Saturday, September 08, 2007

Keep your eye on Petraeus - Part Four

This morning, the photo accompanying The New York Times article about General Petraeus’s appearance in Washington, D.C. for the upcoming Congressional hearing about progress in Iraq was rather amazing. The caption: “ANOTHER WAR, 40 YEARS AGO: Gen. William C. Westmoreland briefed Congress in 1967 on what he described as gains in Vietnam. President Bush hopes a general will bolster his case for Iraq.”

The Vietnam War ended on April 30, 1975. Will we be in Iraq for another 8 years? MoveOn has cleverly captured President Bush’s comments about “progress” in Iraq over the past several years:

So now we have General Petraeus as President Bush’s political spear-carrier as he appears before Congress on September 11th to talk about progress in Iraq.

I posted about General Petraeus on January 26, as he headed to Iraq shortly after being confirmed by the Senate as the new U.S. Commander in Iraq. I referred to the counterinsurgency manual that Petraeus authored in which he had stated that 120,000 troops would be needed to secure Baghdad, but he reasoned that the roughly 32,000 American troops that would be deployed in the capital under the plan would be enough.

On March 20, I posted Keep your eyes on Petraeus - Part Two linking to my favorite Middle Eastern expert, Juan Cole who posted this comment on March 19 at Informed Comment: “General Petraeus, in the meantime, is signalling that his own patience is not infinite, and that if he can't see a genuine improvement in the security situation by June [bolding mine], he would have an obligation to his own troops to say so. It is so refreshing to hear that kind of language from the Pentagon after all those years of Donald Rumsfeld's despicable disregard for the welfare of the troops he was supposed to be leading….”

Part Three on Petraeus was posted on April 16, in which I linked to Robert Fisk’s April 11 article in the UK Independent, Divide and Rule - American's Plan for Baghdad, in which Fisk describes the latest security plan concocted by General Petraeus to seal off vast areas of Baghdad.

Update: According to todays' New York Times article, Troop Buildup,Yielding Slight Gains, Fails to Meet U.S. Goals, “The hulking blast walls that the Americans have set up around many neighborhoods have only intensified the city’s [Baghdad] sense of balkanization.”

When I listen to General Petraeus on September 11, what do I need to remember? On July 19, Glenn Greenwald at posted How much credence should Gen. Petraeus' reports be given - The source being depicted as the Objective Oracle on Iraq has a long history of extreme optimism about the progress we were making in the war. If you don’t read anything else before September 11, read this. Greenwald has exhaustively listed the countless times in the past that General Petraeus has sunnily reported on progress in Iraq.

(photo: The New York Times, Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

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