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Ear to the Ground

Iraq by the Numbers with Petraeus

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Posted on Sep 10, 2007

Opening his testimony before Congress on Monday with the insistence, “I wrote this testimony myself,” and adding that his Iraq progress report hadn’t been vetted in advance, Gen. David Petraeus trotted out figures and charts to argue that “the military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met.”


From Gen. Petraeus’ report via The Politico:

In recent months, in the face of tough enemies and the brutal summer heat of Iraq, Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces have achieved progress in the security arena.  Though the improvements have been uneven across Iraq, the overall number of security incidents in Iraq has declined in 8 of the past 12 weeks, with the number of incidents in the last two weeks at the lowest levels seen since June 2006.

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By THOMAS BILLIS, September 11, 2007 at 10:40 am Link to this comment
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I am watching David “call me Westmoreland"Petraeus spin his once upon a time story about Iraq and I wonder does Bush make everyone around him stupid or do they just dumb down their remarks to make Bush look smart.How can these guys as happened in Vietnam literally wash their careers down the tubes in defense of a policy that was created by a moron.In ten years some hot shot officer will write"Dereliction Of Duty 2” concerning this war and we will read how we were let down by the current military who inspite of pledging loyalty to the Constitution will instead stay loyal to Bush.

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By Stephen Smoliar, September 11, 2007 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

farmertx (#99768), while it is true that China has not engaged their military forces against the United States, they now own enough American debt that they no longer need military strength to dominate us.  Clauswitz has been turned on his head:  Economics is now war by other means!

Your point about the Republicans is well taken;  but, much as I would like to believe otherwise, the problem is shared across both sides of the aisle.  Check out this morning’s BBC report:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6989423.stm

This is not a showcase for Petraeus and Crocker.  It is “publicity on the job” for every member of Congress currently trying to get into the White House!  So, in spite of my previous idealistic remarks about accountability (#99675), all we really have is an over-crowded field of candidates desperately trying to differentiate themselves!

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By Leefeller, September 11, 2007 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

See, Bush is listening to his general’s or is it the other way around?

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By farmertx, September 11, 2007 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

While it is true that Congress controls the purse strings, not enough Republican’s are able to admit publiclly that they allowed a cheerful idiot to lead them down the primrose path.
Their rationale is that the troops would be left hanging.
Sorta like the troops who had to endure Walter Reed before it was exposed.
The old bugabear, We have to fight them there or fight them here, is dragged out. That is what they told us during ‘Nam.
We cut and ran in ‘Nam and still haven’t been attacked by North Vietman, the Viet Cong, North Korea or China, so that logic seems lame.
But many otherwise sane people still mouth the mantra.
As one poster pointed out, cherrypicking of data can prove any point, right or wrong.
Shrub will not allow any contrarian data to be used by his hand picked people.
Petraeus insisting that he wrote the report himself is a strange way to lead off. He might have, but he was using the ‘facts’ as approved by the Shrub and no others.
Just another version of Westy from ‘Nam days.

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By sharerisk, September 10, 2007 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

$1 trillion and counting.  That’s the cost of the war so far.

All this non-economic hot air about war being an extension of foreign policy, quotes from Causwitz, yada, yada, yada is meaningless in this war.  The current war is being financed by the Wall Street Warlords, and high ranking crime families and clans in power.  their only interest is the bottom line at the end of the day.

There is no Prussian image of imperial glory, or Anglicising the world, no matter how misguided they were in their time.  Sure they were financed by the then bankers and financiers,some of whom still remain.  But a large part of the English aristocracy truly believed in “civilizing” the world in the English Weltenschaung.  That’s why it produced internal contradictions such as Churchill - - a brute(hating Gandhi viscerally) and a warrior against Hitler - - at the same time.

Yes, I know all the post hoc economic rationales for Churchill, but they do not wash.  And I also know the arguments of the French-Euro Heidelberg School of “individuals do not make a difference” - - only vast socio-political “evolutionary” trends matter.  There is some substance in this, but the daily dynamic of history and sudden technological change do not necessarily lead to some pre-determined broad trends.

Witness the Bush Incompetency.  That is going to change the course of history, though it was not the neocons intended course.

On this war, the financiers have lost their shirts.  The occupation is being maintained at tremendous, unreturned and unsustainable cost in REAL WEALTH (not paper currency) to the Empire.  Thus the only benchmark that is important is the OIL LAW by Iraq that will hand over $7trillion of the $10 trillion in oil wealth under the desert to the Wall Street Warlords.

Otherwise the WSW have told the crime families they cannot finance another war.

But the Iraqi Shias (unlike the Saudi Sunnis) are not stupid.  They are going to drag this out until Wall Street collapses.  And even if they sign a piece of paper under the canon of an Abrams tank, no oil is going to get out of the ground and make it to tankers through any pipeline.

So the key issue progressives should keep track of is:  “Where is the money to extend the occupation?”
Do you see signs of turmoil on Wall Street?  the bankers are jumping off the ship.  Only fundamentalist Judeo-Christian brain dead crazies and militarists remain faithful to the crime clans.  What these sods are living on is a mystery, but even they will have to finance their theocratic masterbation eventually.

Petraeus knows.  He is just mothing Chenney talking points; that’s all. And choking over them.

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By Enemy of State, September 10, 2007 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

“we need to get some prospective here before our collective madness destroys this nation.”

  Uh, Uh, perspective, we don’t do that!

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By Stephen Smoliar, September 10, 2007 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment

Presumably, the Congress will now have the opportunity to question General Petraeus on both the specifics of his report and his general impressions beyond those specifics.  I would hope that a good way to begin the conversation would be to ask for those “general impressions” pertaining to that report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) at the end of last month:

http://therehearsalstudio.blogspot.com/2007/08/chutzpah-of-gentlemans-c.html

I, for one, would like to know if the General thought that the eighteen target goals that formed the basis of the GAO report were realistic.  If so, did he agree with the GAO conclusion that only three of the goals were met;  and, if not, would he be able to come up with a set of goals that he WOULD regard as realistic.  The bottom line is that the Congress still controls the power of the purse;  and I would hope that most of the members of Congress believe that their constituents want the government’s money to be well spent (not only in Iraq, of course).  I suppose another way of putting this is by asking the General that, if the President were not his EX OFFICIO Commander-in-Chief, would he buy this used war from the White House?

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By vet240, September 10, 2007 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

Isn’t it ironic that bu$h had the opportunity to serve his beloved military leaders in Vietnam but chose not too.

Now, being the imbecile he is, he says the military knows best how to conduct this war.

Harry Truman told another ego-maniac General MacArthur (and the entire military chain of command) that wars are too important to allow Generals to run them and he was right. War is about International relations. Wars, and the determination to enter into one, must be run by our cowardly Congress as the Constitution calls for.

Instead of stepping up on 9/12/2001 and demanding calm they all were thinking about their political hides.

The fact is that in the almost 6 years since that date about 120,000 Americans have been killed on our streets with firearms and another 260,000 have been killed on our federally mandated highway systems. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

While the act of 9/11 was horrendous to watch unfold on live TV, we need to get some prospective here before our collective madness destroys this nation.

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