Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sunday Times hit piece on General Petreus

With Sabrina feeling a bit under the weather, and Marcie preparing for her first day of school tomorrow, it falls to me to handle the site today. I can't promise I'll put up a ton of posts, but I figured I'd start with this. It's an out-and-out hit piece on General Petreus by the Sunday Times. They refer to him as "General Betreus," (isn't that cute?) and their primary gripe is that he's "too ambitious" politically:

AFTER being hailed as King David, the potential saviour of Iraq, the US commander General David Petraeus is facing a backlash in advance of his report to Congress in September on the progress of America’s troop surge.

Critics, including one recently retired general, are privately calling him “General Betraeus” on the grounds that he is too ambitious to deliver a balanced report on the war.

Lawrence Korb, a defence official under Ronald Reagan who is now at the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank, said Petraeus was regarded as “the most political general since General [Douglas] Mac-Arthur”, a reference to the second world war hero who was touted as a possible president.

Opponents of the troop surge believe that President George W Bush has been hiding behind Petraeus’s reputation for too long. “The president says the surge is the ‘Petraeus’ strategy. Petraeus should say, ‘No, I work for the president. This is his strategy’,” said Korb. “He is very ambitious and there’s nothing wrong with that, but his ambition may be used in an inappropriate way.”

Petraeus, who studied at Princeton and co-wrote the US army’s new counter-insurgency doctrine, is widely regarded as one of the brightest soldiers of his generation. He has an impressive grasp of military history - including British operations against 1950s Malayan insurgents and in Northern Ireland during the Troubles - as well as the physical stamina, at 54, to go on regular 10-mile runs with his troops. Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star general, describes Petraeus as “brilliant”.

One senior military source said Petraeus could be ambitious enough to move into politics one day. But the general would be looking for “bipartisan support” for his strategy in Iraq and was likely to give an accurate picture of progress on the ground.

Frederick Kagan, a military historian at the American Enterprise Institute and advocate of the surge, said Petraeus would deliver an honest assessment: “Even if it were true that he is too ambitious, and I don’t agree with that, if he makes some compromise that leads to failure in this conflict, that’s not in his interest at all.” According to a poll by CNN/Opinion Research Corp on Friday, 53% of Americans believe the report will try to make the situation in Iraq sound more favourable than it is. Only 43% said they trusted the US commander to give an objective picture.
Adding to suspicions, the report - based on recommendations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Iraq - will be written by White House staff. But both men will testify in public before Congress.

The report is expected to highlight progress in Anbar province and only patchy success in restoring order to Baghdad.

Crocker is said to have almost given up trying to persuade Nouri Al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, to come to a political accommodation with the Sunnis and is concentrating his efforts on wooing tribal sheikhs.

Petraeus and his second-in-command, General Ray Odierno, are seeking sufficient support to continue the surge until April. Odierno said last Friday that plans were under way to reduce troops to presurge levels by August 2008. By then the US presidential election will be only three months away and the White House is hoping to take some of the political sting out of the war.

Politically ambitious? Since when? The man knows what his mandate from the president was: To secure Baghdad, and other violent hot spots to give the Iraqis a chance to finish the political side of the Iraqi equation. And he's doing that. Is it an overwhelming success? For the most part, yes it is. Areas thought uncontainable have been quelled, and the Iraqis are helping the troops root out the terrorists they come across. Al Qaeda in Iraq is on the ropes, and begging for help. And, as predicted, they're launching their "Tet" now before Petreus gives his report to Congress in the hope that such an offensive will woo the round-heeled ones in Congress to end the US presence there.

The media, especially in Britain, hasn't been too kind to the surge strategy, or to General Petreus. I'd love to know who coined the term "King David" for General Petreus, but it's wholly incorrect. the man is a soldier. He has been asked to do a seemingly impossible task, and he's succeeding. He's using his tactics that he helped co-write. Anything that works is kept. Tactics that don't work are tossed aside. While he is running his book virtually by the numbers, he's not afraid to adapt his tactics.

And I like how they hyped the severely skewed CNN poll without the caveat that the two questions regarding Petreus, his report, and whether people will believe him only sampled HALF of those polled. Kind of a funny way to run a poll, don't you think?

The Sunday Times did their job. They smeared Petreus, and it's got a lot to do with their constant pestering of Gordon Brown on the issue of withdrawing British troops from Iraq. The media is obviously a tad to biased on this issue, and they show their blatant dishonesty with this piece.

Publius II


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