Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

04/09/2008 (5:38 am)

Petraeus: Much Progress, Much Work Remaining

General David Petraeus delivered a cautious but positive report to Congress yesterday regarding the progress of the Multinational Forces in establishing the new republic of Iraq. According to Petraeus, violence is down and Iraqis are seeking peaceful alternatives to fighting with each other, but the progress is fragile and reversible. Ambassor Ryan Crocker also testified, praising Iraq’s growing economy and functioning government. Both noted that Iran must be closed out of internal Iraqi politics, and counseled a pause in drawing down troops.

The text of Petraeus’ testimony is here, and the text of Crocker’s testimony is here, both in pdf format. Click on the image below to see Gen. Petraeus’ slides. Content courtesy of Bill Roggio’s Long War Journal.

Meanwhile, the leftward blogs have been going berserk over a silly question from Sen. Joe Biden and its answer by Ambassador Crocker, acknowledging that the al Qaeda presence on the Afghan-Pakistan border is greater than the al Qaeda presence in Iraq, a factoid that any astute 13-year-old could have told us. See the video here on Salon.com, and watch the Victory Dance at Hullaballo, where the headline hyperventilates, “Joe Biden Just Obliterated Every Administration Argument About Iraq.” It’s typical of the talking points top Democrat operatives feed the Echo Chamber — factually true, logically irrelevant. The Democratic base doesn’t understand the concept, “relevance,” so they’ll recite the irrelevant point ad nauseum as though anybody can see how it simply ends the debate. In a sense, they’re right: reciting an irrelevant talking point and refusing to respond to intelligent discussion does, in fact, end any possibility of debate among adults. It’s easy being a Democrat.

The left’s complaints about the war have always had the character of children who watch too much TV: if the show isn’t over in 1 hour, and getting the Bad Guy doesn’t tie things up neatly, it’s time to change the channel. Al Qaeda is only one of dozens of players in the global war against radical Islam, and a stable Iraq can yield long-term benefits that may change hundreds of millions of Muslim minds — but the leftists just want to get the Bad Guy so the show can end.

I found the testimonies of Petraeus and Crocker enlightening and informative, with several details about Iraq that don’t ordinarily make it into the press reports. They’re worth a read.

« « Speculation About Maliki's Timing | Main | Public Madrassa » »


April 9, 2008 @ 7:39 am #

Those maps are fascinating and really illuminating. Conservatives in general need to learn how to communicate like this. Wish there were larger versions available.

Also, I take slight issue with your last comment. The liberals want the bad guy caught only if one of their own can grab the credit. The true hard core leftists probably do not want him caught. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, remember?

April 9, 2008 @ 8:58 am #

lucianne.com directed me to this report ( http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=/Nation/archive/200804/NAT20080408b.html ) headlined ‘Iraq Violence Peaked Just Before U.S. Election, Data Shows’.

I worry that because of the candidates left in the field that AQI has decided that we have – in effect – set a date to withdraw from Iraq and is going to lie low until then. As much as I’d like to give full credit for the defeat of AQI to the surge and Awakening Councils, the enemy is not stupid.

I want to hear the Democrat candidate address the possibility of a AQI resurgence, perhaps again disguised as Iraqi ‘patriots’.

April 9, 2008 @ 10:10 am #

RM –

I can assure you, human nature is common to both conservatives and liberals. Your demonization of your political opponents (with the unstated granting of sainthood to the conservatives) serves no good end.

April 9, 2008 @ 11:33 am #


Yes, human nature goes both ways and sniping does cheapen the dialogue. I guess I am still grating about what I felt was the disgraceful reception Gen. Petraeus received the last time he reported, and gave in to the temptation to take the cheap shot.

Rest assured it was not directed at you in any way, shape or form (I’ve read your posts and respect the intelligent counterpoints). And to anyone reading this from the left side of the aisle who does not see things as per my broad brushings, my sincere apologies to you as well.


I’ve also thought about AQ marshaling their resources for some type of planned and/or last ditch effort just prior to the national election, somewhat similar to the bombing in Spain a few years ago, or perhaps regrouping along the lines you suggest. They may be hurting, but I believe they are harder to exterminate than a cockroach and a lot meaner.

I don’t know how a dramatic uptick in violence or cataclysmic event would work politically depending upon when it occurs. But I have no doubt AQ is thinking about how and when to stage their violence for maximum shock effect and political impact. I’m hoping that our intelligence gatherers have their fingers on the pulse of this.

April 10, 2008 @ 12:07 am #

I always find it amusing when libs feint offense in response to conservatives using their tactics against them. As I seem to recall, Morons.org’s General “Betrayusad in the NYT appeared the day before he had even testified.

For libs that don’t like “cheap shots”: Build me a bridge, cry me a river, and get over it.

Imagine how offended libs would be if I were to point out that the vast majority of them are stuck on stupid?


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