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September 12, 2007

Gerson and Petraeus - Birds of a Feather . . .
Posted by Michael Cohen

In today's Washington Post, Michael Gerson has written one of the more galling pieces I've read about Iraq in a long, long time - and that is saying something.

First, Gerson accuses Democrats of unfairly slandering General David Petraeus. Let me say, right off the bat this is a joke. Petraeus is clearly and deliberately misleading both Congress and the American people about the true situation in Iraq. Instead of being praised he should be vilified for putting the lives of his troops at risk for what is clearly a failed mission. Don't believe me: ask Admiral Fallon. Petraeus is as much a political hack as Gerson.

Next he argues that "on Petraeus's brief watch, al-Qaeda in Iraq has suffered a major setback."

Really, how many times do we have to remind these jokers that AQI is not the issue here - a point well made by Andrew Tilghman in the Washington Monthly. What about that civil war, Mike?

But Gerson goes on:

In Baghdad, the Petraeus counterinsurgency strategy -- a kind of community policing with very serious firepower -- has reduced sectarian murders significantly.

Others, such as my colleague Ilan have done an excellent job of pointing out that these assertions are simply unsupportable -- and to my earlier point that Petraeus is deliberately putting our misleading numbers about the extent of sectarian violence and civilian casualties.

But who's really to blame here - the Democrats, of course. Because in their view, according to Gerson;

Anything less than perfection in reaching a series of benchmarks is evidence of failure and reason for retreat.

Perfection? How about a scintilla of evidence that the surge is creating real momentum for political reconciliation or is laying the groundwork for a sustainable decrease in violence.

But really, Gerson's only getting started:

Former senator John Edwards, bobbing like a cork on every current of the left, calls for "No timeline, no funding. No excuses" -- a sudden cutoff of resources for American combat troops. Other critics recommend that American forces withdraw into a noncombat, supportive role, with a "small footprint," while unprepared Iraqis are pushed into the lead -- exactly the strategy that led to the escalation of violence in 2006. These are not serious options.

These are not serious options? But continuing the same course of action that HAS NOT led to a significant and sustainable decrease in violence and HAS NOT led to political reconcilation . . . apparently that is a serious option.

Instead Gerson falls back on this Alice in Wonderland scenario,

Grass-roots progress . . .will eventually produce more responsible, pragmatic political leaders -- Sunnis who oppose al-Qaeda and Shiites who fight Iranian influence -- as well as more capable and professional Iraqi military forces.

Or more likely it will lead to the further partitioning of the country. Or even more likely, it will strengthen the hand of those like Moqtada Sadr, who aren't exactly interested in reconciliation with Shiites Sunnis! And almost assuredly it will not end the civil war and the violence in Iraq. I have seen zero reason to believe that this scenario is anywhere close to being realized - and Gerson certainly doesn't provide it.

But my favorite part comes at the end. Gerson argues that according to Petraeus, "future reduction . . .will be based on conditions in Iraq, not timelines. And those conditions are hard to predict." Yet not five paragraphs later, Gerson does his own bit of iron-clad prognistication:

We know, however, one thing: If he is slandered, his advice is dismissed and Congress cuts off funding for the troops he commands, defeat in Iraq will be certain.

Does the Washington Post editorial page even read these things before they go out?

Petraeus and Gerson: they're both hacks, enabling a failed and discredited policy. They deserve each other - the same can't be said for the rest of the country.


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Few of these deep thinkers can see (or don't want to see) the big picture: The US, having failed to keep Iraq under its thumb as a result of a democracy movement, and faced with an Islamic Iraqi state allied with Iran, has shifted direction. The US is now arming Sunni 'dead-enders' (heretofore GI-killers) and cranking up the propaganda machine, with the help of the Washington Post, to attack Iran. Petraeus the PhD understands this and is an integral and loyal part of this movement. Time for another Petraeus op-ed? Or, as before, next September, just in time for the election again.

There is no serious opposition from the Dems, but the lionizing of Petraeus has, in effect marginalized his superiors Gates, Mullen and Fallon, as well as Rice. Will they be heard from?

The right wing is doing what the right wing does best, attacking others.

If you are the party of no ideas, what else do you have? Nothing.
The right wing constantly exposes the moral abyss that is the Republican party.

Don's right. The US has decided that if the choice is between Iraq in a state of endless civil war and Iraq with a strong central goverment that is friendly to Iran, they'll pick civil war.

It cannot be repeated or emphasized enough: The United States Army is not a source of "stability" in Iraq.

This is even more true now that we've decided that instability, at least within Iraq, is in our national interest.

BUSHBOY'S BIG TEARS -- Here's a photograph of Bushboy formulating his strategy for the next six months in Iraq:

The one comforting thing to come out of the focus on Admiral Fallon and his disagreement with Petraeus is that we know that there is at least one upper echelon military commander who is actually paying attention to the decaying situation in Afghanistan and is casting a wary eye at Pakistan.

Not all of them have been snookered and blinded by the Bush administration into focusing on the convenient enemies of Syria and Iran, or consumed by the Iraqi clusterfuck.

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