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Friday, July 20, 2007

Surging forever

First, we were told to wait till April to see if the surge was working. Then, it was June. Then, it was September. Now, it's November. And, as Paul Krugman [behind subscription wall] notes today, the guy who is going to tell us whether it is working, Gen. Petraeus, is a mouthpiece for the administration.

I don’t know why the op-ed article that General Petraeus published in The Washington Post on Sept. 26, 2004, hasn’t gotten more attention. After all, it puts to rest any notion that the general stands above politics: I don’t think it’s standard practice for serving military officers to publish opinion pieces that are strikingly helpful to an incumbent, six weeks before a national election.

In the article, General Petraeus told us that “Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously.” And those security forces were doing just fine: their leaders “are displaying courage and resilience” and “momentum has gathered in recent months.”

In other words, General Petraeus, without saying anything falsifiable, conveyed the totally misleading impression, highly convenient for his political masters, that victory was just around the corner. And the best guess has to be that he’ll do the same thing three years later.


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