The Petraeus Report: Past, Present, and Future
For years now, the Democrats have complained about the White House
strategy in Iraq. Then in 2006, when the Democrats gained the majority,
and with Reid's promise of bi-partisan cooperation, finally change was
in the air. The paradigm shift included replacing Rumsfeld and so in
January the President replaced him. The President replace General
Abizaid with Admiral Fallon at CENTCOM, General Casey with General
David Petraeus, and General Pace at the Joint Chiefs with
December, the Senate Majority leader had called upon the White House to
meet Congress halfway. The President did far more than that; he met
them most of the way. Now it's time for the Democrats to reciprocate,
but collective amnesia has suddenly descended upon those who
unanimously confirmed Petraeus. Even before the full 30,000 Surge
troops had arrived in Baghdad, Harry Reid had unilaterally and pre-emptively declared the war lost and the Surge a failure.
Petreaus is an ethical, honorable man, but he obviously could not be
trusted to deliver unbiased testimony! Why? Because the White House was
writing the September 15th report! Though no one wanted to call the
General a liar, this "Petraeus Report" business was like the dog that
did not bark.
While many jobs require specialized military skill sets, other tasks performed by our armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are non-military in nature. Civil affairs, policing, and reconstruction projects are all jobs which could be competently carried out by civilians. Instead of calling for a draft that does not solve the problems it claims to redress, why not engage in a little out of the box thinking? Why not challenge Congress to work with the White House to face both our future force structure requirements and the challenges of securing Iraq’s future honestly, rather than calling for boots they are unwilling to fund or approving Generals and changes in course only to begin sabotaging them before the ink is dry on their confirmation documents?
Santayana’s famous maxim is repeated so often because it is true: those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat their mistakes. In this case, the consequences of those mistakes are both heartbreaking and inexcusable. Iraq is not Vietnam, but history speaks clearly of what happens when we abandon our allies to ruthless murderers. There is no question that al Qaeda are ruthless murderers. Neither is there any legitimate question about their intentions for Iraq: they have openly announced their plans to establish an Islamic caliphate with Taliban-style rule. History, too, speaks clearly about what it is like to live under such a regime. There is no real debate about whether it would be in our interest to see such a fate befall Iraq.