Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Petraeus, Interrupted

Yesterday, General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker appeared before the a couple of Senate committees. As usual, it was a chance for Democrats and Republicans to make grandiose speeches while scolding the people on the ground for not giving the right answers, a chance for Senator McCain to be himself (showing all the passion of the pre-Viagra Bob Dole) while getting it right, and a minute for another antiwar jizzmopper (not a Code Pinko for once) to stand up and scream "Bring them home!" until he was politely tossed out on his ass for his three-syllable assault on our intelligence. And the best part is that there are two House committees lined up to take their swipes today.

But it wasn't a total waste, as General Petraeus did outline what had happened since his last visit to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory (Congress) and what will happen in the future. So to summarize:

The surge worked, the country is stable. But the stability is still fragile.
The Iraqi forces are stepping up and dying in greater numbers now.
Al Qaeda is continuing to have its ass handed to it. But Al Qaeda is like herpes.
Then there's Iran. They're more like hepatitis C. can't get rid of them either.
There are still bad spots. And Iraq is still not a vacation spot unless you like being shot.
The surge will end in June. Then after 45 days, the decide what can be pulled out.
The government is still a pair of clown shoes, but still there.

I know that's not a complete or perfect picture, but that's what links are for.

So the report is mostly in line with my strategery for finishing off Iraq. As the Iraqis continue bringing up troops, we can continue pulling back. But to set a public timetable is stupid. Hopefully, the Iraqis have gotten the message that there are NO guarantees of US support come 2009 and will be scrambling to resolve the problems still plaguing them. I don't think any candidate will pull the plug abruptly on Iraq, but the rhetoric coming from the Clinton and Obama camps does not bode well if you want troops in Iraq for a while. So there needs to be a very private political timetable in operation right now to get the government rolling smoothly.

Finally , General Petraeus has delivered on what he promised last year. So despite reservations about the effectiveness of the Iraqi (or US) government, I'm willing to give him the time he needs to clean up the mess. I would say it is probably in our best interest to pull more troops out later this year, but I leave the final call to him. And in the end, I think we might be on the way out with an X in the win column. And while it wasn't a perfect operation, I'll take a victory any old day.

No comments: