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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Patraeus Doesn’t Know if Iraq Strategy is Making America Safer

posted by on September 11 at 14:14 PM

The news of the day, according to AmericaBlog:

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At least he admits it. Better than saying unequivocally "yes" and having the nation's media tear him down for being dead wrong.

Posted by Katelyn | September 11, 2007 2:38 PM

And it's still spelled "Petraeus."

Posted by Levislade | September 11, 2007 2:40 PM

Well I sure feel better knowing that our top military leaders aren't "sorting out in their own minds" whether the stuff they do is making our country safe.

Posted by Raindog | September 11, 2007 2:52 PM

yowza yowza yowza.

Posted by adrian! | September 11, 2007 2:58 PM

I'm guessing it's not making us safer.

Especially when the major threats to America are Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Posted by Will in Seattle | September 11, 2007 3:12 PM

Raindog @3,

The last thing we want is officers making difficult judgments about the whether the policies they are ordered to caring out are a net plus for the country or not. His job is to improve security in Iraq as much as possible with the number of troops given, in the hope that something good might happen.

I don't need to tell you that that is a pretty pathetic plan, but within the boundaries set by his civilian leadership, I actually think Petraeus is doing a damn good job.

Posted by MHD | September 11, 2007 3:12 PM

Don't you wish that they would hold all of these Congressional hearings in a giant hot tub and we could just throw a toaster in there?

Posted by Original Andrew | September 11, 2007 3:12 PM

@6: His job is to protect the country. His mission right now is to improve the situation in Iraq. If he was doing his job, he'd know whether or not the military is wasting its time on a mission that isn't protecting the country, and when given the opportunity he'd tell the truth to the only people who can do something about it.

Posted by Raindog | September 11, 2007 3:22 PM


I disagree. His job is to uphold the constitution and obey the lawful orders of his chain of command. He's doing that.

Refusing the President's orders because, in his estimation, in made the country less safe, is the opposite of that.

Should he tell the truth? I'd prefer that he did, but in his position I can imagine choosing not to totally undercut the morale and motivation of the troops there with me. There's nothing worse than hearing from the boss that your entire effort is counterproductive.

Posted by MHD | September 11, 2007 3:27 PM

By "the truth", I mean volunteering an opinion about something outside his area of responsibility.

I don't mean to suggest he should lie under oath, etc.

Just for clarification.

Posted by MHD | September 11, 2007 3:29 PM

Who is this guy? All of a sudden he is on the front page of the papers. It's like Darth Vader choked Rumsfeld and turned to this guy and said "You're in command now, General Patraeus- don't disappoint me!!".

Posted by Justin J | September 11, 2007 3:32 PM


He commanded the 101st Airborne Division in the initial invasion, and their occupation was a whole lot more successful than most other units in the Army that first year.

His academic background makes him one of the Army's foremost experts on counterinsurgency. His operational strategy makes a whole lot of sense, although it's too little, too late at this stage in the game.

The Bushies use him to report on Iraq because he's the only one in the whole enterprise with any credibility left. I hope they don't manage to use up and destroy him the way they did to Colin Powell.

Posted by MHD | September 11, 2007 3:40 PM

I don't know about you all, but ever since this Surge began I've felt safer, stronger, and more comfortable. I've never felt so good. Thank you Surge for protecting America!

Posted by Michigan Matt | September 11, 2007 3:41 PM

@9: Where did I suggest that he should refuse anyone's orders? Unless he was ordered to not think, or to lie to Congress, there is no conflict in carrying out his mission and still telling Congress that remaining in Iraq doesn't contribute to the safety of Americans.

And so what if telling the truth injures morale? 3000 dead soldiers probably doesn't help morale either, but we're just going to keep on plugging because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings?

Do you believe Petraeus ought not to be concerned with whether the particular mission he is leading contributes to the safety of the country he's sworn to defend? I don't. I think this concern should be foremost in his mind. And this is his chance to ensure that his country is as safe as it can be.

Posted by Raindog | September 11, 2007 3:52 PM


If all you're suggesting is that you would have preferred he answered the question with his personal opinion, then I agree.

I went off a bit because "for safety of the country" is usually what the generals say just before they start shelling the presidential palace.

And at the same time, I can understand why he didn't, both for the morale reason I cited, and to avoid commenting on a question "above his pay grade."

But sounds like we fundamentally agree.

Posted by MHD | September 11, 2007 3:59 PM

@15: Well, in the interest of getting out of here and enjoying the rest of this beautiful day I'm going to say that a few more posts and we'd settle on a mutually-agreeable position and/or become BFFs and touch each other naughtily. So good day.

Posted by Raindog | September 11, 2007 4:08 PM

Petraeus wrote the book on counterinsurgency for the Pentagon... and that book says we need 520,000 troops to provide security for a population the size of Iraq.

That might shed some light on why the "surge" didn't work.

Posted by Aexia | September 11, 2007 5:19 PM

America's job right now is to protect Israel for Iran, the greatest threat to Israel's security. Despite the whining by the goyium with brains shrivled by their toxic Christian religion, Iraq is in a much better position today to support Israel.

There are now permanent American Air Bases in Iraq, the green zone could be used as a command center in a war with Iran, and Israel can join the US in flying airstrikes out of Iraqi airfields. What's bad about any of that?

Judaism is not against war. We must monunt the Mervkava and sail above the flames of war to glory.

Posted by Issur | September 11, 2007 6:20 PM

Army Officer Appointment Acceptance and Oath of Office

"I (insert name), having been appointed a (insert rank) in the U.S. Army under the conditions indicated in this document, do accept such appointment and do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God."

The rest of you can debate whether Gen. Petraeus is upholding that oath or not.

Posted by COMTE | September 11, 2007 7:10 PM

Peträus is complicit. He had the education and the brains to know right from wrong, and he decided instead to do what it took to run for president on the Republican ticket. (By the way, that name has to be a college-age "adjustment." Like the French foreign legion.)

Q: Does the war in Iraq make America safer?
A: No. Exposing U.S. soldiers to this type of experience will make domestic violence spike in e.g. PA and WV for the next 30 to 50 years. Hell, many of our current soldiers signed up as an indirect result of their fathers' being sent to Vietnam and then never treated. I remember running across a veteran on a hike early in the war and being shocked by recognizing his thousand yard stare, and seeing it in a young kid for the first time, rather than in someone who was known throughout town for beating my schoolmates. We have sown so much evil.

Posted by Amelia | September 12, 2007 12:06 AM

I wish some of the thinkers on this blog were making the decisions. not kidding.

Posted by wishfull | September 12, 2007 1:47 AM

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