Petraeus and Crocker before Congress: a layer of insanity in America

Posted on April 10th, 2008 in Culture,Politics,War by Robert Miller

Day before yesterday, I had a brief opportunity to watch C-span, which gave very full coverage to the appearance of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker before Congress, where they sat before the Senate Armed Services Committee and, later, a House committee. Their appearance continued yesterday. It was a predictable and surreal experience. Above all else, the administration, through Petraeus and Crocker, wants to find an excuse, of a sellable, rationale sort, like the WMD hype before the invasion, to keep the troops in Iraq at all costs, no matter what the circumstances. It is quite possible that neither Petraeus nor Crocker understand that they are the dupes of Bush’s intentions. But, through them, you can see that Bush has not given up on keeping his bases and his large embassy there, even though Crocker himself said that Americans would eventually leave. So, according to Petraeus, before the “surge” (remember this silly word was coined to avoid the word “escalation”), we needed more troops because of the violence, and now that the violence has significantly lowered (except of course for March, which for the Iraqis, was one of the bloodiest months of the war), we need to keep the troops there to be on the safe side and, oh yes, because Iran is making trouble for us once again (while you can hardly take the information you get from our government at face value, it’s a funny thing about neighboring states, how they do show some concern for what’s going on to countries with which they share a common border and with whom they have had a titanic war).

Petraeus Today

Posted on April 8th, 2008 in Politics,War by Robert Miller

Today, General Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker will testify before Congress. According to The Times Petraeus will argue against any further troop reductions by claiming that Iran got deeply involved in the conflict in Basra this past week. The argument goes that it is one thing to reduce troops when all we are up against is the insurgency, but it’s quite another issue when the resources of a neighboring country come to bear. He will claim that the rockets that have been landing in the Green Zone lately are Iranian and that Iranian troops were involved in supporting and directing the Mahdi Army of al-Sadr. Already the right wing is claiming that the Iraqi forces did well against the Mahdi Army and McCain is uttering the same nonsense. But Juan Cole points out that there is no doubt who won and won big in Basra last week–it was Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. Thousands of Iraqi forces deserted rather than fight and the right wing claims that al-Sadr announced he would disband the Mahdi Army if Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani ordered it. But al-Sadr says this all the time, knowing that it will never be done, and according to Juan Cole, the American Press swallow these statements out of rancorous naivety, and present it to us as evidence that the American trained army of al-Maliki won the battle. In reality al-Maliki lost big time. There is no doubt about the magnitude of this defeat or the complete failure of “Iraqi’s to stand up.” The Grand Delusion, Act 6, begins today.

The Grand Delusion Plus One

Posted on April 7th, 2008 in General,Politics,War by Robert Miller

This week General Petraeus will appear before Congress to testify on the situation in Iraq, amidst the most serious crisis in the country in the last couple of years. He will try to maintain Bush’s Grand Delusion, that the surge is working and the recent violence across Iraq is nothing more than a bump in the road. Petraeus will try to explain away why the well-trained army of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki cut and run in Basra when they came up against the poorly or modestly trained Mahdi Army of al-Sadr. Although not available in the mainstream news media, which seems to have given up on the war in Iraq, there are many reports coming out of various wire services that paint a picture of chaos, instantaneous surrender, dropping of arms, deserting to the other side and turning and running when the lavishly trained ($ 22 billion) army of Bush and al-Maliki confronted the Mahdi Army. Oh what a tangled web General Petraeus will have to weave.

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