January 23, 2007

LISTEN TO THE GENERALS: Gen. Petraeus on the surge:

Sen. Edward Kennedy asked him why an extra 21,500 would make a significant difference.

Petraeus replied that the important factor was how extra troops are used, not their numbers.

Here’s what I said: “I don’t think the number of troops is nearly as important as what we’re doing with them.”

Will we be doing the right thing? I’m not sure, but I suspect Petraeus is a better judge than me on that topic.

UPDATE: At least me and the General have our stories straight, which is more than you can say for some . . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Interesting milblog comment:

Seems you can’t walk five feet in DC without somebody proclaiming the mission in Iraq a failure. Ok, that’s all fine and good, but I’m struck by what seems to be an utter lack of perspective regarding the distinction between “failure” and “success.”

Those opposed to the war (both old-school opponents and the new ones) often talk derisively about how optimistic supporters of removing Saddam were. Trotting out sarcastic references to the claim that we’d be greeted as liberators (we were), and that the push into Baghdad would be a “cakewalk” (it largely was), those opponents now are the first to cite to our current efforts there as failure.

What would a “well-run” occupation and creation of a sovereign civil gov’t look like? How long would that [take]? Even if the administration did all the things its critics say it should have, Shiia would still be in a newfound position of power and Sunni/Baathist would be relegated to minority status. Al Qaeda and other foreign fighters would still be coming into the country, and attacks would still be occurring. Would they be occurring less frequently? Perhaps. Or alternatively, they’d not be as centralized around Baghdad.

Either way, to think that a “well-run” occupation would have eliminated these problems is just ignorant and belies an unserious approach to what we’re actually doing in Iraq.

It certainly didn’t prevent problems back during Reconstruction.

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