Daily Wisdom

August 24, 2007

The Infamous "Petraeus Report"

The Liberal mainstream media is eagerly anticipating the September 15th deadline for the now infamous "Petraeus Report". For some on the Left, the anticipation is in planning on how to spin the report. For others, the anticipation is more like dread. Democrats in Congress have clearly chosen the path of defeatism and surrender, declaring Iraq to be a lost cause. They have done so with the obvious intention of speaking "truth (or rather... lies) to power". They have been so determined to smear President Bush, that they have been willing to throw the sacrificed lives of valiant American heroes onto history's dungheap of "lost causes" and "failures", without a second thought.

But their efforts may in fact be rewarded with scorn. If the report from Iraq looks even remotely positive, those Democrats who have been weeping and lamenting in "sackcloth and ashes", will appear to be foolish at best, or treasonous at worst. And there is good reason for them to be worried. There seems to be a growing consensus that the "surge" is working. Even Carl Levin (about as Left-Wing a Liberal as they come) recently returned from Iraq saying he saw "credible and positive results" from the surge of troops in Iraq ordered by the President in January (though he remains skeptical about whether military successes will lead to political successes).

Then there is Representative Brian Baird (D-WA), who upon his return from a recent visit to Baghdad said, "I believe giving it more time is worth the risk. We need to sustain the investment, at least for a while, in the belief things are getting better." Before Congress' August recess, Baird had supported legislation that called for withdrawal of U.S. forces to begin within 120 days. He now says he wishes the measure had never come up and that he hasn't so much reversed his position as... "adjusted" his thinking. "We need to keep our force strength where it is until next spring and give the political rhetoric a rest," he said. "If the Democrats were less interested in finding fault and blaming people... it would give a chance for our troops on the ground to operate."

And let's not forget Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack whose opinion piece in the New York Times sparked so much controversy amongst the Left. O'Hanlon and Pollack, both Liberals, spent eight days in Iraq, after which they described the political debate over Iraq in Washington, D.C. as "surreal". They said that "the administration's critics... seem unaware of the significant changes taking place" in Iraq. According to these two scholars from the Brookings Institute, "We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq". They said they were "surprised by the gains (they) saw", and that "things look much better than before".

On August 16, 2007 the Associated Press reported: "One senator said U.S. troops are routing out al-Qaida in parts of Iraq. Another insisted President Bush's plan to increase troops has caused tactical momentum. These are not Bush-backing GOP die-hards, but Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, Bob Casey and Jack Reed."

Joe Lieberman (I-CT), clearly no conservative, said on August 20th in an article at the Wall Street Journal, that "The United States is at last making significant progress against al Qaeda in Iraq... Thanks to Gen. David Petraeus's new counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, and the strength and skill of the American soldiers fighting there..." But this is not a new position for Lieberman. As far back as June 15th he said in another article at the Wall Street Journal, that after a recent trip to Iraq, he had seen signs of the surge working even then... for which he was demonized by Democrats and Liberals.

All of which goes to show that those who took the time, and made the effort to go to Iraq, and to see for themselves the situation on-the-ground, have been rewarded with an eye-opening experience that belies the negativism of the arm-chair pundits and the weekend protestors. Why, even Hillary Clinton seems to agree that the surge is working. Listen to it for yourself on YouTube.

Contrary to the rhetoric of some on the Left, it should be noted that the September 15th date was never intended to be a deadline for either Iraqi legislative success or U.S. military success. It was a date established by Congress as part of the 2007 supplemental funding bill for the Iraq war, by which date a report is supposed to be submitted to the Congress on the PROGRESS of the Iraqi government towards meeting (18) different benchmarks. "Progress" does not necessarily mean "complete attainment" (although attainment would in fact be a respectable measure of progress).

But even before the President's new surge strategy was fully implemented, nay-sayers on the Left started declaring it a failure. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to the President telling him that they planned to send him new legislation to "limit the U.S. mission in Iraq, begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces, and bring the war to a responsible end." Reid went further by attaching troop withdrawal deadlines to the Defense Department Authorization bill... a move that was fortunately defeated.

Amidst these premature calls for the U.S. to pull out of Iraq, President Bush said he would wait to hear from General Petraeus in September before making any decisions. I believe that this is when the media started referring to it as the "Petraeus Report". Even in the article at the last link above, there is this quote...

The next critical point in the showdown between Bush and Congress over Iraq is expected in September, when U.S. commander in Iraq David Petraeus is due to report on progress in the strategy to "surge" up to 30,000 more U.S. troops into the war-ravaged nation.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that when President Bush announced that he would issue a report to Congress in September on the progress in Iraq, many of those on the Left went utterly ballistic. They began accusing the White House of "writing the report FOR General Petraeus", as if to suggest that there was going to be some kind of "whitewash" or "cover up" of the true situation on the ground. The following are just a few samples of what I'm talking about...

Bush To Issue September Report, Not Petraeus

White House Contradicts Itself on Petraeus 'Report'

White House To Write Petraeus Report

Petraeus’ September Report Will Be Written By The White House

Clearly, the Left-Wing Loons who write such articles prefer to generate "heat" rather than "light". Either that, or they are incredibly "research-challenged". It is obvious from even a cursory glance at the legislation, that it is the President who is responsible for producing the report to Congress, NOT Petraeus...

The President shall submit a second report to the Congress, not later than September 15, 2007, following the same procedures and criteria outlined above... (a reference to the interim report required of the President not later than July 15, 2007) --HR2206 (page 27)

Granted, the 2007 supplemental funding bill for the Iraq war does include a requirement for testimony by General Petraeus before the Congress -- a requirement which the White House never suggested would be refused...

(3) TESTIMONY BEFORE CONGRESS. —Prior to the submission of the President’s second report on September 15, 2007, and at a time to be agreed upon by the leadership of the Congress and the Administration, the United States Ambassador to Iraq and the Commander, Multi-National Forces Iraq will be made available to testify in open and closed sessions before the relevant committees of the Congress. --HR2206 (page 27)

Nevertheless, it is very clear that the report to Congress is to come from the President...

(B) The President, having consulted with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Commander, Multi-National Forces-Iraq, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, and the Commander of U.S. Central Command, will prepare the report and submit the report to Congress. --HR2206 (page 26)

In point of fact, the purpose of the September 15th report is for the President to "advise the Congress on how that assessment requires, or does not require, changes to the strategy announced on January 10, 2007" (see HR2206, page 25). It should be noted that the President is to determine any new strategy which may be required, and he is to advise the Congress on those changes. This is clearly in keeping within the framework of the U.S. Constitution which vests the President with the title of Commander-in-Chief. The Congress cannot impose a new strategy upon the military, even though they would dearly love to do so. Only the Commander-in-Chief can make strategy.

It should also be noted that, even if the Iraqi government fails to achieve all (18) benchmarks, according to the legislation...

The President may waive the requirements of this section if he submits to Congress a written certification setting forth a detailed justification for the waiver, which shall include a detailed report describing the actions being taken by the United States to bring the Iraqi government into compliance with the benchmarks set forth. --HR2206, page 28

I'm not convinced that this waiver option is a viable one. I could be proven wrong, but I believe that President Bush will want to highlight all of the positive advances being made in Iraq, rather than resorting to some sort of written certification that amounts to nothing more than an IOU for Iraqi progress in the future. I think that would be interpreted and trumpeted by the Left as 'no progress whatsoever'.

Look for the Left to focus on failure, and the Right to focus on success. That's become the modus operandi in almost every discussion on Iraq. The Left is "hell-bent" on pinning failure in Iraq to George W. Bush. They simply won't accept the concept of victory there unless it bites them in the butt, or threatens to evict them office... "God forbid"!

Not that we have even given the "surge" an ample amount of time to succeed. It was only in late June that the level of U.S. forces reached their peak. It has been less than two months since those additional troops have been in theater at full strength. Iraqi summer days are now a wilting 120F. The Iraqi Parliament is on recess. Clearly, the Iraqis need more time to get their act together. And it wouldn't hurt to give them a sense that we'll stand behind them for more than a week or two.

But as I said before, the Left was declaring the surge to be a military failure before it was even fully implemented. And now they are being proven wrong. The surge appears to be a military success despite all of their predictions to the contrary. They will likewise prematurely declare the surge to be a failure because all of the Iraqi legislative benchmarks have not been met. The Left can think of nothing better than for American failure in Iraq.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) said recently that a positive report on progress in Iraq by General David Petraeus likely would split Democrats in the House and impede his party's efforts to press for a timetable to end the war. Clyburn said that would be "a real big problem for us." I personally find it hard to believe that American military success would be a problem for ANY American!

Although we will no doubt hear from Petraeus and Bush about military success in Iraq resulting from the "surge", the Left will focus on the failures of the Iraqi government. Although we will no doubt hear about life getting back to normal for many people in Iraq, it will be completely ignored by the Left. They will talk about Nuri al-Maliki being at odds with Petraeus. They will talk about fractures occurring in the Iraqi government coalition. They will talk about Iraqi government failure to produce important legislation. They will talk about Shi'ite al-Maliki's inability (or reluctance) to achieve reconciliation with Sunnis. They will talk about ANYTHING but success... because they are so invested in defeat.

They can't stand George W. Bush. They suffer from that malady common to the Left known as Bush Derangement Syndrome. If Bill or Hillary were President, the "Petraeus Report" would result in parades in every city, glowing headlines in every newspaper, special reports on CBS, NBC, MSNBC, NPR, etc. There would be accolades for the President and his/her remarkable General. The mainstream media would be in a sheer swoon. But it's not Bill or Hillary. It's GWB... expect headlines about gloom and doom, defeat and failure.

Failure eventually comes to those who diligently seek it. --Hawkeye®, 2007


At 8/24/2007 11:57 PM , Anonymous Elroy said...

'Defeat comes to those who cannot define victory.' – Elroy, 2007

At 8/25/2007 12:21 AM , Anonymous Hankmeister said...

That about says it, Hawkeye. Already the New York Times is trying to move the goalposts by focusing more on the "political quagmire". Clearly Democrats have been heavily invested in defeatism and they will do and say anything to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The only way for the bad guys to win in Iraq, Afghanistan or any place we choose to fight our battles, is to quit. Despite the left-wing media myths, "insurgencies" can rarely sustain themselves beyond eight to ten years, and far less if they engage in terroristic fratricide like what has happened in Iraq. Many Iraqis whored themselves to raw Islamic fundamentalism, go a good mouthful of that foul poison and are now spitting it out. About time the Iraqi people and their elected officials are getting serious about building peace on what our soldiers have accomplished on the battlefront.

BTW, several years into World War II, FDR and the military leadership neverd define victory other than attacking the Japs and the Huns until they either all died or what was left quit. There was very little consideration given to how to spare destroying the infrastructure of European countries being occupied by the Nazis or even sparing the civilian populations. And certainly very little thought was given to how to rebuild post-war Europe, Germany and Japan.

"Defeat only comes to those who quit." - Hankmeister, 2007

At 8/25/2007 12:23 AM , Anonymous Hankmeister said...

Excuse my spelling, it's past my bedtime. Godspeed, Hawkeye.

I also pray Elroy grows up and quits being a left-wing media tool.

At 8/25/2007 8:36 AM , Blogger Maggie said...

Good Morning All!

At 8/25/2007 9:49 AM , Blogger Beerme said...

"Only an idiot doesn't know what winning is-it's the opposite of losing!"-Beerme, 2007

At 8/25/2007 10:30 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Considering the goals President Bush set out on March 19, 2003 at the beginning of the Iraq war, victory could be defined as essentially: 1) "to disarm Iraq", 2) "to free its people", 3) "to defend the world from grave danger", and 4) to help the Iraqis "achieve a united, stable and free country". Therefore, the definition of "victory in Iraq" would address those (4) components.

So let's see. Iraq is disarmed. Its people have been freed. The world has been defended from the grave danger of Saddam Hussein. But the remainder of the mission, to help Iraqis "achieve a united, stable and free country", is still on-going.

By that standard, we are 3/4 of the way to complete victory. And nobody said it could be done in 15 minutes. President Bush himself said, "A campaign on the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict. And helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country will require our sustained commitment".

At 8/25/2007 10:33 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Thanks. Great comment on the WWII situation. It's worth remembering.

P.S.-- My prayer is that your prayer is answered.

(:D) Best regards...

At 8/25/2007 10:34 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Good morning right back at ya!

(:D) Best regards...

At 8/25/2007 10:57 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Perhaps some 'people' (read: Libs) are simply more 'nuanced' than you or I. Where we see victory as the opposite of losing, or simply not surrendering prematurely, they may see it differently.

In fact, I think you've just inspired my next article!

(:D) Best regards...

At 8/25/2007 11:01 AM , Anonymous Heirborn Ranger said...

Very, very good! The beautiful irony is the fact that once a general gets his first star, his life is centered on protecting that star and striving to get another. The power and responsibility grows exponentially with each succeeding star. Any report over a generals signature that was later proven to have been "spun" would be an unacceptable disgrace (the loss of a star). So the liberals know that the report coming in Sept. will be deadly accurate, beyond challenge and when it turns out to be favorable they will have to bite the bullet and "take it", since they've backed themselves into a corner with no escape tunnel.

Waxless Fred

At 8/25/2007 11:03 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Heirborn Ranger,
Thanks! And great comment about the generals not "spinning" their reports.

(:D) Best regards...

At 8/25/2007 5:24 PM , Blogger camojack said...

According to some (don't you love that particular turn of phrase?) the Petraeus report has already been written for him by the White House. Gotta love those "some", eh?

At 8/25/2007 9:51 PM , Anonymous prettyold said...

Ah, yes the "Some's.
I believe there is a close relationship to the "They's". The They's and the Some's are quite invisible,and no one knows who the two families are,but "Everyone" is certain these guys know more than anyone else. If you don't believe them ,you are a denier!!

At 8/26/2007 4:47 AM , Anonymous Elroy said...

Hi all! Thanks for your prayers and all, but guess what? I’m a grown up already! And there are plenty of other grownups that agree with me! Troops in Iraq for instance! You wouldn’t call them immature left-wing media tools would you? That might demoralize them! And wouldn’t be very supportive either!

But am I a left-wing media tool? Nah! Independent thinker, me! Isn’t it funny how both sides of the of the political divide think the other is the unwitting tool of the media, the useful idiots of the propaganda departments? Maybe we should knock off this kind of pointless, zero-sum-game mud slinging and concentrate of the subject at hand?

Hankmeister said ‘Insurgencies" can rarely sustain themselves beyond eight to ten years’. On what basis does he make this judgement? Which insurgencies has he observed? And even on this basis, eight to ten years is a whole lot longer than the WH ever projected, so are you not a little miffed, if not homicidally outraged, that both the Pentagon and the State Department never even saw an insurgency coming and so made no provisions to deal with it? Isn’t that incompetence on the same scale as Kitchener, Churchill et al in WW1?

Attempting to make analogies with WW2 will only get you into trouble, as the analogy will only hold with the US as Germany, the aggressor in need of oil, and Iraq as Europe, the invaded country with plenty of black gold on hand and the home ground advantage. Iraq was not a massive military machine hell bent on occupation and Saddam, for all his failings, was seeking world domination – he could have dealt with in a number of other ways, but in order to appease the aggressor, the world, reluctantly, allowed the US to do it the hard way.

Just no thought was given to the rehabilitation of Europe and Japan until after hostilities had ceased because the priority was to dispatch the invaders to whence they came, no thought was given to the rehabilitation of Iraq because the never thought the Iraqis would fight so hard to dispatch them.

It was not so necessary for FDR to define victory in WW2 because it was pretty much self-evident ¬¬¬– the fall of Germany and Japan However, as it was Bush that set the agenda for this war it was far more incumbent on him to do so, and in that he has failed.

Let’s look at Hawkeye’s four fallacies of victory:

1) "To disarm Iraq". The US did not disarm Iraq because it was not armed in the first place, and the WH knew it.

2) "To free its people". To free them into what? 4 million refugees, 8 million destitute and nearly one million dead in country now with little or no modern infrastructure. A entire generation will now be uneducated – what will they do? Where will they go? How will they deal with the injustice they perceive has been committed against them?

Furthermore, a great many Iraqi do not believe they have been freed; they believe that they have merely seen one dictator supplanted by another, and that the new one is worse than the old. ‘At least under Saddam’ they say, ‘we had food, and water, electricity and sanitation, a roof over our heads and safety in the streets. These things we dream of now. The Americans said they would bring these things, yet we are still waiting. The Americans said it would not take log, yet here we are with nothing,’

3) "To defend the world from grave danger". What grave danger? The world was never in grave danger. See fallacy 1.

4) ‘To help the Iraqis "achieve a united, stable and free country.’ This is saddest of Hawkeye’s four fallacies, for it could have been achieved. Iraq was far more unified before the US came in, and it was at least stable, and the US could have used this reality to build a uniquely Iraqi democracy; unfortunately, however, the US decided it wanted to build a distinctly American style democracy. The US wanted everything, and as a result wound up with next to nothing – totally fractured along sectarian lines, utterly unstable and not very free.

Certainly, Iraq will one day achieve unity, stability and freedom, but will the US still be there? Hawkeye is right, it won’t be done in fifteen minutes, but Bush sold it to the world on the basis that it would take merely 6 weeks. Remember ‘Mission accomplished’? Remember Rummy saying ‘"It is unknowable how long that conflict [the war in Iraq] will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.’

I firmly believe that the US must help Iraq put itself back together, but it needs to be done by Iraqis, with Iraqis and on Iraq’s terms. The US must pay reparations, give up on any dreams of oil revenue sharing deals and be blocked from tendering for the restructuring contracts and offering expert advice unless explicitly asked to do so.

Iraq must be allowed to do whatever it wants to do; the US must bank roll it, but that is all. I know this is a tricky situation. Should the US be training tthe Army and Police, as they are now? Well, I guess someone's got to do it. It's hard. If it were easy someone would have worked out a solution by now.

Maybe you should have listened to Cheney back on '93, but what you have to do now is say, 'We were wrong, you win, we're very sorry, how much do we owe you and what can we do to make up for our mistake?'



At 8/26/2007 9:50 AM , Blogger libhom said...

The independent media already have reported that the violence in Iraq has remained at the pre-escalation levels, though some of it has changed in specific locations in Iraq.

When will the corporate media report on the failure of Bush's escalation in Iraq? Their rightist bias is sickening.

At 8/26/2007 1:01 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Nice try, but no cigar...

"The US did not disarm Iraq because it was not armed in the first place, and the WH knew it."

Oh REALLY? And your evidence for this WH knowledge is, what?... liberal mainstream media reports, or left-wing conspiracy bloggers? Oh, no? Perhaps you have secret WH audio or video tapes in your possession? I'd love to review those some time.

Get a grip man. It was generally assumed at the time that Saddam did have WMD, or was trying to reconstitute his WMD programs. He played games with the UN Weapons inspectors to the point where everyone believed he was trying to hide something. And he WAS trying to hide something. See HERE.

The (Iraq Study Group) report found that, "The ISG has not found evidence that Saddam possessed WMD stocks in 2003, but [there is] the possibility that some weapons existed in Iraq, although not of a militarily significant capability." It also concluded that... "There is an extensive, yet fragmentary and circumstantial, body of evidence suggesting that Saddam pursued a strategy to maintain a capability to return to WMD after sanctions were lifted..."[95] No senior Iraqi official interviewed by the ISG believed that Saddam had forsaken WMD forever.

In the Saddam tapes, one of Saddam's aides insist the inspections are meaningless, since Iraq retained the technical skill and personnele to reconstitute the program at a later date.[96]

After he was captured by U.S. forces in Baghdad in 2003, Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, who ran Saddam's nuclear centrifuge program until 1997, handed over blueprints for a nuclear centrifuge along with some actual centrifuge components, stored at his home — buried in the front yard — awaiting orders from Baghdad to proceed. He said, "I had to maintain the program to the bitter end." In his book, "The Bomb in My Garden", the Iraqi physicist explains that his nuclear stash was the key that could have unlocked and restarted Saddam's bombmaking program...

David Kay's Iraq Survey Group report... states the government intended to develop more weapons with additional capabilities. Weapons inspectors in Iraq do find some "biological laboratories" and a collection of "reference strains", including a strain of botulinum bacteria, "ought to have been declared to the UN." Kay testifies that Iraq had not fully complied with UN inspections. In some cases, equipment and materials subject to UN monitoring had been kept hidden from UN inspectors. "So there was a WMD program. It was going ahead. It was rudimentary in many areas", Kay would say in a later interview.[97] In other cases, Iraq had simply lied to the UN in its weapons programs.

According to Kay, Iraq worked on WMDs right under the noses of UNMOVIC. Kay said that Iraq had tried to weaponize ricin "right up until" Operation Iraqi Freedom.[97][99]

"With regard to delivery systems, the ISG team has discovered sufficient evidence to date to conclude that the Iraqi regime was committed to delivery system improvements that would have, if OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) had not occurred, dramatically breached UN restrictions placed on Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War."

"ISG has gathered testimony from missile designers at Al Kindi State Company that Iraq has reinitiated work on converting SA-2 Surface-to-Air Missiles into ballistic missiles with a range goal of about 250km. Engineering work was reportedly underway in early 2003, despite the presence of UNMOVIC. This program was not declared to the UN."

"We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002."

Saddam may not have had stockpiles of usable WMD, but he did have ongoing programs to develop WMDs, and he had programs to develop long-range delivery vehicles. Not only that, but the US removed nearly 2 tons of radioactive material from one Iraq nuclear research facility (see HERE), which could have been used to make a "dirty bomb" if nothing else.

Saddam was indeed "a grave danger" to the world. He was already financing suicide attacks in Israel. His long-range missile program could have produced a delivery system to hit Israel with a dirty bomb. He could have produced a portable dirty bomb for use in Europe or America. There were terrorists living and training in Iraq with Saddam's knowledge, if not his outright support.

At 8/26/2007 8:50 PM , Anonymous Elroy said...

No, I was thinking more about Scott Rittter, Hans Blix, the ISG, the CIA, Doug Feith, the Downing Street memos et al. See here:

Add up all of the above and you come to the unavoidable conclusion that they knew the truth about Saddam's WMD program – that, if it existed at all, it was not a threat to anyone much.

And anyway, no matter what, 'generally assumed' is just not good enough. The expression 'Assumption is the mother of all **** ups' has no better application than the Iraq war. 'Generally assumed' has killed nearly 700,000 people, created 4 million refugees and left 8 million Iraqis destitute. It was 'generally assumed' because the US told everyone that it was the truth and that they had concrete evidence. It wasn't, and they didn't, but the rest of the world didn't know this – they trusted the credible word of the USA.

That credibility is now shot as the lie has been discovered. The US know all about propaganda techniques – look at what Walter C. Langer, of the Office of Strategic Service Washington, D.C., once wrote:

'Never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.'

Who does that sound like?



PS The other thing the USA needss to do make amends for its errant ways is to start a massive immigration program for Iraq refugees created by the Iraq war. The US must face the consequences of its actions.


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