Some People Do Get It

Iraq is a fucking mess. The Iraqi government is on vacation. The Republicans are chickenhawks. The Democrats want the office more than to represent the American people. George Bush believes God wants him to save Iraq.

But there ARE people who get what’s going on, thankfully. Michael Ware, CNN’s ear to the ground in Iraq, put together an extremely compelling piece recently on the current state of Iraq. He addresses my fears, that future terrorist attacks on US soil will be inspired by the Iraq occupation or will include Iraqi hands. Also, he flatly states that the reason Al-Qaeda is on the run is because we’ve sub-contracted out to the Ba’athist insurgency, which despite the White House’s protests, is the main source of violence against Americans in Iraq, not the bogey man Al-Qaeda. You can blame Paul Bremer for that.

I know MonkeyPope disagrees, but I also feel General Petraeus gets it. In Thomas Ricks’ “Fiasco”, he has nothing but good things to say about the man’s leadership of the 101st in its first deployment to Iraq in terms of handling the birth of the insurgency. Petraeus’ counter-insurgency credentials are strengthened by his hand-picked staff of counter-insurgency experts. I mean, imagine that, actually rewarding insightful military planning and strategy! One of his advisors, Stephen Biddle, had this to say:

“If the surge is unacceptable, the better option is to cut our losses and withdraw altogether. In fact, the substantive case for either extreme — surge or outright withdrawal — is stronger than for any policy between. The surge is a long-shot gamble. But middle-ground options leave us with the worst of both worlds: continuing casualties but even less chance of stability in exchange.

“Moderation and centrism are normally the right instincts in American politics, and many lawmakers in both parties desperately want to find a workable middle ground on Iraq. But while the politics are right, the military logic is not.

Petraeus also is thinking about the officer corps, which seems rare these days as junior-grade officers are abandoning the ship left and right through neglect from higher. Why should they stay in when they could live a good life outside the military? Petraeus wrote a long essay for The American Interest on why military officers should be encouraged to complete graduate school.

After dealing with the utter stupidity of the Bush Administration, Petraeus’ ideas seem revolutionary and refreshing. It’s tragic that military affairs have been dumbed down so much during such a long military incursion. It’s tragic that almost all the generals who are left standing after Bush’s toying in Iraq are the yes-men, the generals who really don’t fit the modern military landscape at all.