David Petraeus

American Idol

When James Fallows noted that war supporters had turned David Petraeus into the "New Jesus," Fallows, of course, didn't mean it literally. But maybe he should have. Here's mini-Hugh Hewitt Dean Barnett writing about Bill Kristol's triumphant return from Iraq: Kristol had been in Iraq for almost two weeks. It was a pretty serious trip ? he saw much of the country and got to break bread with General Petraeus. No word on whether Kristol saw Petraeus walk on the Tigris. --Jason Zengerle

I agree with Andrew that it's disappointing, to say the least, that David Petraeus would go on right-wing partisan shill Hugh Hewitt's radio show. That said, after reading the transcript, I thought Petraeus acquitted himself fairly well. He was obviously optimistic about the surge, but his optimism seem to be tempered by realism--and, just as importantly, he refused to let Hewitt lead him into backing up some particularly wing-nutty views on Iraq.

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Redefining Success

For some time now, people have been saying that, when Gen. David Petraeus testifies about the "surge" in September, Republicans are going to start hopping off the war train if things haven't turned around. (That was supposedly the upshot of the meeting between 11 House Republicans and President Bush earlier this month.) But that left open the possibility that the White House would just send Petraeus to Congress to claim success no matter what was happening. And, according to Julian Barnes of the Los Angeles Times, that's precisely what's going to happen: U.S.

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IRAQ IS NOT VIETNAM, but the United States is in danger of recreating one of the most tragic elements of that earlier war. Then, we repeatedly fed new resources—manpower, money, political capital—into the war without changing our strategic approach until it was too late. The additional increments of soldiers and supplies allowed us to keep the war going but were never enough to produce the results we sought.

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Mincing Words

As you probably know, Harry Reid said the other day that the war "is lost." Pressed about that quote on CNN this evening, Reid's main defense amounted to repeating General David Petraeus's argument that the war "can't be won militarily." But that's a very different point. Petraeus was arguing for the necessity of a political settlement--one he still apparently thinks possible. (Although I'll grant that Petraeus sounded alarmingly discouraged in this article.) I don't think it's at all ridiculous to call the war a lost cause.

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War at Home

Of all the depressing ways that the war in Vietnam has been replayed in Iraq—the failed architect of the war being promoted to World Bank chief, the failed ground commander being promoted to Army chief of staff, congressional Democrats reverting to Vietnam-type, the whole rotten litany—nothing can top the belated dispatch to Iraq of David Petraeus, a general who actually knows what he's doing.

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The Wrong Surge

  Ramadi, Iraq—It’s the second week of December, yet apart from a palm tree strung with Christmas lights outside the headquarters of the First Armored Division’s First Brigade Combat Team (1-1 AD), Ramadi shows no trace of the season. But, at the nearby house of Sheik Abdul Sattar, nothing can interrupt the festive spirit— or the sheik. Waving a lit cigarette, the former Al Qaeda ally has been advertising his fealty to the American cause for nearly an hour now.

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