Petraeus: Lots of Smoke. No Fire Yet.
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg
I have to agree with Kevin.
I am getting more and more suspicious of General Petraeus and these assertions that violence is actually down in Iraq. There is no smoking gun and I hope that I am wrong about this, but there are just too many question marks out there. Individually they don't raise suspicions, but combined they make me very skeptical.
There is a lot of smoke. But as of yet no fire. Reporters and legislators alike need to take a very careful look at him and the numbers that are presented in the White House report.
- The McClatchy article from a couple of weeks back where the military asserted that violence was down but “declined to provide specific numbers, and statistics gathered by McClatchy Newspapers don’t support the claim.”
- The AP reported this weekend that by their count sectarian violence has doubled this year.
- The fact that the Iraqi ministry of health has stopped sharing its numbers with the UN. So there is no independent verification of the violence numbers.
- The fact that Petraeus commented on the NIE and helped "soften" the language on the security situation
- His Washington Post op-ed in 2004 which touted the success of Iraqi security forces, 6 weeks before the election. Turns out it wasn’t going as well as he said it was.
- The fact that the U.S. military in the past has gone out of its way to specifically undercount "sectarian killings" to make it look like there was progress
- The fact that Petraeus's entire career and legacy is tied to the “surge” and its success
Just some food for thought.