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March 14, 2008

Quick Hits: Petraeus, Pentagon and Hiatt
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

Unfortunately, don't have time to blog these things today, but too many interesting stories to not do a quick post.

  • Apparently General Petraeus doesn't think things are going as well as Mike O'Hanlon  and John McCain do.  Iraqis are not making "sufficient progress" 
  • ABC posts the entire report (PDF) that the Pentagon essentially decided not to post online, regarding the lack of connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.  I guess it's pretty stupid to think that you could actually keep something off the Internet in this day and age.
  • Fred Hiatt and Co. have a silly silly piece about Admiral Fallon this morning.  Apparently Fallon endangered our national security by stating that we weren't going to imminently bomb Iran.  They argue that this reduces U.S. leverage.  It's true that threatening to use the military as leverage in negotiations can be helpful.  But it's much more productive when done subtly or by the simple fact that everyone knows the U.S. has the strongest military in the world.  You don't get much in negotiation by blatantly and brazenly threaten war.  All that does is make diplomatic negotiations impossible (Not really a good trust building exercise).   The WaPo and the Administration should take a lesson from Teddy Roosevelt:  "Speak softly and carry a big stick."


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Also, threatening to bomb them would be much better leverage in negotiations if we were actually negotiating with them.

A very good point Bob

The Post's story is fantasy. Here is what MNF-I had to say about that interview:


Press Release 080314a
March 14, 2008

Transcript of General Petraeus Interview with the Washington Post on
Government of Iraq Progress

Today's Washington Post inaccurately characterized the discussions
General Petraeus and their reporters had yesterday. During the one-hour
interview General Petraeus never intimated or stated that Iraqi leaders
have "failed to take advantage of a reduction in violence to make
adequate progress toward resolving their political differences."

The Washington Post has been asked to make a correction on this
statement and we are awaiting their decision.

The following transcript is from an interview with the Washington Post's
Sudarsan Raghavan, Joshua Partlow and Cameron Barr of Gen. Petraeus'
comments on the Government of Iraq's economic and political progress.

GENERAL PETRAEUS: ...The government does have to achieve
legitimacy in the eyes of many in the Sunni Arab community, if not most.
There's no question. Actually, it has to achieve legitimacy in the eye
of all Iraqis...... and that can only come by improving the level of
services, again -- some of which are going to take some time, but some
of which they can do in a...

WP: But they have political power. Anbar wants political power.

GENERAL PETRAEUS: And they will get it. But again, that's why
they want provincial elections. That's why the provincial powers law and
the subsequent provincial election laws are so important. I mean that's
why Ambassador Crocker and I have repeatedly noted that, you know, it's
crucial that the Iraqis exploit the opportunity that we and our Iraqi
counterparts have fought so hard to provide them. And they did start