning program our former employers provided after we had been laid off. That thing nailed me and I tend to be very sceptical of generalized testing…tests only test how well you take tests, and all that.
PL is 100% correct. The key issue now has passed from Iraq to Iran. That is what we should be talking about now. Right now. And we are not. I believe (fear)that Brzezinski will prove the most prophetic here.
For those interested. We are going to blame Iran for Iraq’s failure to reach the benchmarks. And as a result attack Iran. Albeit, as ZB notes, part of some ‘defensive reaction’ on our part.
Not without full scale regional political negotiations.
Any analysis must assume for bellicose relations with Syria and Iran through 01/09.
Baghdad will be ethnically cleansed and be the capital of the Shiite rump state. Sunnis will use terror to extract tenuous compromise. Iran will laugh at the travesty of our faith-based flatheaded policies.
Massive diplomacy with 160,000 troops on the ground would be optimal, but the smart money should bet on even further stupidity down the road.
As we try to read the personal, political and international tea leaves I am reminded that in prep school Bush was a cheerleader. Much of his public behaviour in the last few years fits that model very well. what he thinks privately is less clear. His stated images are those of someone who desperately wants to be ” a player” and shows little of the reality based understanding that genuine ‘players’ show regularly. He projects an idealized ‘player’ image of himself, god only knows what it’s really like inside his skin. Cheerleaders only have to keep rallying the crowd. They are never actually resposible for what happens or how it happens. I knew at least one of the senior players in this administrations when we were undergraduates together and their behaviou in this administration has a direct line connection to their behaviour in college.
The Surge is a total success for the Bush Administration. The USA will have the maximum force level in Iraq just before the November 2008 elections. Any withdrawal or “defeat” will be the burden of the next President. The only remaining question is will the Decider leave Iran for the next President or seeing the success of their Agitprop in controlling Congress and Corporate Media; bomb Iran now.
PL: “What [Petraeus] is proposing is gradual withdrawal over several years down to a small (20,000?) presence. If he gets anywhere near that without some sort of catastrophe the american people will […] think him a grand success.”
I certainly would.
As for Iran, Congress could prevent a major incursion by the U.S. if it wanted. It is interesting that it has not acted yet.
If the evaluation of the Colonel and other adult experts is correct that a move into Iran would be a mistake and if the high regard for Petraeus that many have is justified, Petraeus must see all this. Given a choice between “falling on my sword” and “drinking the koolaid”, which would he pick? If the former he wouldn’t actually have to do so. In this environment, the threat would surely be enough.
Dissenting View on Petraeus Testimony
Interestingly, Col. Pat Lang, a staunch opponent of this war for as long as I can remember, offers one of the most generous assessments Ive seen of General Petraeus testimony before the House Armed Services Committee. Contrary to the pre…
João Carlos, do not apologize for your English (which is very good). Our president, whose native language is supposedly English, doesn’t do as well as you do.
Man, am I’m looking forward to his next prime time assault on our language.
The Iran’s Revolutionary guard was just declared a terrorist organization.
So, Bush don’t need authorization from Congress for start bombing.
It is only a question if “the Decider” finally decide it.
Take the profit out of this war and be amazed at how the dynamics change. More than half the one billion we spend on Iraq every three days is finding its way into the hands of the war profiteers.
All contractors bought under the control of the U.S. Army, stockholders discharged, corporations dissolved and employees paid at equivalent Army grade.
Don’t ask me the legal basis…not after what we have all seen the past 6 years. (an attorney general asked to ok violating the 4th amendment while lying semi-conscious in his hospital bed.)
one last thing…all oil profits obtained by US corporations via subsequent deals with iraq are applied at the rate of 50% to defray war costs and compensate the families of soldiers who served.
This will serve to disuade efforts to widen this war…Iran or elsewhere.
As for General Petraeus, over and over his interviews and his record, reveal he is very smart. What can you say about a man who married the commandant’s daughter. Had he been in charge 4 years ago probably things would be different.
Some facts that were curiously left out of Petraeus’ and Crocker’s reports on how much progress is being made in the new and improved free Iraq:
Sept. 10, 2007 ANALYSIS By GARY LANGER, ABC [Excerpts]
Barely a quarter of Iraqis say their security has improved in the past six months, a negative assessment of the surge in U.S. forces that reflects worsening public attitudes across a range of measures, even as authorities report some progress curtailing violence.
Apart from a few scattered gains, a new national survey by ABC News, the BBC and the Japanese broadcaster NHK finds deepening dissatisfaction with conditions in Iraq, lower ratings for the national government and growing rejection of the U.S. role there.
More Iraqis say security in their local area has gotten worse in the last six months than say it’s gotten better, 31 percent to 24 percent, with the rest reporting no change. Far more, six in 10, say security in the country overall has worsened since the surge began, while just one in 10 sees improvement.
More directly assessing the surge itself — a measure that necessarily includes views of the United States, which are highly negative — 65 to 70 percent of Iraqis say it’s worsened rather than improved security, political stability and the pace of redevelopment alike.
Six in 10 Iraqis say their own lives are going badly, and even more, 78 percent, say things are going badly for the country overall — up 13 points from last winter. Expectations have crumbled; just 23 percent see improvement for Iraq in the year ahead, down from 40 percent last winter and 69 percent in November 2005.
More than six in 10 now call the U.S.-led invasion of their country wrong, up from 52 percent last winter.
Fifty-seven percent call violence against U.S. forces acceptable, up six points.
And the poll finds almost unanimous opposition to most activities of al Qaeda in Iraq; the sole exception is its attacks on U.S. and other coalition forces.
With both continued violence and no improvements in living conditions, frustration with Iraq’s own government has grown as well. Despite billions spent, only 23 percent of Iraqis report effective reconstruction efforts in their local area. [So much for “secure, hold, and build.”] And about two-thirds disapprove of the work of both the current government overall (up by 12 points since winter), and of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki personally.
Overall assessments of security show no improvement since last winter, and direct ratings of the surge are highly negative. In one measure, the number of Iraqis who rate their local security positively (43 percent) is no better than it was in March.
In another, as noted, just 24 percent say local security has improved in the last six months, including 16 percent in Baghdad, and not one respondent in Anbar.
The widespread nature of the violence is part of this. In Baghdad, 52 percent report car bombings or suicide attacks in their local area, the same as in March; but so do 39 percent in the country, up from 26 percent six months ago.
Direct ratings of the surge itself are particularly negative.
At best, only 18 percent of Iraqis say it has improved security in surge areas; at worst, just six percent say it’s improved the pace of economic development. Indeed, as noted, the surge broadly is seen to have done more harm than good, with 65 to 70 percent saying it’s worsened rather than improved security in surge areas, security in other areas, conditions for political dialogue, the ability of the Iraqi government to do its work, the pace of reconstruction and the pace of economic development.
Every respondent in Baghdad, and also in Anbar (where George W. Bush paid a surprise visit to a sprawling U.S. base last week), says the surge has made security worse now than it was six months ago (anti-U.S. sentiment in these areas is very high, and likely a factor in these direct assessments).
Views in the rest of the country are hardly positive: Outside Baghdad and Anbar, still just 26 percent say the surge has improved security.
A broader question, not specifically linked to the surge, has an equally negative result: Just 18 percent of Iraqis say the presence of U.S. forces is making security better in their country overall, about the same as in March (21 percent).
Instead 72 percent say the U.S. presence is making Iraq’s security worse. [Obviously.]
Another hopeful sign — and a remarkable one given its troubles — is the continued preference for Iraq to remain a single, unified state with a central government in Baghdad. Sixty-two percent favor that outcome, about the same as in March (albeit down from 79 percent in February 2004).
Other assessments of the United States are overwhelmingly negative.
As noted, nearly two-thirds of Iraqis now say it was wrong for the United States and its allies to have invaded Iraq — 63 percent, up from 52 percent six months ago and from 39 percent in the first Iraq poll by ABC, the BBC and NHK (and the German broadcaster ARD) in February 2004.
Even among Shiites, empowered by the overthrow of Saddam, 51 percent now say the invasion was wrong, up sharply from 29 percent in March. (Further deterioration may be ahead; among Shiites who still support the invasion, the number who call it “absolutely” right has fallen from 34 percent in March to 14 percent now.)
Seventy-nine percent of Iraqis oppose the presence of coalition forces in the country, essentially unchanged from last winter — including more than eight in 10 Shiites and nearly all Sunni Arabs. (Seven in 10 Kurds, by contrast, still support the presence of these forces.)
Similarly, 80 percent of Iraqis disapprove of the way U.S. and other coalition forces have performed in Iraq; the only change has been an increase in negative ratings of the U.S. performance among Kurds.
And 86 percent of Iraqis express little or no confidence in U.S. and U.K. forces, similar to last winter and again up among Kurds.
Accusations of mistreatment continue: Forty-one percent of Iraqis in this poll (vs. 44 percent in March) report unnecessary violence against Iraqi citizens by U.S. or coalition forces. That peaks at 63 percent among Sunni Arabs, and 66 percent in Sunni-dominated Anbar.
This disapproval rises to an endorsement of violence: Fifty-seven percent of Iraqis now call attacks on coalition forces “acceptable,” up six points from last winter and more than three times its level (17 percent) in February 2004.
Since March, acceptability of such attacks has risen by 15 points among Shiites (from 35 percent to 50 percent), while remaining near-unanimous among Sunnis (93 percent).
Acceptability of attacks on U.S. forces also varies by locale, peaking at 100 percent in Anbar, 69 percent in Kirkuk city and 60 percent in Baghdad, compared with 38 percent in Basra and just three percent in the northern Kurdish provinces.
The forced separation of Iraqis along sectarian lines is reported by 39 percent in Basra city, in the mainly Shiite south; and by 24 percent — one in four — across all major metropolitan areas.
In a continued sign of hope, this separation is enormously unpopular: Ninety-eight percent, with agreement across ethnic and sectarian lines, oppose it.
Forty-one percent report unnecessary violence against Iraqi citizens by U.S. or coalition forces (26 percent say this has occurred in the last six months).
Crocker had something very interesting if one were listening. “Some of the more promising political developments at the national level are neither measured in benchmarks nor visible to those far from Baghdad. For instance, there is a budding debate about federalism among Iraq’s leaders and, importantly, within the Sunni community. Those living in places like al-Anbar and Salahaddin are beginning to realize how localities having more of a say in daily decision making will empower their communities. No longer is an all-powerful Baghdad seen as the panacea to Iraq’s problems. This thinking is nascent, but it is ultimately critical to the evolution of a common vision among all Iraqi leaders.”
I never knew Fallon had such a low opinion of Petraeus:
Any comments? Won’t having such different reads on the same situation lead to problems down the road?
Excerpt, FYI from piece by PATRICK COCKBURN entitled:
Two Big Skeletons in Petraeus’s Closet
Patrick Cockburn is the long time Iraq correspondent for the Independent but also frequents publishes in CounterPunch – his brother’s magazine and blog
General David Petraeus, the commander of US forces in Iraq, has always shown exceptional skill in impressing American politicians and journalists with his military abilities. Today he will be listened to with immense respect in Congress as he reports on how far the “surge” – the increase in the number of US troops in Iraq by 30,000 – has positively affected the war in Iraq.
It is a measure of Petraeus’s political skills that he was promoted to his present position despite being responsible in part for two of the greatest debacles of the Iraq war. In 2003/4 it was Petraeus who was in charge of securing Mosul, the third largest Iraqi city, from the insurgents, and his strategy of conciliating the Sunni and former Baath party members was lauded by the US media. But nine months after he left, the insurgents captured Mosul; the police appointed by Petraeus fled or changed sides, and $41m worth of weapons were lost.
In the same year Petraeus was given the crucial job of overseeing the training and expansion of Iraq’s new army, and again he produced glowing reports of progress. But three years later the army he was charged with turning into an effective fighting force is notoriously incapable and corrupt. In addition, Petraeus failed to observe that almost the entire Iraqi procurement budget of $1.2bn was being embezzled, and Iraqi soldiers were forced to rely on obsolete and inadequate weaponry.
It is the discrepancy between General Petraeus’s performance as a general in Iraq (he had seen no combat before 2003) and his rapid elevation to overall US commander that has led his critics to portray him as a courtier-soldier whose victories are won in TV interviews or in Washington.
see link above for rest of article
Have you read this article (Fallon v. Petraeus)? I wonder if this truly happened.
“For instance, there is a budding debate about federalism among Iraq’s leaders and, importantly, within the Sunni community.”
Can there be any doubt that federalism/partition is the new paradigm? Bottoms Up!