Saturday, August 11, 2007

Petraeus: U.S. Will Be in Iraq "In Some Way For 9 or 10 Years"

Notwithstanding The New Republic's hatchet job, General Petraeus is widely considered a straight-talking and hugely competent man. And he is in a tough situation. There is no question that American troops have made some progress in places like the Anbar region. But considering that this war has already lasted longer than World War II, that progress may not be enough to forstall the erosion of American will to fight a war that, we cannot fail to note, was fought for the wrong reasons in the first place. Mwangaguhunga's Corollary: The Will of a Democracy to wage war begins to erode if the conflict extends beyond the length of the last successful war.

Add to the mix The President's patent inability to communicate the importance of the struggle -- unlike Churchill, whom he admires and emulates -- factors greatly in the unpopularity of the war. Also: The President's intransigence, his inability to compromise on his ideals(borrowed glory from his unorthodox interpretation of his intellectual Father-figure, Reagan), his sheer stubbornness also negate any existing political capital left with the American public.

The "Thumping" that echoed throughout the halls of power in 2006's Midterm elections was the public's disdain for the disgusting incompetence of Rumsfeld as well as for the corruptions of the Republican Congress. But the margins of the victory were slight, in fact, it was only after close calls in Montana and Virginia tipped towards the Democrats that the Majority was eked out (And, soonafter, like a bad operetta: a South Dakota Senator's tragic aneurysm thinned even that razor-thinnest of margins).

And so, here we are at the crossroads, or as the Armenians call it the "heropass." The Democratic Party has not the majority necessary to end the war, and yet it has to prove -- in short order -- through cheap theatrics and procedural votes, that they can at least distinguish themselves, if not deliver on their promises, from the Republicans, lest they too will face the wrath of angry voters. Out of this cynical environment comes the following announcement. From TheHill:

"Gen. David Petraeus told a congressional delegation visiting the Middle East that success in Iraq will require a U.S. military presence there for about a decade, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said Friday.

"The commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, who will deliver a highly anticipated progress report next month, said the U.S. 'will be in Iraq in some way for 9 or 10 years,' according to Schakowsky. The general also highlighted progress in Anbar province, where former Sunni insurgents have turned against Al Qaeda extremists in recent months.

"'It was pretty upbeat from his point of view,' Schakowsky said. 'He said he wanted to be frank and honest. But still we would have to be there for some time -- for a long time.' The lawmaker added that she believes that the American public would 'not tolerate' such a continued presence in Iraq."

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