The Petraeus Factor

This week, the commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus will testify before Congress as will Ambassador Ryan Crocker. The crux of the matter is simple, although many Americans want out of Iraq, the military and the Bush administration want to fight on:


PETRAEUS: As a bottom line up front, the military objectives of the surge are in large measure being met. In recent months in the face of tough enemies in the brutal summer heat of Iraq, coalition and Iraqi security forces have achieved progress in a security arena. Though the improvements have been uneven across Iraq, the overall number of security incidents in Iraq has declined in eight of the past 12 weeks with the number of incidents in the last two weeks at the lowest levels seen since June 2006.


Of course, some Americans don't care what Petraeus says. This morning, the radical left Moveon organization paid more than $100,000 to The New York Times to run this ad that uses the words 'General Betray Us.' No matter how you feel about the war, this is disrespectful and vile.

The number of politicians have reacted to the ad. We'll analyze it with Michelle [Malkin] and Kirsten [Powers] in the next segment.

"Talking Points" believes General Petraeus is an honorable man, who sincerely believes that American forces can improve things in Iraq and give the good guys over there a fighting chance to defeat the bad guys. The problem is the USA is likely to lose another thousand killed in the process. So the question for every American becomes is that sacrifice worth it?

With a corrupt Iraqi national government and vicious religious based killing, the political picture remains bleak. That is the awful truth about Iraq. But the stakes are incredibly high for the USA. Right now, Al Qaeda is being badly damaged in Iraq. And a pullback would give them air. No clear thinking person should want that.

Also, Iran has been held in check. Should the USA withdraw from the theater, that country is likely to have its own surge, not only on Iraq, but also in the entire Gulf region.

Whenever I point that out to the cut and runners, I get no cogent response. Perhaps our upcoming guest Congressman Ron Paul will break that cycle this evening.

So what we have in Iraq is a conundrum. And we have to learn from it. It's clear to me that the USA can't count on Muslim civilians to help us in the War on Terror. Some will, most will not for a variety of reasons -- fear being a major factor.

Thus, no more boots on the ground in the Muslim world. If we have to use military power, we'll have to get the bad guys from the air or the sea. That doesn't help us in Iraq. My feeling is that we should allow General Petraeus the resources he needs within a year's time. After that, the Iraqi army must step up and provide their own security with a few American battalions in support.

For the future of both the USA and Iraq, that is probably the best course of action in a truly painful situation.

And that's "The Memo."

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