Petraeus Testimony

Watching the testimony, one thing is clear Petraeus and Crocker are a lot more honest than McCain or Lindsey Graham or Joe Lieberman (although not sure that’s a compliment so much as an abysmally low threshold).

Petraeus took on the job of Iraq voluntarily because he believed in the mission and wanted to serve and no doubt wanted to make a name for himself. (He’s known as quite ambitious which doesn’t bother me but it is part of the mix). That is to say he is more or less a straight shooter as the saying goes but clearly is highlighting elements that serve his overall vision. Petraeus at least is honest enough to admit it will take a 10 year effort at the current levels–of troops and bloodshed–to achieve victory.

That is at the very least far more realistic than McCain’s tomfoolery (he mistook al-Qaeda as a Shia group today—again!!!) and sloganeering. McCain somehow believes the US is going to get to some spot where our troops aren’t being killed in some Korea-like DMZ in Iraq. This guy could legitimately be President of the United States–and under the label of a National Security Expert? “How Long O Lord?”

In the real world (as opposed to whatever Fantasyland the Arizona Senator resides in), as long as US troops are in Iraq they will be killed at the current rate (if not worse). And wounded and scarred permanently, and continue to undermine the military. Even Petraeus concedes as much.

Petraeus has been given responsibility for Iraq and only Iraq. Therefore by design his job is not regional nor yet global strategy. That was the job of Admiral Fallon who correctly stated that the US Army & Marines can not sustain the halt and period of “assessment and consolidation” Petraeus calls for. For that, Fallon was canned (also because he made that knowledge public).

Where Petraeus can be legitimately criticized seems to me is either beating the drums himself or not preventing the war drum beat on Iran. But again that gets back to the central issue. He’s there for Iraq and the strategy of Iraq was a failure and Iran always had as Thomas Barnett said, a veto in Iraq. Iran made clear to the US that they would support the invasion so long as they got to be part of the calvary and if they weren’t, they would leave the US holding the bag, make their life hell, and exercise their veto. Which is exactly what has transpired.

At least we didn’t have a replay of the God awful General Betray-us stuff. Look the issue is always has always been the President. Gen. Petreaus, Ambd. Crocker are not there to set US policy. The President is. He like LBJ does not want to be the guy who lost Iraq (Vietnam), so continues an escalation (not a surge, never was as is clear now from the call for a stoppage of the troop reductions), and therefore hands off the problem to his successor. He abdicates his responsibility. The President. The guy who claims he identifies with Harry Truman. He is rather the anti-Truman who fired a famous general you may recall for promoting an unwinnable escalation of the then conflict. As in Harry “The Buck Stops Here” Truman. The Buck Never seems to stop at the White House now.

Forget Petraeus, forget Iraq even for a second (if you can)–pull back the curtain and the answer stares you right in the face. Bush has no strategy. There is no strategy. There is no global strategy. Good guys versus bad guys may work in Cowboys and Indians Films but they don’t work in the world of 21st century geopolitics.

All of the criticism should be aimed at the President. All of it. That is where it belongs. He is the Commander in Chief; he is to set policy and strategy not General Petraeus. That the opposite has happened is to be laid on the doorstop of a failed and feckless President. Period.

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Published in: on April 8, 2008 at 3:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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