Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

August 28, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE PETRAEUS REPORT....The Washington Post reports that Gen. David Petraeus managed to get the recent intelligence assessment of Iraq toned down:

The NIE, requested by the White House Iraq coordinator, Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, in preparation for the testimony, met with resistance from U.S. military officials in Baghdad, according to a senior U.S. military intelligence officer there. Presented with a draft of the conclusions, Petraeus succeeded in having the security judgments softened to reflect improvements in recent months, the official said.

This reminds me of something. I don't remember if I've ever blogged about this before, but until recently my guess was that Petraeus's September report to Congress would be pretty sober. My thinking was that he's a smart guy, and realizes that trying to paint too pretty a picture would ruin his credibility. So instead he'd present a basically realistic assessment, but stud it with just enough signs of progress to convince everyone that he deserved more time to make the surge work.

Now I'm not so sure. Petraeus has been very shrewd about providing dog-and-pony shows to as many analysts, pundits, reporters, and members of Congress as he could cram into the military jets criss-crossing the Atlantic to Baghdad on a seemingly daily basis this summer. And those dog-and-pony shows don't seem to have been subtle: rather, they've been hard-sell propositions complete with "classified" PowerPoint presentations (always a winner for people with more ego than common sense); visits to a handpicked selection of the most successful reconstruction teams in the country; a plainly deceptive implication that the surge played a role in the Anbar Awakening; feel-good stories about how local power generation is a good thing; the recent insistence that civilian casualties are down, which increasingly looks like a book-cooking scam that wouldn't stand the light of day if Petraeus allowed independent agencies access to his data; and, of course, the ongoing campaign to scare everyone by kinda sorta claiming that Iran and al-Qaeda are ramping up their activities and then getting suddenly slippery whenever anyone asks if they have any real evidence for this.

Petraeus is still a smart guy. He won't go too far overboard. But he's obviously been treating the September report like a military operation, trying to generate as much good press and congressional change of heart as he possibly can in the weeks leading up to 9/11. I now expect him to provide just the opposite of what I thought before: a consistently upbeat report studded with just enough accomodations to reality to keep him from seeming completely ridiculous.

And the question is: Will everyone swoon? Or will they demand more than just anecdotal evidence and unsupported statistics? I hope for the latter, but I fear for the former.

Kevin Drum 12:11 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (61)

Bookmark and Share

Swoon it will be.

Posted by: Boronx on August 28, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Presenting his report on 9/11 says it all.

Posted by: Neal on August 28, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

here's the real test: will petraeus mention 9-10 years?

Posted by: howard on August 28, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I'm not one of your reflexive bashers but I don't know why you ever thought that one of George W. Bush's hand picked stooges would ever be honest.

The Petraeus record speaks for itself, he has had a consistent message that Iraq is getting better whenever he's been asked. Since that's obviously not been the case there is no reason to suspect he would start being honest now.

Posted by: heavy on August 28, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of his dog and pony shows for visiting congressional folks in Iraq, am off this evening to cross the wide Columbia River and hear Rep.Linda Smith Baird explain his newly changed position on Iraq to a Town Hall meeting - Should be very interesting

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 28, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Let's not forget he certainly realizes he could run for President one day.

Posted by: David Patin on August 28, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

As for the content of the looming report, anyone who has ever used the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program knows what's coming next. Americans should expect to see the old "Fill Right" trick. That is, when producing a long-term financial model or forecast, the Excel user in the absence of research, data, or just common sense, simply copies the value or formula from one cell (for, say, monthly or quarterly sales) to all the succeeding cells (months or quarters in ensuing years). The result is an impressive looking spreadsheet, but one whose projections are baseless and without foundation.

As the interim surge report made clear in July, President Bush like any failed CEO has been relying on the old fill-right gimmick since the Iraq war commenced. Starting in 2003, Bush simply selected the cell containing the phrase "We're Making Progress" and filled right...

For a screen shot and more details, see:
"White House to Author 'Fill Right' Iraq Report for Petraeus."

Posted by: Angry on August 28, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

If Petraeus presents a glowing report, and the "successes" in Iraq continue, he might be able to buy himself a little more time for his surge. He might be able to mollify war critics sufficiently to keep us in Iraq a bit longer. There will, however, be no peace in Iraq until there is political reconciliation, and it just seems very unlikely that the Sunnis will be comfortable as a minority in the Iraqi Parliament. They used to run the whole enchillada, lest we forget.

In any event, I'm guessing that we start to see a drawdown of troops before the elections next year. Bush will say that the surge worked, that most of the country is peaceful, and that he is drawing down troops and he'll let the Iraqis handle the rest. So, it'll be Vietnam all over again, basically. If he does this, I'm guessing it will take the wind out of Hillary's sails. Her advantage is that she's perceived as being way tougher than her opponents for the nomination, and if the need for that toughness is abated, the Democrats will probably pick a safer candidate.

Posted by: Lev on August 28, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

interesting that lute requested the NIE. he also mentioned the draft. both after being ignored for months following his confirmation. next under the bus?

Posted by: benjoya on August 28, 2007 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Ah yes, Gen. David Petraeus and his magical mystery plan. I have seen nothing to suggest that Pretraeus actually has a plan which encompasses much more than holding heroic press conferences No one actually can describe the fabulous Pretraeus Plan and it is important to remember that Petraeus was never actually asked to describe his “plan” in any detail during his confirmation hearings and since that time he has spoken only in vague generalities and slogans. Not once has he offered anything that could remotely be described as a blueprint for achieving “victory” in Iraq.

If you need any further reason to worry about Petraeus think about his willingness to be used to conflate 9/11 and Iraq---do to “scheduling issues” Petraeus will deliver his report to Congress on September 11, 2007. How about that?

Posted by: Mitch Guthman on August 28, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Oooooh! Classified powerpoint presentations!

As a military puke, I can assure you all that virtually all "classified" crap in such presentations is a big, disappointing (if you, you know, have any hold on reality) pile of WTF? Just before the first Iraq War I was among a select group (oooooh!) of B-52 aircrewmen to be briefed in on a superdupersecret plan! What did this superdupersecret plan turn out to be? Why, the fact that there actually existed air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) that carried...wait for it...conventional warheads instead of nuk-u-lar!

Ok ok, get over your hyperventilating and shock. It is true, even back then, there were these ALCMs loaded with non-nuk-u-lar warheads and, here's the superdupersecret second part: we were to be part of a plan that would end up being the first shots fired in that war - a loooooooooooooooooong flight across the pond in a flight of 3 B-52s loaded with these superdupersecret ALCMs which we would ten launch at Iraqi targets from over the Med!

Are you all still conscious? You can pull your fingers out of your ears and quit screaming "I do not hear you I do not hear you!" It's OK. This deadly-assed bit of fluff was actually Top Secret SCI shit! You cannot imagine what a let-down it was to get briefed in on that, expecting some magical cool secret to be divulged to we happy few only for it to turn out to be "WTF? You're kidding right? Hell's bells, we assumed there were a bunch of these weapons to begin with, because, you know, it makes no sense for the NOT to be, and now you are telling us that all this time we've been havng superdupersecret logical assumptions?

Most other secrets to which I have been privy involving nuk-u-lar this, weapons that, targets this, plans that, are of an equally inane and even assinign nature. For Congressidiots to get all goofy-eyed over nonsense shit and feel their egos get stroked just eliminates what small, nay, miniscule respect I MAY have harbored for anyone in the halls of our government.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on August 28, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

The last report said they were meeting 8 of 16 goals when the actual number was closer to 2 of 16, and nobody called them on it.

This report will talk about all the great things that are just beginning to happen now. Everything will be great in six months. The enemies are in their last throes. Winners never quit, and quitters never win. Wait til next year.

Posted by: reino on August 28, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Lev: "If Petraeus presents a glowing report, and the "successes" in Iraq continue, he might be able to buy himself a little more time for his surge. He might be able to mollify war critics sufficiently to keep us in Iraq a bit longer."

I think this sums it up pretty accurately -- Petraeus is beginning to look like yet another in a long list of people who just want to put the war on a "six more months" treadmill. I don't think it needs to be a glowing report in order to achieve that, though. In fact, a glowing report would be dismissed out of hand. A report with just enough ambiguous positives, while acknowledging the more than obvious setbacks, would be perfect.

I don't agree with Lev about the troop drawdown, though. Not while Bush is still in office, anyway. That's too great a concession to his critics. Can't have that, can we?

Posted by: junebug on August 28, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Petraeus is still a smart guy.

You're still hugging him too close. Step back and take a look at the Surgin' General in context. If he were a smart guy, he never would have taken on this hideously impossible mission.

At the end, whether he postpones it for 1 or multiple Friedman Units, he will be responsible for many more needless deaths of Americans and Iraqis. He has failed to protect his troops and the population, and these were costs that he accepted from the start of the surge--which was bad tactics and no strategy at all, and the really smart guys (the ones who told George the Piqued no thanks) knew it. Petraeus didn't.

So how smart do you have to be to cause more mayhem, increase our troops' vulnerability, waste more lives and money, and further shred the United States' credibility and moral standing? Are you giving him credit for staying alive? Maybe that's what makes him smart--letting others do the dying.

Posted by: Myopickled on August 28, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

His report is nothing more than an "annual report" given by a company. All flash. PR releases ahead of time to massage the stock price. Etc. Saavy investors ignore such things and look at the fundamentals and year over-year-trends. These are not good, and our investment "dollars" (both real and human) can be put to use more effectively elsewhere. End of story.

Posted by: Noogs on August 28, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

A White House report given on 9/11?

Yes, swoon. More deaths, more billions...

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on August 28, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't matter what Petraeus says.

1. The Bush Administration is basically irrelevant. We're all sitting in the lobby, waiting for them to leave. Except the Iraqis, who are preparing to bomb the lobby.

2. Everyone has hardened their positions regarding this report anyway. Why, our own Kevin Drum has provided us with fat stacks of charts and graphs showing us why the surge doesn't work. Wingers have provided just as much "evidence" that the surge does work.

Bottom line - will this report change anyone's mind? "Hells-to-the-no" as the kids say.

Kudos to General Petraeus for evolving the art of counterinsurgency. These lessons are going to come in handy in the all-too-near future, I fear. Other than that, Iraq is still what it always has been, a fucking quagmire.

Posted by: cazart on August 28, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Think magically young man. Believe in miracles.

Posted by: gregor on August 28, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

heavy: Kevin, I'm not one of your reflexive bashers...

Other than winger trolls, I'm not sure Kevin has any "reflexive bashers." People tend to criticize him for one or more of several specific actions: leaning on reformed liberal hawks while downplaying or ignoring his own original pro-war stance; employing a one hand/other hand style of discourse that makes little effort to assess the validity of the opposing points; making sweeping statements about the supposed fringe left and declining to back himself up with specifics; showing a curious unwillingness to take any kind of stand on many issues.

That these criticisms tend to come up over and over may have less to do with the reflexiveness of the commenters than with Kevin's continual repetition of the actions being criticized. In fact, he takes a whole lot less heat than many bloggers, and in any case, it comes with the territory.

I thought the rest of your post was right on and well stated, though, heavy.

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

O bullshit. Petraeus did not evolve the art of counter-insurgency.

In fact, while "training" the Iraqi government forces, he apparently did not notice he was surrounded by gangsters carrying out billions of dollars worth of weapons thefts and black market sales.

Any general who doesn't notice the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of weapons is just a suck-up. Although, in the case of Petraeus, an unusually large suck-up.

Posted by: serial catowner on August 28, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Successful criminals -- were talking major-scale players, not people who are good, let alone circumspect, at what they do -- will also find cringing enablers. Time to roll up some newspapers (no point reading them anymore) and get to work.

Posted by: Kenji on August 28, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Gen. Betrayus is hardly a disinterested party in evaluating his own performance, especially since he "wrote the book" on counterinsurgency.

Posted by: Luther on August 28, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

another point here. it's already been said that Patreus' report won't be Patreus' report, but written by and for the White House, with as much reference to Patreus as serves their purposes. In short, the cherry pickers are cherry picking and cherry picking cherry picker. Shorter still, Bush and Iraq are still stinking piles of shit. Here's another go at trying to serve it to us as fillet mignon. When we find out it's still shit and not fillet mignon, maybe we'll want some fillet mignon just enough to stick around for another 6 months and see if some magically appears.

Team America, Fuck Yeah!

Posted by: Trypticon on August 28, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Look, Petraeus doesn't have to win the war to become a (Republican) war hero. All he has to do is promise future success and when the Democrats pull the plug (either by Congressional vote or more likely, by order of a Democratic president in 2009), the Republican can run in 2012 on a good old fashioned "they stabbed us in the back" campaign. Heck, they'll probably put Petraeus on the ticket.

Posted by: beowulf on August 28, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

I certainly expect that Bush and Petraeus will generate only very rosy PR for the surge. But I also fully expect a quite ironic upshot. It will only damage the GOP in the long run, where the run gets long well earlier than November 2008.

The positive assessment of the surge will, of course, have the effect of promising the American people still one more corner that's been turned. The Republican candidates will, by the politics of the GOP, be forced to sign on to success of the surge, and the potential success of the Iraq war. Yet, within a small number of further months, it will surely become evident beyond dispute that this PR was still another unconscionable deception.

And come November 2008, the Republicans will be slaughtered. The timing of this could not be better for the Democrats if they had designed it themselves.

And all of this will be brought about the ego of one George W Bush, who is throwing up a Hail Mary on the last play from his own 10 yard line, stupidly hoping against stupid hope that he'll win the game for his legacy.

Posted by: frankly0 on August 28, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, how did you get into this business? Seriously. How is it that you've managed to get a magazine to pay you to blog about "stuff" you don't really care about (the surge) or have much insight into.

By your own admission, you're not very good at prognosticating, you don't seem to have much, if any, political acumen, and your positions on the issues (like the war in Iraq) are those of a frightened Joe McCarthy-loving neocon.

I suppose the real question is why would anyone but the Als and Norman Rogers hang around here and lend Kevin Drum the credibility to earn a living off the detritis of dead Americans?

Posted by: Andy Kaplan on August 28, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'm totally using "Surgin' General" every chance I get.

Today's NY Times reports that a close aide to Petraeus has been caught up in an investigation of fraud and kickbacks in arms sales in Iraq. Does anyone think this might have an effect on the good General's political capital or reputation?

I'm guessing probably not. It's worth looking into how people like Petraeus acquire their mostly undeserved reputations for probity, competence and honesty. My theory is that our government has become so clogged with corruption and incompetence that the media, and eventually the public, siezes on anyone who might actually know what the hell he/she is doing, sort of like survivors of a shipwreck grabbing any piece of flotsam they can find.

But that's just my cynical view...

Posted by: SteveB on August 28, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Is it too late to get over there and buy some carpets?

If Mr. Drum here will his clout with WaMo to vouch for me as a "journalist", I'll sit quietly through the PowerPoint presentation, tour the bazaar, and score carpets for all the PA regulars! Whaddya think?

Seriously, it's sad to say that beowulf at 1:27 is probably right.

Posted by: thersites on August 28, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

The NIE was obviously stroked by the Bushco wordsmiths--an independent document would not so obviously reflect the "Happy Talk O' The Day" discourses emitted by White House spokesvolk. Message discipline, first and always.

Second, the NIE cleverly drew its "good news" only from the "surge area," stating disingenuously that it was concentrating on the "central provinces" i.e., Baghdad and environs. This allowed the document to ignore the evolving catastrophe in Southern Iraq, where a Shiite civil war is unfolding and Iranian influence is strongest--not to mention that it is the home to the *big* oil fields and Iraq's only port.

With props to Clausewitz, the NIE was a continuation of politics by other means.

Posted by: Petronius on August 28, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Will Petraeus betray us?

Posted by: jerry on August 28, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

...and score carpets for all the PA regulars!

Be sure to follow Lindsey Graham's clueless lead and brag about getting the carpets for a dollar each. On top of every other war-related point this lunkhead has managed to miss, it never occurred to him that it might be unseemly to boast about paying a buck for the enormous labor someone else put into making said carpet? "And vendors smiled subserviently at me as, surrounded by armed soldiers and cameras, I totally ripped them off! They love us!"

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

serial catowner has a point, too: "Any general who doesn't notice the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of weapons is just a suck-up. Although, in the case of Petraeus, an unusually large suck-up."

And aside from (though perhaps related to) the magnitude of the general's upsuckingness, the leakage of weaponry does call into question his expertise in counterinsurgency. If I'm not mistaken, even as far back as the times when Counterinsurgency 101 was called Counterinsurgency CI, anyone whose life was on the line, on either side of any conflict, knew to keep an eye on the weapons pipeline.

Of course you try to avoid being killed, wounded, or captured. You also don't let your enemy steal your weapons, and you don't sell them to him either. Yet the insurgents always concentrate their intelligence and energy on doing exactly that: stealing, capturing, or buying the weapons of the established forces, which are always better and more numerous than one's own. And the insurgents always succeed to some extent.

Petraeus didn't anticipate the leaks and didn't act to stop them?

Posted by: Myopickled on August 28, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

...and the answer is: swoon.

Can't believe that was much of a question.

The right has already convinced the media that "pretty much everyone agrees" that the surge is working and there's reason to think victory (pony) is just around the corner.

Did you think you went to sleep and woke up in another time and place?

Posted by: Jim Pharo on August 28, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

All you have to do is look at his track record and his recent interviews to know that his upcoming report is going to be dishonest. The man has a four-year history of rosy predictions regarding Iraq, all of which have been shown to be dead wrong. His most recent lengthy interview was with Hugh Hewitt (which tells you a lot about the dear general), and in that interview, he basically gave us a preview of what he's going to say before Congress -- that there are still problems but that we can see signs of significant progress.

It's all a dog-and-pony act that is going to change very few minds. It's designed to do one thing: to buy more time, which, regrettably, they'll probably get. In another Friedman Unit, who knows? It will be six months more of civil war and chaos, a terrible choice between "staying the course" and breaking the army, and six months closer to the 2008 election. Then and only then are we likely to see any significant change.

Posted by: PaulB on August 28, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

I think that Kevin's initial opinion was correct. Petraeus will probably be somewhat less optimistic in his report than what we are hearing these days. That will make him sound sober and reasoned (which he appears to be.)

The question is will politicians who are banking on failure in Iraq (yes, yes, I know....) be willing to believe him and adjust their tack in D.C. accordingly? I think not. Gaining and holding political power trumps all other concerns (as if you didn't know that already.)

Posted by: Brian on August 28, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Who the hell thought this cluck Petraeus was a neutral voice? I don't know how Kevin (and I greatly respect Kevin, I am not bashing him) or anybody else could ever have thought that about Petraeus after the total outlandish shill for the war Republicans and anti-Kerry/Democrats op-ed piece he put up in the Washington Post right before the 2004 election. And anybody that didn't know about that was not paying attention. Patraeus is nothing but a shill tool for Bush.

Posted by: b\ on August 28, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't this seem a lot like what happened when Colin Powell took the point in front of the U.N. All the pundits swooned. Only later did they realize or admit that they had been had. This is basically a stall operation. Mark Shields had it right last Friday. We are now engaged in pin the tail on the donkey "who lost Iraq" contest. Bush is trying to stall until he can get out of office so that dems get the blame for the subsequent disaster. "We were so close to victory until those damn democrats stopped us." He is using the "since any way you go it's a disaster situation" to put off taking any action. There's flight, fight and freeze. We're like the rabbit who doesn't know whether to run or not and just freezes, waiting for the inevitable to happen.

John Kerry's words are echoing all over the place..."...last man to die."

Posted by: Oleary on August 28, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Praedor at 12:37: That was hilarious.

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Will everyone swoon? Or will they demand more than just anecdotal evidence and unsupported statistics?"

Swooning gets my vote. Despite what some GOP members have been hinting at, by and large no one actually wants to pull out of Iraq. Remember the age of the major players; they all remember Viet Nam clearly.

And no one wants the label of being the one to bring us Viet Nam 2. Not Petraus, not any Congressional players of stature.

I think this explains the otherwise nonsensical statements and actions that have been mentioned in this thread.

Posted by: zak822 on August 28, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

The question is...

Will Brian ever stop being a disgusting lickspittle for Bush? I think not.

Posted by: ckelly on August 28, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Little touchy there huh, ckelly?

Posted by: Brian on August 28, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

And the question is: Will everyone swoon? Or will they demand more than just anecdotal evidence and unsupported statistics? I hope for the latter, but I fear for the former.

Enough Repubs will swoon to prevent the Dems from passing any non-binding resolutions.

The CW in DC seems to be that the surge is working. Petraeus, as a smart guy, is taking advantage of that delusion.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on August 28, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

I wondered, on a different forum (and maybe on this one, too), how credible these NIEs are, especially the publicly released bits, given the reliability of the rushed October 2002 NIE.

I think the answer is "not very credible."

Posted by: Model 62 on August 28, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Petraeus believes that the US lost the war in Vietnam because the government lost the support of the American people. Hence his much-vaunted new counter-insurgency strategy is aimed just as much at winning support at home as at winning support in Iraq. The former is the immediate priority; Iraq can wait. Hence the dog-and-pony shows are part of the strategy, the crucial part, in fact, not mere window-dressing.

Posted by: Arthur Goldhammer on August 28, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Petraeus believes that the US lost the war in Vietnam because the government lost the support of the American people.

Sure, haven't you heard? After we pulled out of Vietnam, the South Vietnamese were doing just fine against the North until the dastardly Democrat congress cut off the funds. Wouldn't want that to happen again now would we.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on August 28, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

This is something that gets me:

Conservative bloggers and acquaintances with whom I’ve argued Iraq always say:

“Well, Reid, et al, loved Petraeus a year ago,” as if they don’t have a right to change their minds after seeing enough dog-and-pony shows.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on August 28, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Conservative bloggers and acquaintances with whom I’ve argued Iraq always say:

“Well, Reid, et al, loved Petraeus a year ago,” as if they don’t have a right to change their minds after seeing enough dog-and-pony shows.

Suspect they're the same people who say, "Well, Bush got elected president, didn't he? That's the only poll that counts."

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

I can't imagine that Patraeus would submit anything other than a spin that essentially supports the administration.

Remember that in late September, 2004, when the presidential campaign was close, Patraeus wrote a puff op/ed in the Washington Post about the "progress" in Iraq. He is a political animal beholden to the administration.

Posted by: Travis on August 28, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

If they swoon they are stupid because anybody with a pulse could see this report was tainted from the beginning. Petraeus is not stupid enough to go in front of a Congress that's looking for a way out of Iraq and hand them the key with a downcast report. The fix was in already in from the beginning. Petraeus' so-called "report" is meaningless and that even before it was revealed the White House was writing it.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on August 28, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, Petreaus turns out to be just another careerist general in search of another star.

Posted by: hollywood on August 28, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

After his op-ed promotion piece for Bush's election campaign in 2004 did you really expect anything like honesty from Petraeus? He has been part of the Texas Mafia from day one.

Posted by: Bill H on August 28, 2007 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

How do you soften a report if not being deceptive and revisionist for a purpose? I dislike the word "soften." Changing the report to suit the administration's purposes is the likely case, given what we have seen with science, climate change and sex ed in this country.
Petreaus' report is now highly questionable and compromised. They are like a fraternity run amok. Manipulating a report to bolster political positioning is an unethical maneuver.

But none of this is unexpected.

The Government Accountability Office report is more apt to reflect the facts.

Presenting the Petraeus report on nine-eleven is disheartening, flagrant emotional manipulation of citizens' emotions. It is abusive. Bone-chilling.
Brutal. Their need to lie is malignant.
Who elected these people?

Historians will record the shameful orwellian nature of this administration and its minions.

Posted by: consider wisely always on August 28, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Winners write the history, we'll see where the shame falls, hope you losers survive the fallout, cancel that, suffer fools.

Posted by: Mr. Forward on August 28, 2007 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Winners write the history? Are you employed by the administration?

Posted by: consider wisely always on August 28, 2007 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Petraeus is in a tricky situation...He has to convince the Democrats who have already decided that they don't like what the report says and get what he needs for the military to run the war. As well as being a military general, he has to be a PR genius to maneuver through the politics of Washington. And nobody gets to be a General in charge of a war by being a puppet or by not caring about PR


Posted by: MorningGlobe on August 28, 2007 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Winners write the history"

Alas for poor Georgie, then.

Posted by: PaulB on August 28, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Patreaus has fallen in love with himself and seems now to have grand delusions like General MacArthur. He has prepared all his life for battle and he is clearly in love with the power and thrills of the occupation. If given the chance, he and the other Generals would occupy Iraq for ever. That is what they do. So why are we waiting for the Generals to tell us what to do in Iraq in September? The whole basis for that assumption is ludicrous, and MSM once again does nothing to challenge it. These are geo-political, strategic matters, not just tactical military maneuvers.

Patreaus also has political ambitions. His rationales for US military action are utterly foolish and propaganda to keep his war fun going, and to solidify his base on the extreme right wing of the Republican party. He has done a miserable job articulating clear military objectives and goals. He has failed to garner bipartisan respect, trust or support.

Get rid of Patreaus and get our troops out of the cross hairs of this civil war.

Posted by: jim on August 28, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

For any report delivered to Congress by Gen. Petraeus the first questions should be about origination and authorship.

If he says it is anything but his own, he's screwed. We don't need the White House created fiction again. Or a semi-political paper created by his chief of staff in conference with same. This has to be his assessment. He should be asked to leave and return with his own assessment and prognostication.

If it is his, the follow up is asking him to assert that he therefore stands by every word, 100%.

Then pick him apart with contrary or conflicting facts and reports. It'll soon show if the opinions are really his and can be substantiated.

Yeah, it's a tough route but that's why he's there and that's the reason all those people are dying and getting blown apart.

We've spent enough time showing respect and defference to the effers protracting the mayhem and disregarding responsibilities to the troops and the wider public -- US, Iraqi, and the rest.

Time to put Patreaus under fire.

Posted by: notthere on August 28, 2007 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Police should require more activity such as actually touching the cop in some way or exposing him self. The facts as stated pretty clearly show what Craig was after, but those limited types of gestures could be misinterpreted, or made-up by bad cops looking to fill their arrest quotas.

Craig pleaded guilty. End of story. His press conference denying being gay and implicitly condemning homosexuality makes it impossible for any sympathy. If he thought he could get away with it, he would have claimed that the cop slipped him a roffie and try to rape him.

Posted by: doug on August 28, 2007 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

Petraeus is honest and forthcoming and extremely smart---smart enough not to oversell to a skeptical Congress & MSM. He knows that his future is beckoning, though it may not be political as that is turning into a shabby profession that needs a Shining Star, but predictably any SS candidate will get enough flak to make his life miserable. My guess is that he will say let's keep plugging for a few more months and then revisit the options.

Posted by: daveinboca on August 29, 2007 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

Why on earth is Congressional leadership allowing this "Iraq report on 9/11" ploy? Don't they control the agenda? 9/11 should be devoted to hearings on 9/11 commission implementation, or the miserable failure to capture bin Laden, or on what Pakistan is doing to "help" find him in their own territory. You know, focus on something that actually has to do with 9/11.

Iraq is completely unrelated to 9/11, which of course is the main problem with the whole enterprise. So why let the WH make that subliminal connection yet again?

Posted by: lionel hutz on August 29, 2007 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK



Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM

buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly