Gains in Iraq
General Petraeus is back in the USA shilling for his version of the Bush "stay the course" policy in Iraq. His argument before the Senate Armed Forces Committee was that there have been gains as a result of the surge but that they are "fragile" and "reversible" and so we cannot, as promised, be reducing the number of troops in Iraq. This is a thoroughly Orwellian statement for it can be argued that gains that are fragile and reversible aren't gains at all. This reminds me of gambling. If one goes to Las Vegas, plays poker and wins $1,000, you and I know that that this gain is fragile and reversible should one play poker longer. So, if your intention is to play poker longer, have you actually won $1,000?
Recently the leader of Iraq, without consulting the American military until his military plan went down the tubes and his troops needed rescuing. Why did he do that? Probably because he didn't want to explain to the American officers why he wanted to engage in this battle. It was probably politically or personally motivated. Of course, he might have wanted to display to us and his people that his government was on top of things in Iraq.
In the most amazing testimony I have heard or read about by an American officer to the Senate can be found at the Washington Post's web site
Asked repeatedly yesterday what "conditions" he is looking for to begin substantial U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq after this summer's scheduled drawdown, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus said he will know them when he sees them.Now, though it makes no sense in fact, we let people get away with saying things like "I can't define pornography but I know it when I see it." The reason we shouldn't take even that sort of claim seriously is that reasonable people differ in what they say is pornographic. We damn sure shouldn't take Gen. Petraeus seriously. In academia we call this "hand waving." I think it should be likened more to the General showing his middle finger to the Democratically led committee.