Petraeus: victory will require 9-10 more years of US war in Iraq
Time to get serious. I hate repeating myself, but that assessment by Gen. Petraeus bears repeating.
If the debate in congress and the media goes on without that professional assessment as a given--I think there's a very good chance that the war will continue and then expand in Iraq--and into Iran. So I'm repeating it. Here's the relevant news story; it's been raised and discussed by several diarists on the Daily Kos and other liberal and anti-war blogs but it's not yeat a matter of general knowledge: General Petraeus has gone on the record, in advance of his long-awaited September report, and stated that Iraq cannot be stabilized without nine to ten more years of American warfare in Iraq. (continued)
If I had my way, that assessment would be on the lips of everyone everywhere who has any opinion on the war. Acknowledging the fact of Petraeus' prognosis for military victory--9 to 10 years of continued American fighting in Iraq--would be a precondition for discussing the war. Anyone who didn't begin their arguments about the war without that assessment as a pre-condition--could be dismissed from the table as a propagandist, a yahoo, a crank.
Because Petraeus is the guy on the ground, he is in charge of the military side of the "mission", and he knows better than anyone else what's going on there. And even though he's willing to submit a report to Congress that's been edited by the White House, even though he's willing to engage in that kind of "happy talk" about progress to extend the life of the mission: his candid assessment, delivered to members of Congress this August is that it will take nine to ten more years of warfare to stabilize Iraq. Not to set up a western style democracy there (the original goal of the mission)--nine to ten years to stabilize it.
If war supporters are allowed to pass over that nine to ten year guess by Petraeus: they win. They've bought more time, if the public is allowed to ignore Petraeus' prognosis--and time, at this stage, is what they're after.
If Americans against the war make the Petraeus 9-10 year assessment central to this year's discussion about the war--the anti-war Americans win. Because that 9 to 10 year assessment follow 1) a real draft, not a backdoor one, 2) tens of thousands of more casualites for the US armed forces, 3) an invasion and occupation of Iran--you can't "stabilize" Iraq, without destroying Iran. And 4) bankrupting the US to win this battle, which will not eliminate or confine terror.
So that reality--"Petraeus says he thinks it will take nine to ten years of US war in Iraq by the US to win"--that fact has to be pitched, repeatedly. It has to be reiterated in Congress, in the media, on the streets and in the country. It has to be repeated until it becomes as engraved in the minds of Americans as the fact that "The Star Spangled Banner" is the national anthem, or the fact that "George W. Bush is an incompetent lying asshole."
That should be the soundbyte we should demand to hear from Congress--"General Petraeus, you told members of Congress in August of this year that it will take nine to ten more years of warfare by the US in Iraq if we wish to achieve victory." That should be the beginning and end of all the Sunday morning political shows, the beginning of the newspaper editorials on the war, the question asked at White House press conferences, the beginning of the rhetoric of the anti-war activists, of the anti-war blogs and the public conversations about the war: "Petraeus says he thinks it will take nine to ten years of war in Iraq by the US to win."
If that fact--and it is a fact, that is Petraeus' assessment of how long it would take for the US to win the war--if that fact slips away, virtually unnoticed, there is every likelihood that the war will continue as it has been continuing for the foreseeable future. The White House will spin its web of "progress" bullshit, vacillating Dems will compromise. But if that fact becomes central to the debate this year, anti-war forces in the US will win the debate and have a good chance of seeing serious and permanent troop withdrawals from Iraq beginning next year.
Because no American in his right mind wants to commit to fighting nine to ten years over there, just to stabilize Iraq.