Ray Odierno

Had the president chosen some one else, a cry would have risen up from the demos: why not Petraeus? In an age when generals are seldom heroes, David Petraeus was a true hero. Not because he catered to the press or to Congress or, for that matter, to the military intellectuals.

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Sunday is election day in Iraq—the second national parliamentary vote since the American-led invasion in 2003. U.S. officials maintained this week that Obama’s plan to withdraw all American combat troops by September 1st is still on track, but that’s almost certainly untrue if the elections don’t go smoothly.

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The Situationalist

One of the more intriguing stories of the Iraq War is how General Ray Odierno metamorphosised from the door-kicking tough guy of 2003 to the culturally sensitive counterinsurgent of today. It's a story that has yet to be told (even Tom Ricks, who portrays Odierno quite harshly in Fiasco and quite positively in The Gamble, never really explains the General's transformation).

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Not So Fast

When it comes to Iraq, "withdrawal" seems to be the word of the day. In Washington, the incoming administration has revived the Obama campaign's 16- month timetable for removing combat troops from Iraq.

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