move on ad
The General Petraeus=General "Betray-us" title from MoveOn.org is as bad in my book as the "Stab-in-the-Back" campaign Hugh Hewitt has run. I'm tired of the so-called political football being kicked around by both sides. Each is equally disgusting in my book. Each calls into question the honor of Americans who serve the country (either as politicians and military personnel). Make an argument someone is wrong, why they are wrong, and why your position would be better.
Petraeus didn't betray the country. He has consistently supported a strategy that I think is failed, however many tactical gains have been made. Not exactly betrayal. The ad does make some valid points, which sadly get lost in the controversy over the title. [There's always a grain of truth in the stereotype]. These groups will never learn apparently that they only make those pushing against the escalation in a worse position.
Not that in matters, given that with 5thGeneration Warfare, civilian protests (unlike Vietnam where they were successful, 4th Gen.), war is continual. If such groups want to attack A)they should attack the President's lack of Middle East strategy. He's in charge not Petraeus. B)the one attack they do make is in this realm (rhetorically charged as "cooking the books") but without the "betray-us" which allows the ring-wingosphere to cry foul (deservedly so in a way) without of course ever having to deal with the following facts.
From the ad (my emphasis):
Every independent report on the ground situation in Iraq shows that the surge strategy has failed. Yet the General claims a reduction in violence. That’s because, according to the New York Times, the Pentagon has adopted a bizarre formula for keeping tabs on violence. For example, deaths by car bombs don’t count. The Washington Post reported that assassinations only count if you’re shot in the back of the head — not the front. According to the Associated Press, there have been more civilian deaths and more American soldier deaths in the past three months than in any other summer we’ve been there. We’ll hear of neighborhoods where violence has decreased. But we won’t hear that those neighborhoods have been ethnically cleansed.Or Kevin Drum:
For myself, I'll just note the same thing I noted over the weekend: all the charts for civilian fatalities show basically the same trend: a big pre-surge drop between December and March, no progress from March through July, and then a modest drop in August. So Petraeus is hanging nearly his entire case on a single month.
Remember all this talk about summer violence being down is mostly a product of the fact that Iraq is 130+ in the summer and jihadis stay in.
Plus the more that Iraq is ethnically cleansed, the less ethnic violence there will be in places. The Shia have won.
The problem is by now the move towards a Baker-Hamilton consulting-training role is questionable because the Iraqi Army 1.is a failure 2.is a Shia militia--except where it is a Kurdish militia or in some small pockets, covers for the insurgency.
The Baker-Hamilton train-advise role assumes a country called Iraq, a central non-sectarian government, and army that controls violence and enforces constitutional rule. None of those exist and will exist in the country (countries) formerly known as Iraq.
Petraeus' tactics have essentially been shown to be useless, as was predicted. Why not attack there instead of the Betray-us model. Why not point out that the only way they get "security" in Fallujah or Ramadi is to return the city to a medieval frame, complete with donkeys instead of cars? Because Petraeus' COIN is based on agrarian society, not urban guerilla warfare.
Not to mention that the "Tribal Awakening" had nothing to do with the surge:
- Petraeus did not try to claim that the tribal revolt in Anbar, now spreading in the country wherever Sunni Arabs live in numbers, was the result of his policy. His COIN adviser David Killcullen recently wrote that the tribal revolt was not anticipated by the US command in Baghdad, was not caused by it and was a "surprise." What Petraeus did claim, fairly I think, is that he and his team have perceived the usefulness of this phenomenon and are helping to spread it wherever they can while at the same time trying to integrate these forces into government structures.
In other words the key piece of evidence that is cited for maintaining the surge has nothing to do with the surge and will continue so long as the US keeps sending these groups money. Just recall though that there are no "good" guys in Iraq. These tribes fighting al-Qaeda are also running kidnapping rackets (with US taxpayer dollars) and oil smuggling rings. And what else could they do? There is no economy except an expropriating, black-market one.
There are so many reasons to criticize this policy. Betray-us was not a good one.