Petraeus the Messiah or just a very naughty boy?

In the face of all indicators that the Iraq war has been lost, the standard fall back position for the dead enders has been to insist that all judgment should be reserved until General Petraeus gives his progress report in September. We are reminded that this will be the Rosetta Stone of hard hitting truth with regards to the success of the US military in securing Iraq.

What is becoming all too obvious however, is that the script has already been written. A month ago we were given a sneak preview of what is to come.

I just watched Meet the Press, and there was Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, who together with General Petraeus will testify to Congress. He demonstrated that along with the surge in troops, there’s also been a surge in BS.

This week, Petraeus sat down for a warm-up with war sycophant, Hugh Hewitt, who’s already convinced that the surge is the greatest strategy ever invented.

Andrew Sullivan was not impressed:

If I were eager to maintain a semblance of military independence from the agenda of extremist, Republican partisans, I wouldn’t go on the Hugh Hewitt show, would you? And yet Petraeus has done just that. I think such a decision to cater to one party’s propaganda outlet renders Petraeus’ military independence moot. I’ll wait for the transcript. But Petraeus is either willing to be used by the Republican propaganda machine or he is part of the Republican propaganda machine. I’m beginning to suspect the latter.

The only thing worse than a deeply politicized and partisan war is a deeply politicized and partisan commander. But we now know whose side Petraeus seems to be on: Cheney’s. Expect spin, not truth, in September.

The most effective propaganda behind the surge has been the re-branding of Petreaus as some maverick devoted to truth and impervious to political partisanship and spin. This has been enabled by the media, who have yet to devote much coverage to the corkers Petreaus has given us in the past.

Here is just a taste:

In December, 2003:

“What we’ve had starting a month ago or so is a sustained spike. Arguably the spike has already gone down.”

In early 2004, Newsweek:

“Iraq’s security services are not dominated by non-Sunnis. ‘Absolutely not . . . The national forces are national forces, typically Shia, Sunni, Kurdds, Yezidi, everything. There is no shortage from all the difficult areas.’” That was a relief, since it sure would have been terrible if the Iraqi sercurity forces turned out to be Shiite death squads fighting sectarian battles.

Jim Lehrer News Hour 2003:

The U.S. military has found a second trailer in Iraq that could have been a mobile bio-weapons lab. the commander of the 101st Airborne Division, Major General David Petraeus, confirmed that today.

Fred Kagan October 2005 Weekly Standard article:

After the fiasco with the half-trained forces that fled Falluja in April 2004, CENTCOM brought in Lieutenant General David Petraeus in mid-2004 to overhaul the Iraqi army completely, with the particular goal of focusing on counterinsurgency. This undertaking has proven far more successful than the handful of light infantry divisions originally envisioned. Iraqi units performed admirably in the second battle of Falluja (in November 2004), in Tal Afar (September 2005), and in numerous other fights.

Some might remember how Michael Ware debunked that one.

Fred Kagan Los Angeles Times in August 2005:

Perhaps the best news from the region these days is that the Iraqi army is finally producing units able to fight on their own. According to Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, there are now more than 170,000 “trained and equipped” Iraqi police and military personnel, and more than 105 police and army battalions are “in the fight.” Over the next few months, tens of thousands more Iraqi troops will be able to take the field against the insurgency. They should number around 250,000 by next summer.

Jack Kelly in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 2005 (via Lexis):

Ever since Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus took responsibility for training Iraqi security forces last year, the target date for beginning a major American withdrawal has been June 2006.

There are plenty more where that came from.

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