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The Awakening

Klein on Bush & Petraeus

In the September 24th issues of Time, Joe Klein has an insightful analysis of Bush and Petraeus and the current state of the Iraq policy.

Fundamentally, Klein is critical of the elected, civilian leadership abdicating the decision-making power over military policy to the report of a military official. The point of elected, civilian leadership of the military is that such leadership is supposed to lead by setting policy. Bush had basically said,"we'll do whatever Petraeus says."

Klein also finds inconsistencies in the General's testimony that weren't pursued by Congress. On the one hand, Petraeus says that the surge has been successful at separating the Sunnis from al Qaeda in Iraq. While still claiming that they were the greatest threat to Iraqi stability. Ambassador Crocker doublespoke that Iran would fill any power vacuum in Iraq, while also testifying that Iraqi Shia are unlikely to cede control to Iran whom they fought fiercely in the Iran-Iraq War and because though both Shia, there are differences between Arabs and Persians.

Klein's basic criticism is that we are without answers to the major strategic questions. Only tactical issues were really discussed.

The final paragraph of the essay is telling:

Without a strong, credible central government, for whom exactly is the re-retrained Iraqi army fighting? How can any Iraqi be loyal to a government that doesn't exist? And, finally, now that the Sunnis have decisively rejected the extremists, why should any American trooper sacrifice even a pinkie in this sectarian catastrophe?

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