Can anyone explain General Petraeus’ answer?
A follow-up to my previous post about the Iraq Government. How real is it, in terms of the usual criteria: attributes of sovereignty, authority, and legitimacy.
Here is an excerpt from an interview of General Petraeus by Austin Bay (Colonel, US Army Reserve, retired), posted at his blog on 5 August 2008 (hat tip to Zenpundit). Can anyone explain what the General said in reply to “please comment on a sovereign Iraq emerging as a US ally”? It is probably the most important question of the war for America, determining if we get anything in return for our expenditure of blood and money. Bold emphasis added.
AUSTIN BAY: Gen. David Petraeus, let’s pick up on your rheostat analogy. You’re giving us a conditions-based approach to assessing victory in a very intricate, complex and long struggle. Now this is an incremental victory-one step up; a half-step back. Enemy action results in a coalition response; coalition actions result in an enemy response. That’s war among human beings. It strikes me that some of those conditions include a sovereign Iraq that is largely responsible for its own internal security, but is also a United States ally.
These are some of the conditions mentioned in the Update Strategic Overwatch videoat the ArenaUSA.com. That said; if you would, please comment on a sovereign Iraq emerging as a US ally.
Did you get a chance to look at that video?
GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS: Just briefly, I’m afraid, Austin. But let me just come back to what you just said because the way you stated that is exactly right. It is incremental, and it does have fits and starts. It is this exercise of pushing the stone up a hill, a Sisyphean endeavor at times where you do make two steps up and one step back. Sometimes you get one step up and two steps back.
But, overall, over the course of the past year or so, really since the start of the surge of offenses in particular, that was the large comprehensive offensive launched in June 2007 when we had all of the surge brigades on the ground, since that time, there has been a fairly steady degree of improvement week in/week out, month in/month out. Certainly, again, there have been flare-ups at times. The militia counterattacks, when Prime Minister al-Maliki ordered Iraqi forces and the Basra, were really quite a substantial – more than a flare-up.
But, over time, those were dealt with, more than dealt with, in fact, and very severe losses inflicted on the militia.
Please share your comments by posting below (brief and relevant, please), or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).
Other posts about the fragmentation of Iraq and the end of the War
- Lessons Learned from the American Expedition to Iraq (29 December 2005)
- The Iraq insurgency has ended, which opens a path to peace (13 March 2007)
- Beyond Insurgency: An End to Our War in Iraq (27 September 2007)
- Iraq, after the war (20 May 2008)
- Iraq wonders if America will respect them in the morning (5 June 2008)
- Slowly the new Iraq becomes visible (18 July 2008)
Go here to see an archive of my posts about the Iraq War.