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Hello? Reality Check

General Petraeus is first and foremost an active duty, serving officer of the United States Army. He is not going to contradict the President of the United States, and the President has already pronounced the “surge” a success. Anyone harboring the delusion that General Petraeus is going to provide Congress or the American people will the unvarnished truth, had better get their meds adjusted.

The General saw his first combat in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq as he graduated from West Point in 1974.

No one is going to know what the man really thinks until he retires. That’s the way the system works, get used to it.


1 fallenmonk { 09.06.07 at 5:41 pm }

We already know he is charged up with “facts” that are cherry picked and in some cases outright fabrication. It is up to the Democrats in Congress to end this disaster. Nothing that Patraeus will say will change the fact that it is failure redefined and that Bush is not going to change course voluntarily.

2 whig { 09.06.07 at 6:08 pm }

General Petraeus is not delivering his own report. He is delivering a report written by the White House.

Moreover, Petraeus has a history of acting as a shill for the administration.

3 Bryan { 09.06.07 at 7:21 pm }

The man has been running a PR campaign, not a military campaign, and has been focusing on the US, not Iraq.

4 whig { 09.06.07 at 7:29 pm }

Propaganda. Call it what it is.

5 John B. { 09.06.07 at 10:42 pm }


By coincidence, I received an email today from a friend who is overseas doing something for someone on some sort of contractual basis. (Ah-hem) He knows whereof he speaks… Back in ’03 he was for a short time in Iraq doing that same something for someone else. He took a look around, reached some judgments that shocked his superiors, and flat-out quit.

FWIW Here’s the relevant portion of his answer to my earlier query of what we can expect from Patraeus:

As a retired military officer, I am very concerned about the direction we are taking. David Patraeus is a very intelligent individual. However, he grew up in the same military that I did and at that time you did not challenge the decisions of the higher level leadership. We are in a quagmire that we have no idea how to get out of. Whatever David says this month is in my opinion meaningless for the long run. We need to develop an exit strategy for getting ourselves out this situation in the next 12 months. Otherwise we will be there for the next 12 years. Obviously not in our national interest. George Bush just does not understand and I am not sure any of his advisors do either.

6 Bryan { 09.06.07 at 11:13 pm }

The situation is impossible. It is a civil war. There is no way you can do anything without helping one group at the disadvantage to another.

You arm the Sunnis to fight “al Qaeda” and you are arming them to fight Shi’ia. The military and police are Shi’ia dominated, so when you arm them, you are arming them to fight the Sunni.

Saudi Arabia continues to support the Sunnis, and “volunteers” continue to flood across the Saudi border, while the US complains about Iran and Syria.

We don’t have the people to actually control the country. To have controlled Iraq would have required massive number of troops for the invasion and imposition of stability and control. As soon as looting was permitted to occur, we lost Iraq and armed the insurgents. It is too late to do anything.

Peacekeepers are worthless unless all of the combatants want peace, and none of them do.

Our presence is an excuse for a lot of outside people to be involved. We need to get the hell out and let the Iraqis find an Iraqi solution. You can’t impose a successful government from the outside. The government needs to fit the people being governed.

General Petraeus wrote the Army manual on insurgency, so he knows it is too damned late to make a difference. You get one chance to do it right, and the US missed that chance. It was the wrong country, for the wrong reasons, with the wrong tactics.

7 hipparchia { 09.06.07 at 11:50 pm }

David Patraeus is a very intelligent individual. However, he grew up in the same military that I did and at that time you did not challenge the decisions of the higher level leadership.

i’ve been debating this one with some acquaintances familiar with that environment.

petraeus is certainly smarter than a lot of folks, and he’s close enough to retirement [if he were so inclined]. the first should give him an edge in recogniozing the truth, and the second should give him some insulation should he decide to tell us all the unvarnished truth.

the question remains whether petraeus could overcome that indoctrination and question authority. i’ve been hoping he would, but it’s looking like he won’t.

8 Bryan { 09.07.07 at 12:10 am }

Hipparchia, he was hand-picked for the job, so he was certainly politically vetted. He looking at his retirement employment opportunities and his book contracts. He wants a permanent forth star. He’s going to pull a Colin Powell.