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The General Lies

Posted on Sep 11, 2007
Petraeus and Crocker
AP Photo / Gerald Herbert

Of course Gen. David Petraeus predicts success in the Iraq war. What wonders couldn’t generals achieve with more troops and more time? The battle is always going well until it is lost, and then they blame defeat on the politicians and the public.

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There’s no shortage of retired generals who will tell you we could have won in Vietnam if only we had sent more troops, or bombed the dikes in the North, or been willing to kill more than the 3.4 million Vietnamese who died along with 59,000 American soldiers. Instead, the politicians and public, led by that bleeding heart President Richard Nixon, lost the will to win. Thus, the dominoes fell to communism, and Red China and Red Vietnam now rule the world by dint of military force. Have you been to Wal-Mart lately? The triumph of communism is total.

Once again, we have a general repeatedly promising to save Western civilization by turning the corner in yet another intractable and unnecessary foreign war. Back on Sept. 26, 2004, in the weeks before the midterm congressional elections, Petraeus took to the op-ed pages of the Washington Post to make sure the voters didn’t vote wrong. Despite appearances, he claimed the war in Iraq was going very well: “I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up,” Petraeus wrote. “The institutions that oversee them are being re-established from the top down. And Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously. ... There has been progress in the effort to enable Iraqis to shoulder more of the load for their own security, something they are keen to do.”

So keen, it makes one’s heart swell. So keen that three years later, after the expenditure of $450 billion more in taxpayer funds, and more U.S. troops in proportion to the Iraqi population than we had in Vietnam at the height of that war,  the good general now insists it would be disastrous to even think about bringing any American troops home before next summer.

That’s at least another $150 billion and many more Iraqi and U.S. lives wasted. But wait—Ryan C. Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, also testified before Congress this week with Petraeus, and he has more good news about what he still celebrates as the “liberation of Iraq.” Remember that Bush administration promise that the oil-rich Iraqis would pick up the check for the cost of their liberation? Well, Crocker is bullish on that front: the Iraqi economy is on schedule to grow by 6 percent, according to his testimony. Perhaps he is referring to the additional money dumped into Iraq’s economy by American taxpayers chipping in for the “surge.”


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He certainly wasn’t basing his estimate on any improvement in Iraqi oil production or any other economic component. As the International Monetary Fund reported last month in its annual review of Iraq’s economy, “Economic growth has been slower than expected at the time of the last (review) mainly because the expected expansion of oil production has failed to materialize.” In case you haven’t noticed, oil is the Iraqi economy, yet a recent GAO report stated an additional $57 billion in U.S. tax dollars will be needed to bring oil and electricity production to the level where it can satisfy Iraq’s domestic demand by the year 2015.

Ambassador Crocker actually had the nerve to compare the bloody religious fratricide in Iraq, which our inane invasion unleashed, to the American battle over state’s rights, once again reducing the complexities of world history to an easily understood but totally irrelevant example from the American experience. In this case, a better analogy might have been made to the American Indian wars, given that the only thing the United States has been able to do effectively in Iraq is unleash superior firepower. At the current rate, Iraq will be liberated when there are no Iraqis.

Perhaps that is why this week’s ABC/BBC poll shows that 70 percent of Iraqis believe security has deteriorated since the surge began and that 60 percent believe attacks on U.S. forces are justified. And 93 percent of Sunnis, whom the general and ambassador claim are joining our side, want to see us dead. As for optimism, only 29 percent of Iraqis now think the situation will get better, as opposed to 64 percent who shared that optimism before the surge—which almost 70 percent of Iraqis believe has “hampered conditions for political dialogue, reconstruction and economic development.”

So, ambassadors and generals lie. Get used to it.

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By Nabih Ammari, September 29, 2007 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Any one who is interested in reading
more about General David Petraeus’
testimony,to Congress,about the war
in Iraq may wish to check Bill Press’

Mr. Bill Press publishes a weekly
column(Every Thursday)at his wibsite
given above.I happened to find his
columns extremely interesting.His
weekly column is one of my favorite
reading every week.

To make it easier to those who are
new like myself to the blogging
activities,I suggest to follow the following steps to get to the column
about the General:

(1)After you get the theme of the
Website click columns.
(2)Click previous columns.
(3)Look for the column dated September
6,2007,which is entitled"Do Not Believe The General” and click.

Enjoy reading the column or get angry
and disgusted.Either way,it is an eye
opening and opening as wide as you can
see,depending on your ability to
envision and upon the width of your
mental horizon.Try it and reach your
own conclusion.
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By cann4ing, September 18, 2007 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

Leefeller.  Sorry the link didn’t work.  Google democracy  You can then go to the 9/17/07 broadcast and click onto the Naomi Klein interview.

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By Leefeller, September 17, 2007 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment

Checked out the “Shock video” boy those dots keep being connected, when do we run out of dots?

Could not get Amy Goodman’s interview of Naomi Klein,  seems to be taken off?  I will try again.

Great information.

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By cann4ing, September 17, 2007 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

As an addendum to my last post, see also

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By cann4ing, September 17, 2007 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

On the subject of Milton Friedman and the conjunction of his radical economic policies and the goals of the Straussian neoconservatives, see Amy Goodman’s interview of Naomi Klein entitled “The Shock Doctrine:  Naomi Klein on the Rise of Disaster Capitalism.”

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By nappyBlack, September 17, 2007 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

Thanks, brother Bob Scheer for your philippic! We go way back together! Somehow I don’t feel as much dismay!

We, citizens, are oozing about in a truly enormous mélange of lies and fear substantiated dis-information sliming and drawling from this administration and its minions. There was no Iraq - 9/11 connection as odious as Sodom Insane and the Baathists were; and yes, it was their bloody nation and their bloody dark age for them to resist and one - as our whipping boy - which could not attack us even as guerillas. I saw that. I suspected this scenario of this insipid, slow to react little bastard Bush, this fake drawling Vietnam era non-combatant in Air Guard uniform, this preaching treacher of lies for bending the truth and compromising national intelligence and habeas corpus. And I allowed this lying bum with vacuous eyes the benfit of my doubts. I am ashamed and enraged over this protracted conflict…

Try telling the rest of humanity all about the world that we, the people of the United States, are generous and decent, that we are not gangs of urbank or country murderers and ego-driven maniacal imperialists on the swagger, drunk on our money and capital gains, listless moral cowards daily ingesting the smears of the propagandists of the Fox fix - and they heave with laughter and guffaw! Loudly. To them we are simply fatuous and banal and deserve the little hills of ecoli tainted wheat gluten in pet food and lead painted childrens’ toys we get from China. Dr. E.V.Burdick was right we are the Ugly American. Pogo said it, brother: we have met the enemy and he is us!

This noble post and many of the letter writing reader/commentors (certainly not the few idiot/bots and keyboard thumping racist crazies and jingos who write in) clearly shows that we the people of the United States are not quite yet a conscience-less utterly and incomprehensibly demoralized second rate power, though the mass of us are still so appallingly mis-informed and misled. We have a reached the apex of a new low in national prestige, standing and probity in the world. The OTHER is victorious and we as a people may have to withstand being terribly compromised by our selfish materialism, lack of vision, restraint, and wisdom - and be led by our own moral depravity in a foreign policy which seems to suit us above all toward that which I fear in my deepest mind to be the advent of an unbearably new and long dark age before us. There…I said it. Didn’t wanna say it! I fear it and it may come upon us…

I pray (and hell yes I do and unaffraid to affirm that I meditate too!) for the strength and the energy to resist. Listening to Petraeus for a while as I could stand it, I realized that after all I am not ashamed to be an American male but my anger abides and burns so slowly and so evenly with the conduct of this benighted and corrupt executive administration and of the conduct of our people in BOTH parties. For this I am ashamed and disheartened. The democrats - with little difference - are a bad joke and - alas, Gore was right -the bourgeois flip side of the Republicans!

I, also, send a hearty thanks to Ernest Canning for his now voluminously corollary remarks, sensibly good writing and smart commentary. I enjoy you, EC, keep up the good word and the good work. [Speaking rhetorically of course, and tongue-in-cheek also of course, I wonder if Dennis Kucinich and you would like to join with me in resurrecting a powerful, independent and radical third party grass roots organ: I would like to call it - in spite of what the earlier one became eventually - The New Free Soil Party! No, well, thought I’d float it any way!]

Again, thanks Bob…Peace…

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By Stephen Smoliar, September 16, 2007 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment

Having done a bit of my own research, I have not (yet?) uncovered a connection between Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss;  my guess is that she drew her inspiration from other sources, probably not as “elevated” (intentional scare quotes) as the ones Strauss taught!

Regarding the Chicago connection, Strauss was hired by Robert Hutchins into the political science department, where he eventually became a professor of political philosophy.

Thus, he was not directly involved in the activities of the economics department.  Mortimer Adler was one of his supporters.  Hutchins and Adler were the two brightest lights behind the “Great Books of the Western World” project;  and much of what Strauss taught found its way into the “Great Books” collection.  Strauss’ book on liberal education also probably had a lot to do with shaping the thought behind this project.

All this had its origins in the late forties.  The “Chicago School” of economics really did not begin to emerge until the sixties, at a time when Strauss’ primary focus of attention was Plato.  As far as I can tell, the closest Strauss ever got to economic theory was his appointment to the Ministere de L’Economie et des Finances in post-WWII France.

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By cann4ing, September 16, 2007 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Smoliar:  I suppose this is an issue on which you and I have to agree to disagree.  I think Drury’s critique of both of Strauss and of his progeny—Wilmoore Kendall, Harry Jaffe, Allan Bloom and William Kristol—is well thought out and persuasive. 

As to the faculty at the University of Chicago, this is the same university from which Milton Friedman and the supply side economists emerged.  As Kevin Phillips aptly noted, Friedman’s Chicago School of Economis which emerged in the 1960s and 70s produced a “vice-into-civic-virtue theology.”  Phillips observes, “To Friedman, greed was the basis of society.  The challenge of social organization, he said, was to ‘set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm: capitalism is that kind of system’....He dismissed the idea of res publica—a public interest apart from individual and group self-interests.”

Since Straussian neoconservativism fits together with Friedman’s “greed-is-good” economics like hand-in glove, I think your argument against Drury’s analysis simply because Strauss was on the University of Chicago faculty is weak.  Both disciplines are devoted to promoting inequality and serve the interests of the American global empire.

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By Leefeller, September 16, 2007 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

Earnest (100596) and Stephen (several posts)

Your posts have inspired me to do a little research.  Unfolding the truth and how swiftly enlightenment surfaced was like hitting my head with a brick.  Thanks to you guys,  the pieces fell into place.  Now I understand why we have the deception, the constant lies, lack of caring and compassionless tripe coming from our so called leaders. 

If indeed Strauss is the father of neoconservatives, the explanation provides a clear exclamation for the actions we have seen from our government.  For a long time now I have seen the correlation between government and religion. Blindness of religion and the manipulation of government, do make for good bed fellows, as we have seen. 

A total absence of Compassion from Bush and company, our government,  puzzled me, but when you take the neoconservative elite the greed of the concept, it becomes easy to understand, reminds me of solipsism, even seems criminal

It was brought to my attention that “Atlas Shrugs” was and may still be the neoconservative bible.  Possibly Strauss inspired the writing of the book?

This forum has provided food for thought, of which I greatly appreciate. Thank You!

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By Paolo, September 15, 2007 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

Mariam Russell says:

“Paolo, can you spell C-O-N-T-R-O-L O-F O-I-L?”

I’m not sure in what sense you meant this post. But, the point remains: So What? REPEAT: SO WHAT?

The best way to get oil is to buy it. We’ve tried conquering and occupying a third-world country on the far side of the globe, with the result that oil production in Iraq is pitifully low. We’ve spent over half a trillion dollars conquering Iraq, and have less oil than before the invasion. It’s cheaper just to buy the stuff (not to mention no smashed countries, thousands of dead civilians, and general chaos as we try to rule a country where we don’t even speak the language or understand the culture.)

No matter how wicked and benighted an oil-rich country is, it wants to sell its oil. If it makes a big deal out of NOT selling oil to the USA, then the USA buys the oil through other countries. Oil is a commodity; it’s difficult if not impossible to keep it out of the hands of people who are able and willing to pay for it, even if you don’t like them.

The Bush Trotsky-Cons (Neocons are great admirers of Trotsky) are after power, pure and simple. They view control of oil sources as the road to power. In short, they are dictators looking for a pliant population to rule.

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By Mariam Russell, September 15, 2007 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Paolo, can you spell C-O-N-T-R-O-L O-F O-I-L?

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By Paolo, September 15, 2007 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

Would it really be “catastrophic” to the US if we left Iraq?

Let’s imagine a worst-case scenario. We withdraw completely, saving thousands of our own soldiers’ lives, but leaving behind a power vacuum.

The Shi’ite majority establishes a government in either Basra or Baghdad. The Sunni minority fights for its own rights. The civil war continues for a while before Iran, the neighboring country with the most to win or lose, steps in and supports the Shi’ites.

Who knows? Maybe Iraq votes to annex itself to Iran.

So what? Again: SO WHAT? Those countries are on the far side of the globe and are militarily incapable of attacking the USA. What are they going to do? Send their troops over on their pathetic navies to attack our shores?

We are NOT protecting “American Interests” in the Middle East. We are protecting Neocon dictator wannabes’ interests. We are definitely protecting Likud’s (NOT Israel’s) interests. But we are in no way protecting “American” interests.

This should be obvious to everyone.

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By Stephen Smoliar, September 15, 2007 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

Ernest (#100596), there is a good deal of Drury on that AlterNet post that ocjim (#100375) cited.  Reading Strauss is no easy matter, but reading both his disciples and detractors can be far worse.  Strauss was certainly not embraced by the faculty of the University of Chicago for demonizing the idea of a liberal education that Drury makes him out to do.  He was a lot of things;  but he was neither blind nor thoughtless (not, at least, when you approach his substance, rather than his style).  As Lilla observed, both Strauss and Heidegger were occupied by a destiny of history that would end in the nihilism of Nietzsche.  Strauss wanted to change that destiny through the authority of rhetoric rather than the power of the reading matter in his classes.  In so doing he planted the seeds of a new mentality and today’s neoconservatives are the fruits of those seeds.  Perhaps some day we shall return to reading Strauss for his substance, just as we can now read Heidegger without being haunted by his flirtations with the Nazis.

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By cann4ing, September 15, 2007 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

Steven Smoliar:  If you haven’t already done so, I would urge that your read “Leo Strauss & the American Right” by Shadia B. Drury.  Indeed, since Strauss is regarded as the father of neoconservative, Drury’s well-written, academic study should be required reading for all who wish to understand the danger posed by neoconseratism.

Here are some salient features.  Strauss, a German Jew who fled in advance of the Holocaust, believed that the liberalism embodied in the Weimar Republic gave rise to the Nazi regime that followed.  He saw liberalism as nihilistic and skeptical because liberalism rejects the imposition by those in power of a single and indisputable reality.  Strassians are convinced that society requires unwavering faith and unflinching devotion.  They do not flinch from zealotry and fanaticism because these strengthen society where nihilism and skepticism weaken it.

Strauss felt the trouble with liberal society is that it dispenses with noble lies and pious frauds.  Where liberals believe socienty exists for mutual benefit, Strass believed in an irresolvable conflict between the selfish interests of the individual and the interests of society that can only be camouflaged by the lies and deception provided by religion.  Because individuals are selfish & self-centered, they will be willing to sacrafice for others only out of fear of God’s punishment.  Thus, he advocated an elite which was prepared to perpetuate itself through the use of religion as a pious fraud that controls the masses.

Strauss’s neoconservative philosphy is authoritarian and bears a striking similarily to those favored by Hitler’s lead jurist, Carl Schmidt.  For Strauss, truth is to be savored by the few, but is dangerous for the consumption of the many.  Liberal education cultivates a dangerous open-mindedness that erodes attachment to traditions and prejudices.  A true education must inculcate the values of society as absolute and inviolable, while teaching the truth to a small elite intended to govern society indirectly through influence of the powerful—an elite that makes a virtue of lying and dissembling.

Drury suggests that Strauss has produced a blind and thoughtless philosophy.  Its pernicious influence lies in the kind of elites he cultivates—an elite not fit for power because it is neither wise nor good.  Not wise because it cannot defend its beliefs before the tribunal of reason; it preaches only to the converted.  Publishing three years in advance of the Bush regime, Drury presciently observed:  “Manipulation and deceit are likely to result in political failure…when discovered, the people’s trust and faith in the elites will be severely damaged.”

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By 1drees, September 14, 2007 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I hardly see the point in publishing a newsheadline that goes “THE GENERAL LIES” well it would be a nice headline if it was not obvious or if you are NAIVE enough to believe that he “might not lie”

all I expect from Americans and Zionists is LIES, LIES and lies and more lies and bigger lies and humungous lies and patriotic lies and then pure lies and nothing else but lies. my reading of papers & books in the last 20 years or so has trained me only to expect that.
BTW there is a big chance that even this site is a front for the lying devils and nothing else but a site to zero in on the people opposing the MSM brainwashes.

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By Iraq War, September 14, 2007 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Thought this news might be of some interest to your readers:

NEW moveon,org TV ad coming out on monday sept 17th…basically calling president bush a traitor.

Catch it here: TV Ad

For general david betray us fans or not:
General David Betray Us

Have a great weekend!

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By PatrickHenry, September 14, 2007 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

Just as the commander in chief lies so does the general.’s_Watch

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By Stephen Smoliar, September 14, 2007 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

ocjim (#100375), when we deal with a teacher who attracts disciples, we need to be very careful in sorting out the substance of the man’s thought from the style of his pedagogy.  Let me offer the following observation by M. F. Burnyeat (from a 1985 NEW YORK REVIEW article) regarding Strauss’ pedagogical style:

When other teachers invite their students to explore the origins of modern though, they encourage criticism as the road to active understanding.  Understanding grows through a dialectical interaction between the students and the author they are studying.  Strauss asks—or commands—his students to start by accepting that any inclination they may have to disagree with Hobbes (Plato, Aristotle, Maimonides), any opinion contrary to his, is mistaken.  They must suspend their own judgment, suspend even “modern thought as such,” until they understand their author “as he understood himself.”

Note the implication here that the only path to such understanding is through Strauss’ authority!

Let us jump now to THE NEW YORK REVIEW in 2004 and Mark Lilla writing about Strauss’ NATURAL RIGHT AND HISTORY, which Lilla describes as “the founding document of the Straussian school.”

But the real problems with NATURAL RIGHT AND HISTORY are not historical, they are pedagogical.  Its effects on Strauss’s American disciples have been stultifying.  In a little more than three hundred pages, the book offers students unfamiliar with any other account of philosophy’s history an epic, just-so version of it, tracing our intellectual decline from the golden age of Athens to the modern age of iron.  It is a script.  But unlike the script one might be taught in a European high school, along with others, this script gave the United States an important place in the unfolding of history.

This ultimately led to a generation of disciples so taken in by style that substance didn’t matter.  THEY have now given us a generation who have been educated on style WITHOUT substance.  This means that (1) they see no significance in substance and (2) they have the rhetorical skill to survive on style alone.  Here is Lilla on the consequences:

Neoconservatism … is now an essential part of Republican politics, and therefore American life.  But politics demands compromises and alliances.  So it is not unusual in neoconservative Washington to find yourself at an event with a motley collection of people:  older New York intellectuals, professors in exile from politically correct universities, economic visionaries, Teddy Roosevelt enthusiasts, home-schooling advocates, evangelical Protestants, Latin-mass Catholics, Likudniks, and personalities from shock radio.  Sprinkled among them you are sure to find a young Straussian foundation officer who did his doctoral dissertation on, say, Lincoln’s speeches but didn’t get tenure.  Another couldn’t finish his thesis on the politics of Plato’s TIMAEUS and now works as a defense analyst.  Both will patiently explain to you the logical connection between ancient philosophy and the latest press release from the American Enterprise Institute.  It would take a comic genius, an American Aristophanes, to capture the strangeness of this little world.

Whether or not Strauss actually legitimized deception in his texts is actually a non-issue.  If style is all there is, then the truth is irrelevant.  Strauss’ legacy is the authoritarian style with which he taught and the extent to which that style is now the stock-in-trade of political discourse.

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By C Quil, September 14, 2007 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

RE Freedomswatch - one of the founding “fathers” of this group is Ari Fleischer.

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By ocjim, September 14, 2007 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

Stephen Smoliar:
Straussian neoconservatism has influenced the Bush regime for years. The belief is that the elite (neocons) are justified in doing or saying whatever is needed to lead the masses.

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By Stephen Smoliar, September 14, 2007 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

The Wikipedia entry for “Big Lie” cites a passage from MEIN KAMPF that almost certainly predates the aforementioned remark by Goebbels:

Perhaps we should look for other passages in MEIN KAMPF to see what role it is playing as “Scripture” for the current administration!  After all, we can only confront the behavior of thugs once we grasp the hideous logic behind that behavior.

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By rcpmac, September 13, 2007 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

He wasn’t sworn in!  What is the testimony worth?
It was never intended that he tell the truth.  Fuck them all!

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By 911truthdotorg, September 13, 2007 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment

The bush crime family got their game plan from their Nazi masters. This is how they’ve gotten away with 9/11, Iraq, next, Iran and ultimately, martial law.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” - Joseph Goebbels

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By Stephen Smoliar, September 13, 2007 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment

William (#100153), the behavior you attribute to Petraeus and Gonzales is known in the jargon of Continental philosophy as the “objectification of the subject.”  It takes human beings and reduces them to data records.  The Holocaust was probably the most discussed form of this practice.  The practice is now being engaged in what I previously (#100197) called the War Against the Poor.

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By Gusto, September 13, 2007 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

General Betraues will end up just like former general Colin Powell. Both of them risked the professional careers and dignity to go in front of the nation and the world to lie for these arrogant fools and then were left out in left field to defend themselves. The neo-cons does not care about people of integrity, so they exposes them by using them. General Powell is now finish goods after enjoying more credibility than Bush at the time and now Betreaus has just done the same.

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By PatrickHenry, September 13, 2007 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Not to get off the point.

Lately I’ve been noticing has been on primetime TV and radio night and day.

Does anyone know where the money is comming from to finance this mind control blitz?

I can’t believe there are that many people in this country with enough money supporting the war except maybe Zionist media and defense contractors.

To hear those people parrot Bush’s talking points supporting this war makes me want to puke.

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By baker41, September 13, 2007 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can tell you exactly when the Iraq will come to an end.  It will come to an end when the American taxpayers are no longer willing to pay for it.  Until that time arrives, it will continue unabated.  If the American people had not put a stop to it, the war in Vietnam would still be raging at this very moment.

Why is this true?  Because all wars are fought so certain people can become filthy rich and the present war in Iraq is no different from the others.

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By Nitro, September 13, 2007 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Ernest Canning, Mary, TAO, 911truthdotorg, Ga, and all other fellow Americans here. Grab some pop corn and check it out !

To A Better Day ...

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 13, 2007 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Ga #100125, We’ve seen time and again that gleaning the truth from the media and even eye witnesses is nearly impossible and also that people are apt to swallow, hook, line and sinker, anything they hear or read that aligns in even the least way with their own biases.  You’re very lucky you can believe yourself to be more intelligent and informed than most Americans.  Tell them how you do that!

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By timtimes, September 13, 2007 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why are Americans uninformed/stupid?  Who’s at fault?

The politicians are using sophisticated propaganda and the media are playing along.  Fox represents what total government compliance looks like.  To the point of complicity IMHO.  Fox totally jumped the shark when Bill O promised to stop cheerleading the war if no WMD were found.  Did that happen?

The President attacked Iraq after 19 Saudi’s attacked us. He and his aides repeatedly used the bully pulpit (along with nearly all the media) to deceive the public into a fake war with Iraq (btw, not everybody believed in the WMD lies, but that’s another of their oft repeated war lies. see Scott Ritter).

The truth is available online, but not everybody has the time and access.  I wish people had better common sense, but in the final analysis, Bush has only got about 30 percent support and I think that’s being generous.  It’s inspiring to see the vast majority of people are FINALLY aware even as I wish it could have happened in time to avoid the current disasters.


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By C Quil, September 13, 2007 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

How about this for a Petraeus description?
And if Fallon leaves, it’s time to duck.

“[CENTCOM Commander Admiral William] Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be “an ass-kissing little chickens**t” and added, “I hate people like that,”

...[Fallon] demonstrated his independence from the White House when he refused in February to go along with a proposal to send a third naval carrier task force to the Persian Gulf, as reported by IPS in May. Fallon questioned the military necessity for the move, which would have signaled to Iran a readiness to go to war. Fallon also privately vowed that there would be no war against Iran on his watch, implying that he would quit rather than accept such a policy.”

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By Jimmy, September 13, 2007 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

General Betray US lies because he is Bush’s puppet on string and Bush is Cheney’s puppet on string.
When will the strings snap?

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By Stephen Smoliar, September 13, 2007 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

Erica (#100072), you are far from the first to frame the war in Iraq in the context of the issue of poverty.  If you are new to Truthdig, you may want to check out the piece that Bill Boyarsky wrote in August, “War in Iraq, Poverty in America.”

The REAL war is the war of “America’s Ruling Class” against the poor!

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By Leefeller, September 13, 2007 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

It should be noted that an uninformed person may not be stupid, but a stupid person is the same as an idiot.  Now a good example of an imbecile would be Bush, which is prime example of a defined stupid idiot. 

Not having the ability to understand is not the same as uninformed.

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By ocjim, September 13, 2007 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

Bush appointed Petraeus’s superior, Admiral William Fallon, chief of the Central Command (Centcom). Fallon derided Petraeus as a sycophant during their first meeting in Baghdad in March, according to Pentagon sources familiar with reports of the meeting.

Fallon has independent, reasonable views on attacking Iran, Pakistan, and Iraq. He believes we should start real withdrawals from Iraq and apply our troops in Afghanistan. He has concerns about our policy toward Iran.

Should we wonder why Bush doesn’t listen to a wise military leader?

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By William Shirley, September 13, 2007 at 6:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

General Patraeus looked so much like Alberto looked when he was lying to Congress. Neither believed the lies they were repeating, but they felt honor bound to do their master’s bidding, even if their master is either psychotic or delusional. I can never understnd how a human being can sit and talk about killing thousands of people, thousands of tiny babies, children and helpless women, and smile, sip their water and act as if we are talking about production of a dairy farm. How quickly America has abandoned her ideals. How easy it is to give us reality shows rather than facts, poison plastic toys rather than toys carved by grandparents and passed on to our parents. We are no longer the Land of Liberty. We have become the enemy, America Inc. We produce terror, corpses and rage around the world and ignorant, mindless citizens at home. Can’t somebody stand up and impeach these people?

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By Jimmy, September 13, 2007 at 5:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The General is nothing else than a puppet on string of the Bush regime. Shame on him!

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By Ga, September 12, 2007 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

Let me explain a little bit about why I call “misinformed” people stupid.

Not knowing about a subject does not mean stupid. Of course not.

But, if a person (like here for example) enters into a debate (like about war) without at least having some knowledge of history—not just the history of war, but of commerce, armaments, trade, etc.—then they are stupid, for all their arguments will be baseless and (except for perhaps pure luck occaisonally) wrong.

These “stupid” people generally use “grand ideas” and “myths” as their arguments: ‘Americans are the bravest and the best equipped fighters, so therefore if we are losing it is because the “Liberal Press!”’

People who only watch Fox News and listen to Limbaugh are stupid. It is that simple.

That is not to say that one who is learned of history can make mistakes and/or come to wrong conclusions, be biased, etc. I am saying that without knowing history (and general scientific principles) one will never get things right.

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By Outraged, September 12, 2007 at 10:27 pm Link to this comment

This video, in a humorous way, captures Bush’s position of the whole ordeal:–-the-keys-to-success/

The new mantra of, Iran! Iran! Iran! from Gen. Petraeus was absolutely shameful.  Apparently pride and integrity are NOT some of his attributes.  How utterly despicable for Gen. Petraeus to sit there in front of all the American people, in fact the world, and LIE through his teeth.  This tells of us more about what kind of person he is than a shelf full of books ever could.

Mr. Petraeus:
You were there.  You saw the deaths, the destruction the suffering and the loss and the inanity of it all.  Yet STILL, before the world you LIED to protect the criminals with the cash for a plan YOU know is doomed.  And now Iran, without a shred of humanity or EVIDENCE, you endorse more death, destruction, suffering and loss. The world now knows you as such and will remember you always as such.  It doesn’t matter what Bush does to protect you from the LIES and deceit you spew.  The WORLD will remember you in much the same way we know who Heinrich Himmler is.  Or Mr. Petraeus does that make your “group” proud?

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By Ga, September 12, 2007 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

The question is why these people are so badly misinformed?  It is not because Americans are inherently stupid.

Ernest you are being too… earnest?

It is precisely that many Americans lack an ability of critical thinking and do not understand that intelligence is useless without wisdom. (Many will not even understand what I just said!)

I shall put it more bluntly: Many Americans are stupid—partly un-educated, but partly an un-willingness to learn.

If one limits his/her sources of information to, say, one cable news channel, one newsaper, one news magazine, one radio host, then his/her views and understanding of the world will be largely wrong.

That is the fault of the Right Wing as they only source among themselves.

That is also the fault of a portion of the Left Wing (and those nuts like the “9/11 was an inside job” crowd) as they too can limit their sources.

(Part of the definition of “Liberal” is an understanding of Critical Thinking.)

See The NonSequitur——for perhaps the very best examination and documentation of the massive faults of the Right Wing Pundocracy of this country.

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By Ga, September 12, 2007 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

Here is a fine example of a novel/movie portraying some of the reality of war:

Paths of Glory, directed by Stanley Kubrick

“This mesmerizing, urgent film about a true episode in World War I combines the idea that class differences are more important than national differences with the cannon-fodder theory of war, the theory that soldiers are merely pawns in the hands of generals who play at war is if it were a game of chess. The result of this amazing film has been the emergence of one of the great talents in contemporary cinema, the master whose greatest work was yet to come.  Written by alfiehitchie.”

General Broulard: Colonel Dax, you’re a disappointment to me. You’ve spoiled the keenness of your mind by wallowing in sentimentality. You really did want to save those men, and you were not angling for Mireau’s command. You are an idealist - and I pity you as I would the village idiot. We’re fighting a war, Dax, a war that we’ve got to win. Those men didn’t fight, so they were shot. You bring charges against General Mireau, so I insist that he answer them. Wherein have I done wrong?

Colonel Dax: Because you don’t know the answer to that question, I pity you.

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By cann4ing, September 12, 2007 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

In noting the number of Americans who still do not realize that there was no connection between Iraq and 9/11, raises a critical issue that warrants further discussion.  The question is why these people are so badly misinformed?  It is not because Americans are inherently stupid.  To the contrary it flows from the degree to which the corporate-owned media, especially television, acting in concert with deceptive leaders, serves as a propaganda network.

As one of the few real journalists in this country, Bill Moyers observed, “I refuse to allow the charade of ‘fair and balanced’—by which two opposing people offer competing opinions with a host who assumes the viewer will arrive at the truth by splitting the difference—to substitute for independent analysis….Objective journalism means describing the object being reported on, including the malfeasance, deceits, hypocrisy, and lies of powerful people.”

Most within the corporate media who claim to be journalists are nothing more than stenographers.  Thus we find Moyers commenting upon Jim Lehrer’s belief that “unless an official says something is so, it isn’t news.  Why were journalists not discussing the occupation of Iraq?  Because, says Lehrer, ‘the word ‘occupation’...was never mentioned in the run-up to the war.’  Washington talked about the invasion as ‘a war of liberation, not a war of occupation.  So as a consequence, those of us in journalism never even looked at the issue of occupation.’”

With such unquestioning obedience to “what officials say” is it any wonder that the Bush administration and the Rumsfeld-led Pentagon was able to dominate the information environment, subtly linking Iraq to 9/11, al Qaeda and terrorism, while delivering the ultimate scary canard—that Iraq would share its non-existent WMD with al Qaeda; that, “We don’t want the smoking gun to appear in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

George Lakoff in “Don’t Think of an Elephant” attempted to attribute misperception to framing.  “A huge number of people…still believe that Saddam…was behind September 11….They believe this—in spite of the report of the 9/11 Commission.  It is not that they are stupid.  They have a frame and they only accept facts that fit that frame.”

Since Lakoff divides the nation into relatively equal conservative and progressive frames, if Lakoff were correct, one would expect an even distribution of the misinformation.  It wasn’t.  In 2003 a study was conducted of Americans who held to at least one of three erroneous views on Iraq—WMD, links to al Qaeda, and the belief that world opinion supported the invasion.  It revealed not only that 80% of Fox News viewers held at least one of these erroneous perceptions but that the other major networks were not far behind—71% at CBS, 61% at ABC, 55% each at CNN & NBC as compared to only 23% at PBS.

Limiting himself to cognitive science, Lakoff overlooked the function of information dominance within a pliant corporate media.  As revealed by Amy Goodman in “Exception to the Rulers,” in the week prior and the week of Collin Powell’s key UN speech, at a time when 61% of Americans favored more inspections, only 3 out of 393 on-air experts appearing on network news programs were affiliated with the anti-war movement.

I am not excusing those Americans who still hold to such an erroneous belief.  A functioning democracy requires the vigilence of the electorate.  The information is available, but unfortunately, the vast majority of our people, struggling to make ends meet, resort to television for information.  The more they watch, the less they know.

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By Ga, September 12, 2007 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

A General will go to his grave beside the graves of all his men… after telling his Commander-In-Chief that he and his men will “take that hill no matter what” even if he thinks the attempt will be futile.

All one can argue is:

Whether or not a General should go to his grave with his men.

Which is a philosophical question that begs the larger questions about whether or not countries should go to war at all all and under what circumstances, etc.

But while we are in this war the men who lead it will say that they can win. When facing not just their Commander-In-Chief (whom they must obey) but a body like Congress, they have some leeway in being able to add “it will take a while” etc.

Whether or not the General believes that ultimately we (he/them) will win, he must say that he will prevail. That is his job. That is his requirement.

This is what war is.

Generals can resign, but they will not refuse orders—even if they do not fully believe in them.

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By Paolo, September 12, 2007 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

The message is subliminal. Americans fall for it every time.

The subliminal message lies in Petraeus’ full dress uniform, chest full of medals, charts & graphs.

How can we possibly distrust someone who dresses like a pillar of society?

Every word from his mouth can be a lie, but people will believe him because of the non-verbal cues.

The exact same thing worked with Colin Powell addressing the UN in 2003. Every word out of his mouth was a lie or a distortion, yet the major media crowed that the case for war had been proved beyond the shadow of a doubt.

It wasn’t the case itself. It was the neat suit and patrician demeanor.

Americans are (in case you haven’t noticed) by and large extraordinarily shallow people. The fall for neat suits, medals, flag waving, and fake earnestness every time.

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By 911truthdotorg, September 12, 2007 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment

And this is why this country is doomed….

Hit and Myth: Poll Shows 1 in 3 Americans Still Believe Saddam Involved in 9/11

By E&P;Staff

Published: September 11, 2007 4:30 PM ET

NEW YORK Six years after the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S., it seems the media still have some educational work to do. A new CBS/New York Times poll reveals that even today, 1 in 3 Americans believe that “Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.”

This notion was thoroughly debunked by official sources, including those in the White House, years ago, but the myth endures. Polls have shown that belief in this untruth was a prime component in support for the attack on Iraq.

Four in 10 Republicans still hold this view, compared with 32% of Independents and 27% of Democrats.

The poll of 1,035 adults was taken Sept. 4 to 8.

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By DennisD, September 12, 2007 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

General Petraeus is there for one reason and one reason only. He said “Yes” after the first four or five generals Bu$h asked to be tied to the whipping post said “No”.

Everything that’s followed has been predictable including his loss of conscience and credibility. He’s just another example of absolute power corrupting absolutely.

A group of lying politicians holding a hearing to listen to a general lie - priceless. More taxpayer money well spent.

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By Ellen Liedtke, September 12, 2007 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Our way of living suits USA!  Why must we insist upon delivering it to other countries with wars that are detrimental to THEIR way of life? 

Let us get all our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and instead work on a plan of cooperation between nations and governments all over the world, each to rid their own country of those who would try to destroy the people and the institutions of that country.  The United States cannot and should not be the policing agent for the entire world.  Let us concentrate on those in this country who are plotting the next suicide attacks, and let other countries do likewise. 

The Pakistani Government and its people might even go so far as to neutralize Bin Laden and his followers by making it more attractive NOT to be a terrorist.  Remember the old saying: “What if we gave a war, and nobody came?”  Instead of making USA safer, this inane and illegal war has made the entire world a much more dangerous place for our citizens.

Ellen L.

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By cann4ing, September 12, 2007 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

sharerisk, While I try to be an earnest Ernest, there is no “a” in the name Ernest.

I believe that both Adolf Hitler and Dick Cheney can be classified as sociopaths.  But there are manifest differences in their methods of delivering propaganda.

On the question of whether there are members of Congress who want to protect the Constitution and the rule of law—there is Dennis Kucinich and the members who have joined with him in calling for the impeachment of Dick Cheney.  Polls show that a majority of Americans support that action.

In a 9/11/07 E-mail, Mr. Kucinich stated:  “We need to call those who used 9/11 to take us into war against Iraq to an accounting under the U.S. Constitution, U.S. law, and international law.  We must soon begin a period of truth and reconciliation in our own nation….We must recover our capacity for civi action.  We must reclaim our nation.  The only way we can do that is the truth.”

The problem you touch upon is not the American public at large but the degree to which they are manipulated by a corporate-owned media that has a vested interest in the status quo and which absolutely refuses to bring you real “news” that links candidates to issues that truly matter to the vast majority of the American people—the middle and working classes.  That is the source for what Noam Chomsky refers to as the “democracy deficit.”

A recent blind poll of Democrats that listed candidate positions on issues without disclosing their names produced a shocking result.  Kucinich captured a whopping 58% of the vote.  ABC had two successive polls that sought to know which democratic candidate won the last debate.  Kucinich won both by a wide margin.  Obama was a distant second.  ABC pulled the poll from its web site and failed to mention the results on its web site.

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By sharerisk, September 12, 2007 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

Earnest Canning:

A sociopath is also delusional, and thus believes in the alternate reality he has created for himself.  In that reality he is telling the “truth”, hence the body language associated with truth telling.

In Petraeus we do not know whether he believes as the neocons such as Kristol, Kagan and others do that Iraqis, who are Arab, are “untermenschen” and their mass murder is not a crime against humanity.  Generals with some conscience have spoken out after retirement, and we may have to wait till Petraeus retires and tries to absolve himself in the pages of history.

Insofar as getting away with lying, much depends on the interrogators.  Senate and other Congressional Democrats can pitch softball questions as they have done, or take the late Senator Paul Wellstone’s bulldog method to get at truth and justice.

Do you think anybody in Congress today wants to protect the Constitution, to fight for justice and truth, or to bring any of the warmongers to account?

For that matter, do most Americans do?  Polls say that they do, but the deafening silence of the American people for the last six years, and its rationalisers in progressive orgs. such as Move On Org. are definitely not elevating Americans in the eyes of the non-Anglo American world.

Whether they like it or not, the American people tacitly and the I state in the ME have been fighting a world war against defenceless Muslim peoples, who are being mercilessly killed in the millions in their own homes.  Men, women and children.

The magnitude of the crimes in Iraq will be multiplied tenfold in the coming attack on Iran.  The next decade will show whether mass murder wins or humanity wins.  Where Petraeus and America and its ME satrapy will be after the dust settles in the Grand Scheme of things, I will leave it to your imagination.

No people or power has an infinite freedom to kill life wantonly, no matter how militarily invincible it looks to its denizens at the moment.

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By desertdude, September 12, 2007 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment

The only reason the war is still going on is to much money is beign made out of the war. Not enough citizens calling their Rep. and Senators. After all they are the ones who have money in the war too. Can’t kill a cash cow.

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By Erica, September 12, 2007 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If General Petraeus cannot fully agree that the effort in Iraq makes the United States safer, then we have not fufilled any of our objectives for engaging in this war. Ignoring real humanitarian problems in the world where 1.2 billion people on earth live on less that 1$ a day, the issue of poverty is completely ignored.

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By Ed, September 12, 2007 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The entire history of the U.S. government has been replete with lies, whitewashing, propaganda and false promises. Most americans don’t want to face the truth; they don’t care about the truth. They need to keep their illusions intact so they can continue to kill millions in pursuit of wealth, power and empire.

So in this latest episode we have liars lying to liars to placate the minions. Congress will shrug their shoulders, continue the war fund and tell americans to wait until the next election whereby they’ll elect the ones who lie best.

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By cann4ing, September 12, 2007 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

C Quil.  If you think Petreaus’s ability to lie with a straight face is impressive, you should go back and watch some of Cheney’s performances.  The man has telling the big lie down to an art form.  Where the voices of most individuals rise in relation to the level of prevarication, Cheney has developed the quiet technique in which he calmly piles lie upon lie in such a matter of fact manner as to make it appear as if he is simply relating information that everyone should already know.  I think the difference between the two is that Petreaus has to prepare himself, where lying comes natural to a sociopath like old dead eye Dick.

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By Davol, September 12, 2007 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well we’ve had the surge experiment now, and if you look beyond the skewed statistics consisting only of Iraqis shot in the back of the head as opposed to the front side then its obvious that we’ve cooked up the bloodiest Summer of the war.  I propose now another experiment of pulling troops back, and reducing our foot print in Iraq over the next 6 months.  I’ll bet when we grill the generals after that we may notice that violence actually goes down, and we may even get electricity turned on.  Let’s try it.  What have we really got to loose.  There’s nothing very fuzzy about the math.  More troops kicking in doors = more death and destruction.  Less troops giving Iraq to Iraqis = victory.  Figure this common sense out people.  Know a con job when you’re being conned.

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By C Quil, September 12, 2007 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

Petraeus must have had a lot of training to lie with such a straight face. It was a truly admirable (in a way) performance. Not a flinch, nothing. Petraeus - stone-faced - interesting conjunction of words. At least Oliver North had some conscience left when he lied during the Iran/Contra affair. His face betrayed him.

Crocker didn’t do so well - he was pale, sweaty, and clearly under strain.

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By sharerisk, September 12, 2007 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment


“...the good general now insists it would be disastrous to even think about bringing any American troops home before next summer.”

I just heard today on CNN in an interview the “good general” say:

“ is standard counter insurgency doctrine that this type of action[occupation+ethnic cleansing] takes ten or so years.”

So expect 20 more 6-month reports right through the Hilarious presidency urging surging.

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By mary, September 12, 2007 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

Well if we’re doing so good and there’s such a big improvement, then we should start pulling our troops out.  If we’re not seeing much improvement, we should start pulling our troops.  Four years is long enough.  How long before the military starts calling for a draft because we can’t keep this up.  Maybe then we will see some real action to get out.  How many more lives will it take….....

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By JoeJ, September 12, 2007 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

1. Gen. Petraeus got his four stars under Rumsfeld and Bush, got his present posting under Bush, needs Bush approval to get any preferment (Chmn. of Joint Chiefs?) in the next 18 months; any surprise his views mirror Bush’s wishes?
2. If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Any surprise that a man whose ife has been cast in the military mold (often admirably, to be sure) and who has risen to the heights in that profession should believe there can be a military “solution” to the Iraq quagmire?
3.When the historians, with perspective of 10 or more years, assess the “Bush legacy,” I forecast this will be judged “the most disastrous presidency in American history.” Not only has his poor judgment directly caused the 3000+ US deaths in Iraq and the upwards of 60,000 (lowest estimate I’ve ever seen) Iraqi deaths and the virtual destruction of Iraq’s infrastructure (under the hateful Hussein the Iraqis at least had schools, electricity, water, etc.), but he has left a “legacy” of Muslim distrust and in many cases outright hatred for America that will endure for decades - perhaps generations. A Pew research study showed a broad majority of sympathy and support for America in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, after 9/11. Futher research after we invaded Iraq melted that support away to where now an overwhelming majority of Indonesian Muslims either fear, hate or distrust us -
perhaps all three.
4. As the spate of terrorist outrages all around the world clearly demonstrates, Iraq is totally irrelevant to the so-called “war on terror.” If we were so inclined, we could send 10 million troops to Iraq, occupy every house, farm, facory, school, street, park, mosque and whatever, stay there for decades, and we (like the rest of the world) would still be just as vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Nobody can ever “win” a war against terrorism (just as with the sloganeering wars against disease, poverty, ignorance, crime, etc., etc.); these are “wars” - if we insist on so calling them - that must simply be waged day after day, year after year, diligently and intelligently, probably so long as humans exist.
5. Finally - previous commentator Mr Canning said all that should really have to be said: It is an illegal and immoral war. We attacked a nation that had not attacked us or any sworn ally of ours. Sure, Hussein was hateful. So were Stalin, Beria, Idi Amin, Mao, and (still) so is Castro. Yet we managed to coexist with them for years and decades.

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By nefertiti, September 12, 2007 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

I found it funny that many US citizens are calling him General Betray-us .

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By dsmith, September 12, 2007 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I read an excellent blog that compared The Baghdad Boys (Pet and Croc) with the USSR generals who use to deliver the annual crop reports. Seems that Russia never had a failed crop…Russians just decided to lose weight all at once.

It’s sad to hear a decorated US general tell of captured documents that show Iran is furnishing weapons and think,“Here we go again.” Intelligence provided by Curveball clearly shows Iran is a major supporter of…hold your breath…dun dun dun dun…al Qaeda!

You may want to invest in oil futures…they are sure to rise after Bush orders airstrikes on Iran.

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By Mary, September 12, 2007 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

BRAVO Nitro!!!!  You said the truth!!!  Of course the general has to say what the White HOuse wants to hear -  that is why GWB went to Iraq last week before the general spoke here.  You only have to read up on the the thousands of Iraqis being killed,some days it is as high as a 120 people.  Multiple that number or even say 75 a day, and at the end of a year you have thousands killed.  No mention is made of that in their reports.

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By faith, September 12, 2007 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

Wonderful article Mr. Scheer.  I just wish that all Americans and politicians could understand your straightforward analysis.  I fear we are doomed.  We are an arrogant and thoughtless nation concerning matters of war, death, and devastation. It is horrifying.  Few people seem to care or have voice.  That includes our democratic leaders.

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By ocjim, September 12, 2007 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

Stephen Smoliar:

You are right, Alessandra Stanley did a superb job of describing the agenda-based Congresspeople promoting themselves while Petraeus promoted Bush’s surge. Each side was so busy pursuing its agenda that the people impacted by the war are forgotten.

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By richardbell, September 12, 2007 at 11:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a great journalist, Robert Scheer usually doesn’t miss a trick, but he missed one here in his list of who’s to blame for losing the Vietnam War: he left out the press! It’s always hard to point the finger at yourself, but weren’t the press an integral part of Agnew’s nattering nabobs of negativism? The public didn’t turn against the war all by themselves, it was those liberal media and their ugly images (zippo lighter setting fire to hootch, burned little girl running naked down the road, Saigon general blowing away Vietcong suspect with a pistol to the temple, etc.) For the most part, however, Bush has brought the press to heel for the Iraq War. An image pops up here and there, an Abu Graib, a father cradling a dead child, but these images quickly disappear. You might say that embedded journalists tell no tales.

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By THOMAS BILLIS, September 12, 2007 at 11:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The truth of the matter is that if if we could get all the blowhards who think this is a noble adventure to enlist there would be no need to limit the surge.This would accomplish only good things for America.It would take obviously mentally defectives out of the gene pool for some of their most productive years and if the force was all Neo Cons we could really start to root for the Iraqi insurgents.{I know they are Americans. It is meant for humor not reality}
In a more serious vein to skip over the complicitly of the spineless Democrats is the thing that sticks out in my mind.We are impotent because we do not have 67 votes is just not good enough.The Democrats better get Bush’s attention by impeaching him before they are backing Bush’s invasion of Iran with the support the troops mantra.We have a country with out an effective opposition.70% of the American people cannot be heard.Some might call that a dictatorship.

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By sharerisk, September 12, 2007 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

The general lies - - yawn

The Congress is “grilling” him - - yawn…yawn

For 6 years American progressives are WAITING,waiiting, waiii..  for “truth” - -yawn…yawn…yawn

snore! snooore . . .snoooo..

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By Nitro, September 12, 2007 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

Isn’t is amazing, how now this General PETraeus predicts success in the Iraq war, yet, every other General that has came back and either resigned or been fired if they didn’t say what the Puppet Master Shrub wanted said contradicts what General Pet says ?

And of coarse, after just last week, Prince Shrub and even Katie Couric were in Iraq showing us how “BETTER” it is there now…. If that is the case and we are winning the war against terror and terrorism, why has Al Quaeda’s membership doubled since ‘04 then I believe ?

Since we no longer hear anything about Impeachment or Criminal proceedings against the criminals, no more coverage on the House Judiciary Committee proceedings,I presume then that the Dictatorship or Tyrannical government of George Bush has taken control of our country. Has he not replaced everyone that does not go along w/his agenda ?

In my research and reading of various matters concerned, I have come across a documentary-movie that I believe EVERY HUMAN BEING needs to watch. It will take 2 hours to view, but well worth it. That is, if you want to know the truth about what has really happened and what is really going on and why !
Go to

However, if you wish to be kept in the brain-wash propaganda coming from the puppet master, then you will want to watch the state-corporate sponsored movie that is to de-bunk the truth. For that one go to Coarse, you will have to pay $4.95 to view this one, or pay $19.95 to purchase the DVD. And I presume this is to make you feel better about being brain-washed by paying for it. Since that seems to be what this country does anymore. Pay to be lied to !

To A Better Day ....

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By Jeanine Molloff, September 12, 2007 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

During questioning yesterday 9/11/07 Petraeus ADMITTED under questioning that IRAQ HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11.  Though the administration did not overtly claim that Iraq was involved in the planning or implementation of 9/11; they have inferred this link NON-STOP from the very beginning.  The minute Petraeus admitted this fact—HE LOST ALL CREDIBILITY, even to his fellow conservatives.  Now is the time to pressure ALL the politicos to END THE WAR COMPLETELY NOW.  NO RESIDUAL TROOPS.  NO GRADUAL DRAW-DOWN.  BRING HOME OUR CITIZENS NOW.  IF BLACKWATER THUGS WANT TO STAY—THAT’S THEIR PROBLEM.  WE HAVE NO RESPONSIBILITY TO ANY DAMNED MERCENARY NEO-NAZIS.  ANY POL WHO THINKS OF THE OVAL OFFICE SHOULD BE TOLD—END THE WAR IMMEDIATELY AND COMPLETELY OR LOSE THE ELECTION. 

Jeanine Molloff

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By Mariam Russell, September 12, 2007 at 10:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As the first idiot had to go through his entire General staff to find someone sufficiently malleable…


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By James Ajemian, September 12, 2007 at 10:19 am Link to this comment
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It is not just an “unnecessary” war.  It is an illegal war!  This fact seems to get lost in the confusion and noise.  Illegal! Therefore those responsible for it being illegal should IMMEDIATELY be held accountable—starting from the President on down. Forget all the Democratic and Republican noise. That’s all constructed unreality.  Get to the point—the war is ILLEGAL.

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By Suntouso, September 12, 2007 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

IT, is the Democrats Politicos { the american socialist communist party } who ARE THE CAUSE OF AMERICAN principles eroding and THE DEATH OF AMERICAN SOLDIERS. The American people have lost more of its sons and daughters while the Democrats where in office and they promoted more yes men in the military than the Republicans. I WISH THAT the MILITARY will wake up, and terminate with extreme measures both parties and take charge of the system. I’m tired from being put in harms way [ etc.  our children ] and being told that the enemy must kill me or my men before we can return fire.

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By Kevin, September 12, 2007 at 9:42 am Link to this comment
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Does anyone honestly believe a commanding officer would publically announce a failed military plan?  Particulalry by the officer that created the plan. Of course not, it would be admitting defeat, which is anathema to a career officer.

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By TAO Walker, September 12, 2007 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

The allamerican orgy of pathological institutionalized deception and suicidal self-delusion shows no signs of abating, here in these latter days.  If anything these twin terminal conditions appear to be intensifying.

The current media- and establishment-wide efforts to “re-focus” on the CIA-sponsored “Al Quaeda,” for instance, is symptomatic of americans’ near total unwillingness and carefully induced inability to come to grips with the ugly reality of their own murderous and ravaging history.  All the long-stemmed roses in the world, for another example, can’t hide the stench of ruthless exploitation and home-grown “terror” emanating from Waco, Oklahoma City, “Ground Zero,” the Pentagon, and “Shanksville.”

A people faced with the fact that their “....ambassadors and generals lie,” will “Get used to it,” only at the cost of their already diminished humanity….and, much sooner than later, what’s left of their very lives.  The dire straits theamericanpeople are in today is an entirely self-inflicted predicament.  Yet their congenital tendency to always look for others to blame still dominates what passes for discussion and dialogue in the public arena.  It is a prescription for societal insanity….certainly criminal, and probably incurable.


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By Stephen Smoliar, September 12, 2007 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

Much as I enjoy Scheer’s columns, I think the best assessment of at least yesterday’s Senate proceedings came from Alessandra Stanley (television critic for THE NEW YORK TIMES):

Ms. Stanley knows political theater when she see it;  and political theater does not get any better than throwing a couple of slaves (um, “representatives” of the White House) into an arena full of lions (i.e., wannabe occupants of the White House).  What Ms. Stanley failed to recognize though was that, as theater, this was still a pretty lame production.  From my somewhat Stanislavskian point of view, the weakness resides in the almost total lack of motivation on the part of the actors.  This is all nothing more than going though highly predictable motions, with an Executive clinging to power without much sense of why (other than hanging in there for the sake of “personal faith”) and an opposition playing for television time without knowing what to do when finally before the camera lens.

If there was any substance yesterday, it came from Chuck Hagel.  He has already announced that he is cashing in his chips.  My guess is that he is “fed up with the show.”  If so, he has my sympathy.

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By felicity, September 12, 2007 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

Walter Lippman said of dictators, “rulers who always look good until the last ten minutes.”  Can we say it of generals?

Watching the performances of the last two days, reminded me of a scenario in which a badly built edifice is in a state of collapse and everybody is running around repainting the interiors.

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By Leefeller, September 12, 2007 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

General lies, is slightly higher than a common lie with much more status.  Now a major lie is not as high as a general lie, but is also rated higher than a common lie.  Looking at little lies, which can grow into common lies, but never into a general or major lie. 

The grand daddy of all lies which is even higher than a general lie is a Bush lie. Exceeding all other lies even bold face lies and blatant lies.  Bush has brought the lie to lofty heights never seen before by man, lying has become a craft. 

We may find that it may be taught in our schools, we may see the day of classe lying 101 all the way up to political lying. 

Bush’s ability to change words in the English language has become so accepted and his uncanny ability to lie with consistency,  should set new goals for the people of our nation. 

Never tell the truth.

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By awahl, September 12, 2007 at 8:58 am Link to this comment
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I distrust the general’s remarks because he has a vested interest (his book on the subject) to claim at least progress in a guerilla war.

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By SamSnedegar, September 12, 2007 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

“...GAO report stated an additional $57 billion in U.S. tax dollars will be needed to bring oil and electricity production to the level where it can satisfy Iraq’s domestic demand by the year 2015…”

far be it from me to deride our GAO, but my take is that if we left the Iraqis alone to do their own rebuilding, they’d have electricity in nine months and water in a year, and they’d bring their oil to sale in six months. We have been foot dragging so as to “stay the course” or better said, “keep control of the oil.”

Petraeus is that strange kind of intelligent and honest man who will not lie, but will confine his statements to such a small area of discovery that what he says is valid while being stupid and useless. In short, he isn’t telling the whole story, even if he knows it and it’s bad.

And for that matter, he didn’t decide to go there, and he doesn’t even get a vote on whether or not to stay there. What he does is tell us what he plans to do if he is ordered to stay there. If he gets another CiC, and orders to leave Iraq in the most intelligent way, he will tell us that story equally well and truthfully—-but still inside his own area of control, not back here in the USA.

His comment to John Warner was telling. He doesn’t know and doesn’t THINK about the results of his Iraq policies on the USA at home, whether his work makes us safer or not. It certainly doesn’t make our children in the military safer, not if they are stationed in Iraq.

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By cann4ing, September 12, 2007 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

The following is an excerpt from a 9/11/07 E-mail from Dennis Kucinich.

“Let us not forget the world was with America in our sorrow on September 11, 2001.  The world was prepared to unite with America in a cooperative effort to challenge the terrorists who attempt to disrupt civil society.  Instead, the Administration used 9/11 as an excuse to attack a nation that did not attack us.  Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, or with Al Qaeda’s role in 9/11.  Iraq did not have the intention or the capability of attacking the United States.  Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.  Yet the Administration deliberty and falsely conflated 9/11 with Iraq, with the coopoeration of an unquestioning media.

“As a result, nearly 4,000…soldiers have lost their lives, and tens of thousands have been permanently injured….[N]early one million innocent Iraqis have lost their lives as a result of this war.  This violence against an innocent people is a tragedy of immense proportions.  It is also a violation of international law….

“Americans will spend close to $2 trillion in Iraq by the time the costs of this war are totaled, but the longer term costs have included the undermining of America’s moral authority in the world…, and the destruction of a domestic agenda which is being deferred while we borrow money from China to fight the war in Baghdad.

“We need to call those who used 9/11 to take us into war against Iraq to an accounting under the U.S. Constitution, U.S. law, and international law….We must recover our capacity for civic action.  We must reclaim our nation.  The only way we can do that is to tell the truth.”

The one thing I would add is that the reasons given for remaining in Iraq are as bogus as the ones given for the invasion.  This illegal war of aggression and occupation was never about “spreading democracy.”  The reason was spelled out as early as 1992 by the neoconservative Project for a New American Century—the establishment of a permanent U.S. military base to extend American hegemony over the whole of the oil-rich Middle East.  That is why one of the key “benchmarks” is a so-called oil law that would provide the international oil cartel with unfettered access on-the-cheap.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 12, 2007 at 7:59 am Link to this comment
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General after general looked at Iraq and said “Can’t do it. Can’t do it this way.”  Each got fired, starting with Erik Shinseki, Army Chief of Staff.  Powell, a general, said it: “you break it, you own it”—he’s gone too.  Each general sent there who came back with an actual honest assessment of just how much of a cluster-f*** George W. Bush got us into has been fired.

Now, Bush FINALLY found a general who will say EXACTLY what Bush wants him to say, regardless of how inane and inaccurate it is, and wonders (nastily, of course) why Senators and Congressmen challenge Patraeus, his assessment, and, implicitly, his integrity.

If Patraeus is a smart man (which he is) and an honest man interested in more than his career (which he clearly isn’t), he’d say what every other officer with a hint of integrity would say: Bush, you got us into a major league cluster-f***. It’s your fault and there’s NO way we can win without complete national mobilization, a draft, and a willingness to illegally bomb civilian targets back to the stone age…and even then we won’t win.

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By DonStauffer, September 12, 2007 at 7:45 am Link to this comment
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Under Bush’s obvious supervision, Patraeus’s plan is to retain troops in Iraq just long enough for Bush to move out of the White House, allowing him to (LA Times) “live up to his pledge to the defining mission of his presidency, and perhaps improve his chances for a decent legacy.”  Translation: Those young Americans that die between now and then are doing so for his “legacy”.  The man’s legacy should become that of the worst (and dumbest) President in American history.  The sooner we screw up his “legacy” the better.  Now he’s rushing around the world to heighten his “legacy” more by becoming one of our elder statesmen (gag); all for the history books and a “decent” Presidential Library.

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By lodipete, September 12, 2007 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

“Report: Israel spots nuclear installations in Syria

Washington official says Israeli surveillance shows possible Syrian nuclear installation stocked by North Korea, Israeli Arab newspaper claims target of alleged raid last week was Syrian missile base financed by Iran”
Uh OH. Looks like we’ll be spreading more democracy anyday now. Who spotted the nukes anyway?Israeli Pvts. Perle,Wolfowitz and Kristol? Speaking of democracy, how come Pakistan can ignore the will of it’s own people and Supreme Court and have Tony Snowjob call it an internal matter while we’re spreading democracy right next door?

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By hollywood, September 12, 2007 at 7:16 am Link to this comment
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Yes, Crocker and Petraeus are lying.  They are aided in their ability to do this because they are not testifying under oath.  They are not.

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By ocjim, September 12, 2007 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

Scheer did not get to Bush’s intention of stringing us along until the inauguration of the next president. He never had any intention of improving things in Iraq. His only goal is to prolong the war during his tenure. It’s oil and hegemony over the Middle East. With his messianic tendencies, he actually believes he is right like an Old Testament patriarch, who will destroy Iraq to save it. Democrats have played into his plan. Concerned people just vent on blogs and average Americans guard their income and their jobs and watch trivia on news channel. They accept what corrupt politicians throw their way and not dream of what could or should be.

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By Leefeller, September 12, 2007 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

What ever happened to Peter Pace?  The war president needs a war general, one who says yes no matter what happens.  One who can paint a picture of deceit, built on a foundation of lies.

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By Wayne Gallant, September 12, 2007 at 6:28 am Link to this comment
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The statement by Gen. Petraeus that troop levels could be reduced to pre-surge levels by next summer reminds me of the store which marked up all men’s suits by 25%, then advertised “Men’s suits - 25% off”.

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By PACRAT, September 12, 2007 at 5:54 am Link to this comment
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General Petraeus is a military man and not qualified to make political decisions, yet that is what the President wanted him to do. Did anyone notice the word “scapegoat” tattooed on his forehead? Bush’s inability to make a decision and passing the responsibility on to a general was unfair. If the general didn’t make the pitch he did, like the other generals, he would soon be fired or retired.

Ambassador Crocker, on the other hand, is a political hack and should have been prepared to defend the US invasion of Iraq, but he couldn’t or wouldn’t because he couldn’t deviate from his instructions to support the invasion.

America needs leaders - not politicians who weigh every word they utter in the context of relection or potential funding.

The whole hearing was a charade!

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 12, 2007 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

War to the military is like sex.  They gotta have it.  Petraeus is a brilliant, educated man and yet has no qualms about sending his military-aged son to Iraq, so he says.  I heard Mos Def on Bill Maher last night.  He tells the truth.

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By Greg Bacon, September 12, 2007 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

Amb. Crocker’s analogy about how America, back in the “good ol days”, overcame similiar challenges that now face Iraqi’s was a bit disingenuous.

He should have finished the analogy by stating the rest of the truth.

That America overcame internal strifes AFTER it had kicked out the army of occupation of the Imperial British Empire.

But maybe that was taking things a bit too far in that well staged WH “Dog and Pony” show.

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By Peter RV, September 12, 2007 at 3:13 am Link to this comment
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General Petraeus fits perfectly among our sorry generals-politicians who are militarily incompetent but over-ambitious to become Presidents.
He belongs to the spiritual promotion of Wesley Clark, Collin Powell, Westmoreland,Boykin and the whole gallery of other pseudo-soldiers and intellectual morons, that an entire wing of Madame Tissaud’s could be filled with them.
Now we realize that our military could be just as trash as our Government.
Poor America.

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