September 10, 2007

Welcome To Petraeus Theater

General David Petraeus has finally started his long-awaited testimony, but some people just can't abide hearing his report. Several protestors had to be ejected from the chamber, and one familiar face was among them:

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested Monday in or near the hearing room where Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are testifying on the situation in Iraq, according to the U.S. Capitol Police.

Four anti-war protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct. One of them, who was not named, is being taken to George Washington Hospital “due to complaint of injury” and is also charged with assault on a police officer.

According to the information from the Capitol Police, Sheehan and the other three were shouting in a hallway.

The constant protests clearly irritated committee chair Ike Skelton, who called them "a**holes", according to Allahpundit's video at Hot Air. St. Cindy didn't make it into the chamber, but a number of her Code Pink allies managed to make themselves a problem for the hearing. One has to wonder why people fear what Petraeus has to say so much that they feel it necessary to shout him down -- or at least to attempt it.

Actually, in watching the hearing, the answer becomes rather clear. Petraeus has excellent presentation skills, and he has testified in measured, unemotional tones. He is giving Congress a dispassionate reading of the facts as he sees them. Petraeus has been responsive, respectful, engaging, and utterly devastating to those who have adopted panicky Chicken Little tones regarding the status of Iraq.

That's not to say that Petraeus has painted a particularly rosy picture. His written testimony -- which he emphasized had not been reviewed by the Pentagon or the White House before he gave it to Congress -- shows a nuanced and practical mind behind the analysis:

At the outset, I would like to note that this is my testimony. Although I have briefed my assessment and recommendations to my chain of command, I wrote this testimony myself. It has not been cleared by, nor shared with, anyone in the Pentagon, the White House, or Congress.

As a bottom line up front, the military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met. In recent months, in the face of tough enemies and the brutal summer heat of Iraq, Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces have achieved progress in the security arena. Though the improvements have been uneven across Iraq, the overall number of security incidents in Iraq has declined in 8 of the past 12 weeks, with the numbers of incidents in the last two weeks at the lowest levels seen since June 2006. ....

Beyond that, while noting that the situation in Iraq remains complex, difficult, and sometimes downright frustrating, I also believe that it is possible to achieve our objectives in Iraq over time, though doing so will be neither quick nor easy.

The entire Petraeus opening statement is posted at Heading Right. His recommendations follow a strategy of transitioning away from American control of Iraq, eventually with a full-scale withdrawal -- but on our terms, not that of the terrorists or insurgents.

Petraeus has a plan for moving from leading all security operations to eventually just providing oversight and analysis, which would require a small footprint in the country. On his schedule, that starts in earnest around March 2008, and expects combat brigades to fall from 15 to 11 by that time, and then to 7 in the next incremental shift of responsibilities. This is what the Pentagon has hoped to do for the past couple of years, but the aggressive new tactics in western Iraq have allowed more room for Iraqi security forces to get training and experience in handling these missions in the future.

I'm continuing to watch the testimony, and tomorrow, we'll talk with Col. Joe Repya on Heading Right Radio to deconstruct it even further. That will be at 12 noon ET tomorrow, a special time for the show, which will also include Rep. Tim Walberg, appearing to discuss No Child Left Behind. Don't miss it!


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Comments (33)

Posted by FedUp | September 10, 2007 4:34 PM

General Patraeus is a class act- most of congress should be ashamed to be in the same room with him! Most of them are idiots and can't even phrase a coherent question. Who are these idiots who think they know more about military strategy than a 3-star general?

Posted by Charles D. Quarles | September 10, 2007 4:53 PM


The photo of Gen. Petraeus testifying today shows 4 stars on his dress uniform.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | September 10, 2007 5:02 PM

Yes, he's 4 stars, as a result of his 81-0 Senate confirmation in January.

Posted by Eric | September 10, 2007 5:07 PM

After reading the Generals report, I’m forced to conclude that we would be far better off if we just made a long-term commitment to Iraq. It sounds like a lot of the trouble that’s been brewing over there might actually be caused by our own domestic politics.

He seems to have outlined a plan for eventual draw-down, and it’s been stated more understandably than most other plans. Currently, we are leading Iraq. As they grow stronger, we step back and then we partner with Iraq (less forces.) As they continue to become stronger, we take on the role of over-watcher, or advisor (less troops.) Eventually, we take on the role of ally (less troops,) and 800-lb. gorilla preventing other world or regional powers from interfering.

It seems to me that this could certainly work and I applaud the General for not assigning a time frame. Essentially, it’s the same winning formula used in Germany.

Now, if we could reach a political consensus, I think that would certainly expedite the process. If all of the Democratic Candidates would come out in favor of the Generals’ plan, that would cause an implosion of resistance. I was also pleased by the seriousness paid to the report by congress today. I think Skelton handled the event well.

Posted by reddog | September 10, 2007 5:26 PM

" The facts - as he sees them"

Kinda says it all.

Just another partisan flunky. Right, left, makes no different. Workin' for the Yankee dollar.

Posted by Mwalimu Daudi | September 10, 2007 5:26 PM

The fury over Petraeus is no surprise. The Democrat Congress continues to fail to meet the political benchmarks laid down for it by al Qaeda after last year's US elections. In protest, Senators John Warner and Chuck Hagel have announced their intention to unilaterally redeploy themselves from the US Senate by January 2009.

Some in the GOP think it is time to redeploy Murtha, Reid, Pelosi, and the rest of the Democrat Congress back to their home districts as well to keep Warner and Hagel company.

Posted by reddog | September 10, 2007 5:29 PM

" The facts - as he sees them"

Kinda says it all.

Just another partisan flunky. Right, left, makes no different. Workin' for the Yankee dollar.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | September 10, 2007 5:53 PM

reddog said:

"" The facts - as he sees them"

Kinda says it all.

Just another partisan flunky. Right, left, makes no different. Workin' for the Yankee dollar."

General Patraeus, like any other member of the military, is expressly forbidden by several US Criminal Codes, not to mention many additional military regulations, of participating in partisan politics. What you're doing is accusing him of being a criminal.

Oh, that's right, I forgot to add the classic leftist twist: He's a "war criminal".

"General" Wesley Clark was given a pass by the Democrats for much worse.

Posted by unclesmrgol | September 10, 2007 5:57 PM


Would you prefer that he present the facts as someone else sees them?

I guess so. Of which "someone else" are you thinking?

Posted by Lightwave | September 10, 2007 6:24 PM

Honestly, between the General eviscerating his critics in the House Dems and the horrific ad, I think today is the day an awful lot of Americans are going to see just how morally and intellectually bankrupt the "anti-war movement" is in this country.

I also think it's the day millions of Americans are going to square up their shoulders and say "never again" to the Dems. They do not know how much damage they just did to themselves in one 24 hour period...and there's another day of testimony tomorrow: September 11th.

Where the President has had trouble convincing the American people that the right thing has always been to stay in Iraq and finish the job, I think General Petraeus and the moonbat base of the Dems did far, far more to convince Americans that we have to achieve victory in Iraq.

This week will be remembered as the turning point in American opinion on Iraq, and the beginning of the end of the Democrats.

In all seriousness, this is a sea change moment, and it couldn't have come soon enough.

Posted by NoDonkey | September 10, 2007 6:31 PM

Today as I was working out at the gym at Tyndall Air Force Base, they had Fox News on (go figure - military guys like Fox News).

Anyway, I caught a glimpse of some fat, 50+ year old woman with red antlers on, being arrested.

Good to see the Democrats found a dignified individual to entrust with their pro-Al Qaeda message.

The fat woman with the red antlers was a refreshing contrast to that corrupt hag Feinstein, Sen. Combover Biden and Senator Corpse-Reid.

Posted by Bennett | September 10, 2007 6:50 PM

Winston Churchill once said, "there is nothing more exhilarating as being shot at and missed."

I'm sure the General knew what that was like before he testified but I'd have to think he's gotten a fresh sense of it today.

What can the anti-Iraq war folks do really, except call him a liar, a puppet, a hack? No single person in that room today, no one anywhere in the United States knows more about Iraq and what we face there than General Petraeus. They have no way to contradict or undermine his testimony so they try to disrupt or distract or belittle and demean him personally.

Ah, well. I guess when you've had real bullets coming at you, these rhetorical bee bee pellets probably don't seem like much of a threat.

Posted by Eric | September 10, 2007 6:53 PM

NoDonkey said:

Today as I was working out at the gym at Tyndall Air Force Base, they had Fox News on (go figure - military guys like Fox News).

Anyway, I caught a glimpse of some fat, 50+ year old woman with red antlers on, being arrested.

Good to see the Democrats found a dignified individual to entrust with their pro-Al Qaeda message. They just can't see that most Americans don't take people in santa wear very seriously. The people who should be most mad at these protesters is the anti-war movement, but I doubt they are. I can only conclude that they all are the exact same cliche.

The fat woman with the red antlers was a refreshing contrast to that corrupt hag Feinstein, Sen. Combover Biden and Senator Corpse-Reid.

Eric Says:

And as she was resisting arrest, she was yelling "I'm 60 -- how dare you man-handle me." But yet she continued to resist. The real question should be "why would you force a police officer to be subject to your outragous behavior?"

I hope this woman is in jail tonight. I think she is. I hope she gets a couple of years for disrupting Congress.

Posted by Eric | September 10, 2007 7:00 PM

Bennett says:
What can the anti-Iraq war folks do really, except call him a liar, a puppet, a hack? No single person in that room today, no one anywhere in the United States knows more about Iraq and what we face there than General Petraeus. They have no way to contradict or undermine his testimony so they try to disrupt or distract or belittle and demean him personally.

Eric says:
I would suggest that they start by trying to remain civil. I have found that this is always the best method of influencing people and changing opinion. The worst method is to tell people that you think they are lying. That is the method they are subscribing to.

If you can keep the conversation civil, it allows time to form arguments and possibly change minds. When you fail to, then you force people away. Today, and in the last 24 hours, the anti-war folks chased people away from their point of view. It’s just that simple.

A stronger argument would be, “I don’t like war and I want for us to stop – could we please find a way to stop.” People would be more willing to listen to this simple request and try to find a way to help.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 10, 2007 7:15 PM

The joy of the Web is that you can go from one site to another, with ease. For instance; Glenn Reynolds connects to Austin Bay, who followed General Patraeus' testimony, live. Here's a cut & paste. For more? Well, the "hint" is to go to InstaPundit and follow the link.

If it's hard for you to see the big picture? Basically, Patraeus has won. And, from the New Yuk Times, running the stupid (but expensive) Code Pink ad; it turns into a bit of "theatah, dahlink."

Here's Austin Bay:

After three hours of testimony — at times grueling testimony — I’ve some initial reactions. (As it is, I have to get ready to give a speech this evening.)

My first thought is lost this political battle — the chumps went an “ad too far” with the paid newspaper ad (in today’s NY Times) personally attacking GEN David Petraeus as “General Betray Us?” Remember, the hard left riles at Coulter-style attacks calling them traitors. (I won’t even bother linking to the ad — I have a copy of the paper on a chair near my desk — it’s as hideous as it is stupid.)

REP. Illena Ros-Lehtinen’s use of the ad was tremendous political theater — or, more accurately, a political gesture in what is really the vast political play called “the 2008 US national elections.” (And I see Jim Saxton brought it up again, which led to another outburst in the chamber by leftist nutroots– Code Pink?.) The 2008 elections and the fight for political power in Washington are the powers that move the “the Washington clock,” which ticks at a very different speed than “the Baghdad clock.”

GEN Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker are trying to realign those clocks, for the benefit of both the Iraqi and American people, and –I believe– for the benefit of everyone who wants a more peaceful and prosperous 21st century. “Realigning clocks” is adesriable political effect — “breathing space” in the US akin to the “breathing space” in Iraq Chairman Ike Skelton mentioned as the hearings began. (”The surge is designed to provide breathing space” for political reconciliation and development in Iraq.)

The hard left in America is afraid of GEN Petraeus, so they smear him. and its ilk practice “the paranoid style” in American politics — and their smear is as noxious as the smear campaigns run by Senator Joe McCarthy (smears which are properly damned by the civil and decent).

The other big loser is Iran. GEN Petraeus’ and Ambassador Crocker’s detailed discussion of Iranian malfeasance is damning. (Petraeus and Crocker’s comments on the captured the captured Quds force and Hizbollah trainers was startling. At the moment GEN Petraeus is telling REP Donald Manzullo that Prime Minister Maliki thinks this kind of attack may be a greater long term threat to Iraq.)

Posted by Bennett | September 10, 2007 7:16 PM

"The worst method is to tell people that you think they are lying. That is the method they are subscribing to."

I disagree, Eric. Dems/libs have used this approach quite successfully. They spent months pounding the drums with "Bush lied, people died" over the Iraq/WMD issue. It is a very common technique on their part, just keep saying he's a liar, he's a liar, he's a liar. And people start to wonder, hmmmm...maybe he is.

You are assuming a certain intellectual heft to their ideas, that they have a point of view to advocate and that if they would be civil, perhaps they could win some people to their side. They don't have any ideas except one: immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all US forces from the Iraqi theatre. They can't really even tell you why that is their "Big Idea", it just is.

Oh, of course some might say that it's about the loss of life but it is hard to believe that this is true because many of these same people advocate intervention in Darfur or elsewhere. Or they freely admit that there will be mass bloodshed in Iraq if we leave prematurely, so loss of life in general terms does not upset them unduly. They also cannot tell you how their "Big Idea" might successfully be accomplished given our commitment to the people of Iraq (and we do have a commitment, as inconvenient as it may be for some to acknowledge it).

In the end, this is not really about the Iraq War for many of these people, or even about war at all. It is about domestic political power. And since they can't out-argue someone else's point of view, they revert to schoolyard bully behavior, shouting and screaming names...liar liar pants on fire.

Posted by Eric | September 10, 2007 7:35 PM

Bennett says:
In the end, this is not really about the Iraq War for many of these people, or even about war at all. It is about domestic political power. And since they can't out-argue someone else's point of view, they revert to schoolyard bully behavior, shouting and screaming names...liar liar pants on fire.

Eric says:
I agree, and I just don't think that behavior will get anyone any real ground in this country. Let’s remember this: The people who express opinion don’t always follow through once they go into the voting booth. I don’t think that you should pay any attention to polls – they are always wrong. I base my opinion on the people I talk to and I have never, in person, met a person (out of hundreds) that opposes the war. This tells me that they don’t travel in my circles, or they don’t feel comfortable expressing their opinion outside of their safe groups.

Bennett, in my life, I have watched over 10 Presidential Elections, and in those 10 elections, the polls have been wrong 7 times. Wrong 7 out of 10 times. That’s not an accident. The three correct polls – Carter and Clinton (twice.) This tells me that:

1) Americans say things that they don’t really mean, or
2) Polls are misrepresented by the media, or
3) People who take polls don’t actually vote, or
4) A combination of all 3, or any 2.

Posted by LarryD | September 10, 2007 7:37 PM

Many of these people are suffering from pychological denial: They aren't rational in this area.

The insight that threatens to overwhelm them is that all of their political correctness; all of their multicultural BS; in fact, all of the shibboleths and platitudes of the the left that have been the glue holding together the house of cards of their ideology since the end of the last century, are no longer capable of preventing the collapse and disintegration of that ideology. If they think about it long and hard enough, they might even begin to realize the horrible truth: that in order for their ideology to survive, they must bet--all or nothing--on a win by the Islamic fanatics who want to destroy us all (including them).

The unacceptable feelings are a combination of impotent rage and burning hatred that threaten a deluded self concept. For decades now, they have told themselves that they are peaceful, loving, compassionate and just; that they stand for freedom and the empowerment of the little guy-- and now they cannot avoid looking in the mirror to see what their delusions have wrought.

The only way to avoid being submerged by all this reality is to embrace the denial ever more tightly and descend deeper into delusion and paranoia.

... The thing about denial is that it requires a considerable amount of self-delusion to be able to maintain it; and the longer it is maintained, the more hysterical and desperate become the attempts to preserve it.

The prognosis isn't good:

But the reality is that some people in denial prefer the lethal consequences of their denial as long as they don't have to question their own motivations, beliefs, and ideologies.

Those individuals, groups, or nations who live in the world of deep denial are practically untouchable by reality or rational argument. They go through their daily lives secure in the knowledge that their self-image is protected against any information, feelings, or awareness that might make them have to change their view of the world. Nothing--not facts, not observable behavior; not the use of reason, logic, or the evidence of their own senses will make them reevaluate that world view.

All events will simply be reinterpreted to fit into the belief system of that world--no matter how ridiculous, how distorted, hysterical or how psychotic that reinterpretation appears to others. Consistency, common sense, reality, and objective truth are unimportant and are easily discarded--as long as the world view remains intact. As discussed in Part II, there are countless strategies --rhetorical ploys and logical fallacies--that can be used to keep the truth at bay.

Posted by Fight4TheRight | September 10, 2007 7:54 PM

I'd just like to add that as the success and progress of the Surge has been portrayed, there has been plenty of press on the successes in Al Anbar province. I believe that most of the bloggers (and of course, ALL of the MSM) are missing the recent successes of Operation Lightning Hammer in Diyala province and the tremdendously encouraging first reports of Operation Lightning Hammer 2 further north into the provinces of Ninewa and Salahadin.

The point is...Petraeus is following through with his promise of a strategy to dog Al Qaeda throughout the country of Iraq - to NOT let them rest a moment. He is systematically pushing them North and East - Al Anbar is no longer an option for them so in due time, Al Qaeda's options will be death, imprisonment, or flight into Syria, Turkey or Iran. Along the way, they will more than likely find that the Kurds don't take prisoners.

Posted by Rovin | September 10, 2007 8:26 PM

Watching General Petraeus on Fox with Brit Hume as this is posted, the man is so direct and resolute with his dicton. There is little doubt that this leader is determined to drive al-qaeda out of Iraq and is even talking about troop reductions as the progress advances. With such a opportunity for victory and stability, the democratic party had better get their priorities straight or they may very well be left out of what was once a proud party that put the nations well being ahead of partisanship.

Posted by Iraq Vet | September 10, 2007 8:50 PM

As one who has recently spent 16 months trying to put into practice the new Army/Marine Counterinsurgency strategy in a non-permissive environment in Iraq, I can tell you Petraeus is right on. I believe we are winning the military fight in Anbar and other Sunni area.

However...the situation in the South of Iraq is totally different, and I am frustrated at not hearing it being discussed in the media back here in the states.

For some reason, coalition forces have not been allowed to declare Jaysh Al Mahdi (Sadr's Mahdi Army) as a hostile force. It's members who are trained, funded and supplied by Iran, known by name and location, are not designated as "status" targets, meaning they can be killed on sight. We have lost the fight in the South. The Shia militias own the streets, including the police departments and civil governments. Shia Judiciary will refuse to issue arrest warrants against Shia militia members who murder Shia policemen.

There is a member of the Sadrist Current, the political wing of the Mahdi Army, who is a member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives. She has as members of her personal protective detail militia members who are Iranian supplied IED cell members who are responsible for killing American soldiers. She gets official ministry of interior ID's for terrorists. They use her official vehicles to get weapons through checkpoints. We have her name, and where she lives.

The US State department says she has immunity. She has a house, safely ensonced in the green zone. Think about that. Think about what that does to a unit of American soldiers who have lost soldiers to IED in that area, but are unable to do a thing about it.

This sends a huge signal to the surrounding community, who do not actively support the militia. A militia leader will publicly visit the Iraqi Police station and have tea with the police chief. Everyone sees this. It's pure intimidation. The militia extorts, kidnaps, murders and robs citizens with impunity. Coalition forces in the South must remain sitting ducks. Although we know where some of these people are, we are not allowed to roll them up because they are outside our "battlespace."

Our civil affairs projects ended up funding the arms/mortar supply that was used in attacks against our base. The local city council colluded in this. We would be hit, and the enemy would retreat over a river over which we weren't allowed to conduct operations.

These are not isolated situations, but roll all the way up to the central Shia dominated Iraqi government, but on a larger scale.

Local Shia sheikhs hate the Shia militia, but will not act because they say they would in effect be fighting the Shia government, because the Shia militia controls the government.

This is the opposite in Anbar. In Anbar, American commanders can empower local Sunni sheiks to fight Sunni Al Queda specifically because the Shia central government is not involved.

The military successes in Anbar are not the end game. They are not the barometer of ultimate success in Iraq. Without a strong, nonsectarian government in power, the gains will be lost.

According to the new Petraeus' counterinsurgency manual, 20% of a COIN fight is military, the rest is political. Where are we winning politically, in the context of the central government?

I have been a regular participant in high level security meetings with Iraqi generals, politicans, and US State department representatives.

I have read several thousand classified intelligence reports over 16 months, CIA assessments, state department assessments, interrogation reports, and generated several myself.

Believe me, there is no master plan being implemented to deal with the Shia militias on a largescale military and political scale.

Aside from the successes in Sunni areas against Al Queda, the rest of the fight against the Shia militias is lost. We do not have the combat power to open the front in the south like we have in the North. The British are finally washing their hands in disgust in Basra due to Shia militia and government gangsters. They should.

My point is that people need to get up to speed on the real end game. The lives of American soldiers are worth taking the time to get informed. How many people involved in this debate can even name the political party of Al-Maliki, the prime minister?

The radical left has been the biggest disappointment of all. Their hatred has disabled them from any coherent argument regarding the necessity of containing the radical Islamist threat, much less the intricacies of the political ground in Iraq.

Radical Islamists are a cross between the Branch Davidians/Sopranos/Bloods/Crips. American politicians must give priority to seriously containing this threat.

Well, thanks for reading this far. I covered a lot of specific items that I can expound on individually. I'd like to continue discussing on this site.

Posted by firedup | September 10, 2007 8:52 PM

Give it up, Al Qaeda.

King David has you in his sights, and he ain't in no ways tired.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 10, 2007 9:13 PM

Iraq Vet, thank you for your post.

Since, we're not through, yet, in Irak, it's possible that Sadr is not getting the full concentration he needs. But didn't he just run to iran? Wasn't he in hiding? And, isn't this part of the Shi'a that's very, very poor? So, it's gonna be harder to provide "infrastructure," in a wild-enough system, in any case?

Michael Totten's latest is up on InstaPundit. He's got very interesting pictures of Ramadi. (And, you're right. I can't tell north from south in my own neighborhood. Give me a map, and I tend to stand on my head, trying to figure things out. Just to get home.)

But Totten's article came with pictures. (And, since he did pictures from Southern Lebanon, last year, I gotta tell ya; HERE WAS DISTRUCTION; before the people in the area gave up the A-Q; and, turned to the Americans FOR help.

The other pieces of the puzzle? Is it possible, the American military is "splitting up" Irak? Creating this by zones, where you can now go about and do business; where we're not seen as the occupiers. Instead, Iraqis have to come forward.

Right after the Iraqi elections, unfortunately, Bush sent in Paul Bremer. There's also been some discussions, pushing blame on Rumsfeld. Who had to deal with problems in the DOD, HERE. So, I'm not surprised, when things don't run perfectly well; the blame artists come out.

While in most wars, so far, there's a learning curve. The stuff on the ground sometimes leads to losses. (Patton, who suffered a few, always came back and kept hitting harder.)

Yet, again, from Totten's piece, in irak we really want the citizens to feel safe. Even when it makes military sense to level a neighborhood ...

Well, again, from Michael Totten's photographs, RAMADI GOT LEVELED. Are the Iraqis also learning how far our troops can be pushed? Where there's the best deals. And, where death just lurks behind the corners?

We can't win unless we give this one a long time. (Well, if you think Japan became an overnight success, you'd guess wrong. But what MacArthur did, including the total surrender, was park the heavy guns at sea. While he gave the citizens in the streets a sense that they'd be protected.)

FIVE YEARS WENT BY. And, Truman, meanwhile, kept trying to pull MacArthur out of Tokyo. Telling him to come back to the States "for parades." Dunno, how MacArthur did it. But one man made all the difference in the world.

One man who was later destroyed by Truman; a very second rate president. Who got lucky.

Long term? I hope we keep troops in Irak. Better than keeping them in germany! Why not train our soldiers in this environment? How else can we deal with what's ahead? Just carpet bombing isn't gonna be a solution. Didn't work, yet.

And, getting cooperation from people who generally have no idea how to go beyond their families, tribes, and religious leaders; means that we need to hope there's enough technology out there; that even the Iraqis are plugged into the Internet.

Who knows? Maybe, someday Sadr will get killed? And, maybe, someday soon? The "dinner jacket" goes to the cleaners. Why would Bush leave this to the next president? (Well, we have more than a year, ahead, to find out.)

Posted by Jon Burch | September 10, 2007 9:40 PM

Sheeban, I thought I recognized that shrieking voice.

Posted by Rovin | September 10, 2007 9:48 PM

Sadr's been dealt only three cards in a five card hand and he still has to play them. And I don't think the General is short a good cards even before the draw. I could never be so proud of the task our military are enduring at this time and there can never be enough praise for their fortitude and resolve. Hopefully Sadr will find it a more peaceful solution to compromise his stance.

Many thanks to Iraq Vet for the reality update we can all absorb.

Posted by Nedra Lee | September 10, 2007 10:23 PM

Iraq Vet, Please do comment here as often as you like. Obviously, everyone's comments are positive.
You and Michael Yon are now my favorite Iraq writers.

Posted by Nedra Lee | September 10, 2007 10:26 PM

Opps ... My sentence should have read: "Obviously everyone's comments are positive regarding your writing."


Posted by red | September 10, 2007 10:30 PM

Thanks for your post and your service Iraq Vet. Keep 'er coming.

Posted by MarkT | September 10, 2007 11:00 PM

I was unconvinced by some of the charts.

The details seems odd: e.g. including "hoax IEDs" in a chart about recent IED levels.

Can anyone explain why hoaxes would be included?

Why not also give the numbers without the hoaxes included?

Posted by Bennett | September 10, 2007 11:12 PM

"Believe me, there is no master plan being implemented to deal with the Shia militias on a large scale military and political scale."

Why is this?

Posted by Carol Herman | September 11, 2007 12:19 AM

Bush plays such a tight hand, that there are no clues, beforehand. No "tells" as they say, in poker.

But Israel just did run a test of the new russian anti-aircraft equipment. Why would they do that? Unless there's a check of the "overheads" for the safety of flights?

Sure, if "the dinner jacket" gets to go to the cleaners, in iran; we could do this from Dolphin Class subs at sea.

And, yes, I read, today, at Debka, that we've got 3 carriers,again in the Straits of Hormuz.

The other "piece" that may fit this puzzle? Today, in Ha'aretz, over in Israel, one reporter wrote an article that Assad is "discovering" that the "arab stance," in "brother states," isn't as "wide" as he'd like. Because? There's not the usual condemning of Israel, being raised on those "over flights" where either Israel dropped live ammunition, or fuel tanks. Or garbage cans. To test the crap on the ground the russians delivered. "No jam for you" seems to be ... how shall I say this? Jammed.

What opportunities lurk on the horizon?

While, in Irak, we've added more trooops to the surge. So, we've got what? 210,000 soldiers, now, on the ground?

And, this is just a question. Since Sadr is a problem, and Maliki at least, to be in charge, should at least have his "faction" under control; why not assume that Patraeus is leaving this one in the hands of the Iraqis?

I also read somewhere, that what we don't see, is in fact, "a dividing" up of Irak. So, yes. The Kurds handle their section. And, the sunnis just discovered that if they don't handle their section, they'll lose it all.

And, those pictures Michael Totten just posted, and Glenn Reynolds links to this; shows ya that Ramadi is safe enough these days that ... well Totten wasn't killed going around with his camera. And, his notebook. Sunni territory is now calm. And, the 9 shieks, who used to support Al-Kie-da, have discovered that it would just be better to support American troops. That's PRICELESS. (We must'a done something right.)

Whose to say the Bonkeys aren't in disarray? To avoid learning anything, they can't come here. They gotta depend on Olbermann. Not much cover, there.

Perhaps? Not much cover, anywhere.

What if President Bush does something this week?

Ringy-dingy, Rama-Dama-Ding-Dong? Gee, I sure could use a surprise. Then? What could the congress critters do? Hold more hearings? Don't they look bad enough, already? Even to C-Span's audience?

Oh, yeah. Those women in pink. Don't they know pigs are pink? Old ladies in pink don't look healthy, either.

Posted by AH·C | September 11, 2007 12:27 AM

Carol Herman says:

. . . REP. Illena Ros-Lehtinen’s use of the ad was tremendous political theater — or, more accurately, a political gesture in what is really the vast political play called “the 2008 US national elections.” . . .

Actually, it was a well-aimed rock thrown into a pack of dogs and guess who yelped? :D

Also, I'm left wondering if there wasn't some sort of gender bias at work here? Moments earlier, REP Duncan Hunter originally brought up the ad and wondered if the Dems would disavow it. Nary a murmur nor peep in response.

Then when REP Ros-Lehtinen brings it up again, her "esteemed" colleague-across-the-aisle felt it OK to snarl, "No one needs to apologize for that ad"!!! (Nothing demos one's cojones like a smack-down of a weaker & out-ranked opponent, tut-tut)

Too bad that REP Ros-Lehtinen could think to retort, (IIRC) "Cool it".

I'll bet if she could do that scene over again, she'd recite the adage about stoned-dogs for the public record. What a golden sound-bite moment that would have been! ;)

Posted by crossdotcurve | September 11, 2007 6:03 AM

George Will column today:

Surge has failed. There's no definable mission. The reason for war - WMDs - was fictitious.

It's always nice to see a conservative remain rooted in the reality-based community. Rare...but nice.

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