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General Betrayus?
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Amanda at Think Progress tells us, or at least claims, that General Petraeus is no better than any of the rest of the scalawags that populate the military leadership in Iraq:
In April, during the congressional debate over war funding, Gen. David Petraeus pushed back against a withdrawal timeline from Iraq “because we’re only about two months into the surge,” assuring Congress that he would be able to report on progress in September:
We’re only about two months into the surge. We won’t have all the forces on the ground until mid-June and I pointed that out to them, and noted that Ambassador Crocker and I would be doing an assessment in early September and provide that to our respective bosses at that time.
But now that the debate on timelines has passed, Petraeus is asking for even more time. Today in an interview with Lara Logan of CBS News, Petraeus tried to argue that the surge hasn’t even started yet:
We haven’t started the surge — the full surge — yet. So let me have a few months.
Anyone else pick up on the point here? Yup ... from the beginning he's said that he won't have all the surge forces on the ground until when? Mid-June.

Anyone ... is it mid-June yet?

So it's quite feasible that when he said we're only two months into the surge, he was most likely talking about the deployment of the troops committed specifically to the surge.

And when he said, recently, that the surge hadn't yet begun, he was talking about what? The fact that the final troops committed to the surge hadn't closed yet. Or is that too nuanced for you?

Also, left off of the last quote by Petraeus is the line "I’ll answer that in September.". That's precisely what he said when? In the first quote. So what has he 'put off'? Amanda did add that to the transcript she listed below the quotes I've cited but apparently missed its importance to the context of her overall charge.

Not that it has mattered a bit to those like Amanda and the Think Progress crowd, anyway. They wrote the surge off before it ever started as a failure. But now, apparently, Petraeus is the target of the Netroots gang and is the next candidate for personal attacks on his character and credibility. Witness the first 7 comments with 13 minutes of the posting:
1.
General Betrayus.

Comment by Tom3 — June 5, 2007 @ 4:03 pm

2.
Petraeus, don’t betray us! Get this job started already.

Comment by Redneck, Redstate — June 5, 2007 @ 4:03 pm

3.
I’m sure the troops who have gone already and been killed and/or injured as apart of this surge appreciate that view.

Awesome!!

Comment by Crump's Brother — June 5, 2007 @ 4:03 pm

4.
Shameless.

Comment by Karim — June 5, 2007 @ 4:07 pm

5.
Darth vader serving the emperor.

Comment by Hector — June 5, 2007 @ 4:08 pm

6.
If Patraeus hasn’t started the surge yet, he is blatantly incompetent and should be fired.

Accountability can not be dismissed so cavalierly.

Comment by Peter — June 5, 2007 @ 4:09 pm

7.
riiiiiight. It never started. And, on top of it, we’re fighting for freedom and democracy to, huh General??

The propaganda from these people seems to be endless….I sometimes can’t believe their arrogance.

The new “surge” will most obviously be there to protect even more economic interests…

Dennis Kucinich told us about the realities of this recently. Some interesting reading:

“Revealed: Why Your Sons and Daughters Died in Iraq”
http://www.populistamerica.com/ revealed_why_your_sons_and_daughters_died_in_iraq

Comment by stopthecons — June 5, 2007 @ 4:10 pm
An awesome collection of venom and character assassination from a bunch of clueless moonbats who collectively couldn't carry the man's boots. "General Betrayus" indeed.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
"Looking for sense in all the wrong places..."
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Think & Progress. Two words that definitely do not describe that bunch.
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
So which one of those posters was really Professor Erb?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
While I disagree with the venom, you need to look in the mirror — you heap similar venom on points of view you disagree with.

What you’re seeings is a mirror image of what a lot of the commentators here do. I’ve been polite and apologized when I said something insulting. Mark, timactual, McQ, Linda and a few of you can’t resist sometimes rather vicious insults all because my opinion differs from yours. Are you really better than the "moonbats" or are you just coming from a different angle?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
vicious insults
I seem to recall a commenter saying it was "the truth" that our current military is the most murderous in American history.

I wish I could remember who that was.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
I seem to recall a commenter saying it was "the truth" that our current military is the most murderous in American history.

I wish I could remember who that was.
It wasn’t me. And if my memory is faulty I did write anything that suggested that, I’ll recant.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Are you really better than the "moonbats"
I can’t say that I’m better than "moonbats", but I will say that I’m better than you, scumbag.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
I can’t say that I’m better than "moonbats", but I will say that I’m better than you, scumbag
Reminds me of a saying my Grandma had "you’re as good as anybody else until you say you’re better."

I am always amused and a bit fascinated that people can harbor such emotional dislike for someone because of his political views. I’ve been polite and try to engage, but you feel compelled to call names. I think that says more about you than me.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Tar. Feathers. Moonbats. Some assembly required.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
Erb doesn’t remember saying "The truth hurts, doesn’t it?"

Is this going to be yet another example of Erb evading his own words? Yet another example of of what he always claims doesn’t exist?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://

Erb doesn’t remember saying "The truth hurts, doesn’t it?"

Is this going to be yet another example of Erb evading his own words? Yet another example of of what he always claims doesn’t exist
I should not have said the truth hurts. No evasion, an admission I wrote something I shouldn’t have. I do not know enough about the history of military action by American forces to know if this is the most murderous. I stand by most of what I wrote in that thread though. But in discussions, especially with Keith, and in reading some of the posts and commments, I have changed my mind about the efforts of the troops and the goals of the policy. I do now think there was a more noble goal, even though the use of military force was the wrong way to go about it, and I think there is a lot of good being done by troops in Iraq. My opposition is less severe in that regard, in large part because despite being insulted I do listen and take seriously arguments that are made.

I do still think that Sy Hersh is one of the most important journalists in America.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
1. General Betrayus. A

2. Petraeus, don’t betray us! Get this job started already. B-
Clever with the rhyme and all, but indicates that the commenter is not aware that the job has already been started.

3. I’m sure the troops who have gone already and been killed and/or injured as apart (sic) of this surge appreciate that view.

Awesome!! C-
This one was mailed in and the sentiment has become trite with overuse.

4. Shameless. D
Come on, this toss-off is hardly really a comment. Perhaps the single word is a style customarily used by this commenter.

5. Darth vader serving the emperor. D-
This one has some content, but it is so trite.

6. If Patraeus hasn’t started the surge yet, he is blatantly incompetent and should be fired.

Accountability can not be dismissed so cavalierly. C-
1) Poor reading comprehension. 2) Imprecise generalization.

7. riiiiiight. It never started. And, on top of it, we’re fighting for freedom and democracy to (sic), huh General??

The propaganda from these people seems to be endless..I sometimes can’t believe their arrogance.

The new "surge" will most obviously be there to protect even more economic interests.

Dennis Kucinich told us about the realities of this recently. Some interesting reading:

"Revealed: Why Your Sons and Daughters Died in Iraq"
http://www.populistamerica.com/ revealed_why_your_sons_and_daughters_died_in_iraq C-
Lacks focus. Covers too much ground. Grinds to many axes. Poor reading comprehension.

Are the vicious comments here better? No contest.

And Professor Erb? I believe that I am on record. What he calls his "political views" I call something else not nearly as honorable.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
" I’ve been polite and apologized when I said something insulting.

BS.

"Mark, timactual, McQ, Linda and a few of you can’t resist sometimes rather vicious insults all because my opinion differs from yours."

More BS, and self delusion. You think you are the only one we disagree with? More of your narcissism. And, speaking for myself, it is not your "opinion" that I detest. I find your dishonesty, which is manifested here in your mischaracterization of the cause of our insults, to be repellent.


"I am always amused and a bit fascinated that people can harbor such emotional dislike for someone because of his political views. I’ve been polite and try to engage,..."

PhD does indeed mean "piled higher and deeper". More dishonesty or perhaps pathological self-delusion. Some of us have made it very clear, repeatedly, why we despise you, and political views are not the reasons given. As I clearly stated some time ago, it is a personal dislike, moron. Not that I expect that to pierce the narcissism that prevents you from even considering that you may have a personal shortcoming or that someone would not find you brilliant, witty, and fascinating.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
More dishonesty or perhaps pathological self-delusion.
You don’t know me well enough to dislike me. You dislike the image you have of me based on your false interpretation of what I am due to your reactions to my posts. That’s why I don’t take the insults seriously — I know that the person you are insulting doesn’t exist, you’ve created an image in your mind and you’re insulting what you think I am. So while you may mean it personally, I don’t take it that way. That’s also why I don’t actively dislike or hold grudges against anyone based on internet debate — it’s not real, and you don’t get a real sense of the other person. So go ahead and dislike me and insult me all you want — it’s more about you than me. I’m hear to learn. The insults don’t bother me, but when people write things that give me more information or a new perspective, I find that very valuable.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
" So while you may mean it personally, I don’t take it that way"

As I said.

" ...it’s not real, and you don’t get a real sense of the other person."

You really are quite unperceptive and shallow. You obviously get no sense of another person, even when they tell you what and how they think. Others are not so blind.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
1. General Betrayus. A
Reckon Tom3 has been waiting months for the right time to say that and with the added qudos for producing within 3 min of the posting including bolding with italics - might even rank an A+.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Mark, timactual, McQ, Linda and a few of you can’t resist sometimes rather vicious insults
Now, Scott.
So go ahead and dislike me and insult me all you want — it’s more about you than me. I’m hear to learn.
Well, hey, we’re hear to help!


(See. I can too resist.)
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
...."I know that the person you are insulting doesn’t exist,"....
" it’s not real,"

A picture is forming. We are, if not the imaginary friends of childhood, at least inconsequential, certainly not as threatening as "real" people. Your audience is actually yourself. You can be what you want, what you think you are or should be—a wise and knowledgeable seeker of truth, champion of rationality against ignorance and bias. And you can always triumph. This explains some things. Being "not real" makes it much more malleable than the real world. All those vicious charges of dishonesty, misinterpreting other people’s words, etc. are "not real"—"It wasn’t me".


*************************

"(See. I can too resist.)"

I can too, and I often do, but it doesn’t really matter since we are unreal, so why bother?


 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The basic point of the post on TP is that in one breath the general said the surge had already started, and then in another he said it hadn’t started yet.

Of course, that basic point is glossed over.

No government offical should be allowed to make factually inconsistent statements.

Why is this in dispute?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
mk, you can’t or won’t read.

The two statements were made at two very different times, that is incontrovertible.

And I believe one was made before the Democratic congress had delayed funding and forced a pause in some unit’s movement, and one was made after.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://

And I believe one was made before the Democratic congress had delayed funding and forced a pause in some unit’s movement, and one was made after
Do you have evidence to support the claim that there was a pauses in the surge due to any disagreements in Washington? Also, the Democrats did vote full funding, but the President veto’d it because he didn’t like some provisions, so the two sides share responsibility for the delay.

Still, I’ve not seen claims the surge was delayed. Can you support that contention?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The basic point of the post on TP is that in one breath the general said the surge had already started, and then in another he said it hadn’t started yet.
You’re not a very clever liar, mk. Patreus said the full surge had not started yet. Which is the truth.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
But in discussions, especially with Keith, and in reading some of the posts and commments, I have changed my mind about the efforts of the troops and the goals of the policy. I do now think there was a more noble goal, even though the use of military force was the wrong way to go about it, and I think there is a lot of good being done by troops in Iraq. My opposition is less severe in that regard, in large part because despite being insulted I do listen and take seriously arguments that are made.
And this is exactly why we should do our best to remain civil. When you make the debate about personality conflicts, you aren’t likely to change minds.
The basic point of the post on TP is that in one breath the general said the surge had already started, and then in another he said it hadn’t started yet.
mkultra - what inconsistancy? The first quote is from APRIL, stating that operations had started, but that all forces wouldn’t be in theater until mid-June. The second quote is from yesterday. All forces are not yet in theater, so the full surge hasn’t started. As Petraeus also indicates to the same reporter...
Petraeus told Logan the full contingent of extra troops would be on the ground in Iraq "in about two weeks or so … and you’re going to see the launch of a number of different operations in a number of areas, to go after al Qaeda and other extremist elements."
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
All these personal attacks on Scott Erp are really getting vindictive and do nothing to further the discussion or convince anyone of any arguments.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
BTW Scott has added a great deal to my thought processes, even while we disagree with the here and now.

I still feel that once we are engaged with the enemy we should pursue them mercilessly, while taking care to reduce collateral damage and deaths.

However, how we get into conflicts really needs to be thought about with a great deal more care. It would be better to have more international partners doing the dirty work. It would be better if there had been more fully developed plans for dealing with the aftermath of crushing the regime.

Hope for the best, but PLAN for the worst.

We failed to do that on a large scale before the war was concluded. Now, maybe part of it was because they thought they would have more time, while the fighting against the regime was still going to do that sort of planning. Most pre-war estimates I heard put the anticipated length at around 6+ months.

The current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the work we are doing in other areas, like the Horn of Africa and in Southeast Asia, tells me that asymmetrical warfare is going to be the norm. We must be prepared to fight these types of conflicts, and even more importantly, we need to be able to work to avoid these conflicts where and when possible. Preventative medicine is usually preferable to reactive medicine.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
timactual, following on a (surely unsuccessful) effort to enlighten Erb as to what Erb is saying (who could resist?):
it doesn’t really matter since we are unreal, so why bother?
For what it’s worth, I *suspect* your reality. Of course, if *I* am a fiction, that doesn’t mean much... Still, no harm done, eh?
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
The basic point of the post on TP is that in one breath the general said the surge had already started, and then in another he said it hadn’t started yet.
You didn’t do well on the reading comprihention portion of the SATs, did you?

The surge has STARTED, but the FULL surge has not, for not all the troops have arrived. When all the troops are there, then the full surge will have begun.

Seriously dude, how do you get through the day?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
The current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the work we are doing in other areas, like the Horn of Africa and in Southeast Asia, tells me that asymmetrical warfare is going to be the norm. We must be prepared to fight these types of conflicts, and even more importantly, we need to be able to work to avoid these conflicts where and when possible. Preventative medicine is usually preferable to reactive medicine.
Yes, I think you’re right on that.

A couple of other lessons that come from the current experience: 1) the need to be smart in dealing with the cultural realities of a region. We need to not only understand the differences between Shi’ite and Sunni, for instance, but know what kinds of political and tribal situations exist to be able to make alliances and know who to help. Also, we need to recognize that messing with the internal workings of another state can, if things go wrong, set up the possibility of intense violence and even genocide; 2) emphasize anti-corruption if we are in a position to help a new government form — I doubt cultures with endemic corruption can easily be changed but the more I study comparative politics I’ve become convinced that high levels of corruption tend to be associated with either instability or authoritarianism; and 3) public opinion is fickle. In a modern democracy you can’t drag on a military operation for years if there isn’t the kind of support and dedication for the cause that defined wars like WWII.

That third one was evident way back with Great Britain at the end of the 19th century (policy towards Turkey, etc.) as the British government increasingly found it hard to run their empire with the public scutinizing and critizing policies.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Good points.

I think with #3 though, if WW II had the same press coverage as we have today, the American offensive would have been called off. Probably while we were still in Africa, or possibly when we started landings in Italy. After D-Day, there would have been a cry to pull our boys out now.

Granted, today it is the post-regime stabilization that is causing the problem, not the War with Iraq’s regime. Most people weren’t prepared for it, even with the doom-sayers predicting civil war and catastrophe before hand.

The situation now is that positive press is sneered at, as being ’propaganda’ meaning administration lies, or overly optimistic. So, we end up hearing about the latest spectacular attack in Iraq, or smaller attacks with American casualties, with the absence of any positive developments. You tell me how opinions aren’t effected by that kind of coverage.

Fred Kagan has a very balanced (IMO) article out where he explains what the surge is doing and how it differs from the previous strategy. If all reporting were able to give a fuller context of what is going on over there, I think opinions among those who once supported the war would be different.

In context, if his facts are right, you have to agree that if sectarian violence isn’t increasing, that is a positive development. Now, after the full deployment is there and operational, if that is followed by months of decreasing sectarian violence, and relative stability. And improvements in the political and economic arenas.

And that’s why it’s going to take months to implement and sort out.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Interesting Kagan article, but I’m always a little skeptical of the Weekly Standard since it clearly has a bias. Yet it’s worth reading because I don’t think it’s dishonest (everything is biased, after all).

I disagree about WWII and the press — I think being attacked by a clearly defined enemy — a state — and then having the world involved in wars to stop two major world powers from expanding domination was enough to keep America hooked. Iraq, well, we defeated a weak state pretty easily and now we’re trying to establish a stable government, and al qaeda...it’s a harder target to get a grip on, and it’s not clear what the connection to Iraq is. So I think there are reasons beyond just press coverage why there is so much public skepticism.

But you know, I am convinced that President Bush is going to see this strategy through until he leaves office. Unless you get some kind of huge GOP revolt, any limits or withdrawal demands will be mid to late 2008 at the earliest, nothing else will be sustainable by the Congress, and the anti-war side won’t have the votes to actually cut funding. So if you’re right about the surge we’ll find out. I don’t think it will be halted prematurely. If by late 2008 there is no significant move towards stability, then I doubt a US commitment can be sustained.

So I think it’s best now to learn from the failures in Iraq (especially failure to anticipate the difficulty of establishing security and the ease in which militias and insurgent groups formed), and think about what US strategy has to be beyond Iraq.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Skepticism and recognizing bias is one thing, totally ignoring information, which some people are intent on doing (though I’m not accusing you of it,) is another. Many people would discount Kagan as being a cheerleader, or a neocon since he works for the AEI. But, if you look at his bona fides, he ought to at least be listened to.

For me, gathering information isn’t about finding one source and sticking with that story. I figure any situation is complex enough that no one is going to get 100%. So, I combine information from many places, and hope I have enough info to make informed decisions.

I read things which are critical of our efforts in Iraq. I don’t often agree with them, but it helps to form a counter to an argument, if you actually know what their position is.

Here’s a press release from the military which gives some additional context. The following gives me far more context then I’ve seen in say the New York Times. And while optimistic, it is very cautious. It’s these nuances which are often missing in many narratives.
The fifth of the five brigades committed to Fardh Al-Qanoon [Operation Imposing Law aka the surge] is arriving, he said.

“Once they’re in position, they may take 30 to 60 days to fully establish themselves with their Iraqi counterparts and the people in those sectors,” he said.

While definitive assessments of the operation have been sought, Bergner stressed the importance of mature conclusions.

“It is still premature to be arriving at judgments, conclusions and too many predictions at this point in the operation,” said Bergner.

However, as Fardh Al-Qanoon continues to develop, progress has been made by Iraqi and Coalition forces on the ground.

“The collective sense [of commanders on the ground] is that the trends in Baghdad are better now than they were certainly in January and February,” said Bergner. “The joint security stations and combat outposts in and around Baghdad are having an effect.”

Bergner applauded Iraqi citizens in their struggle against al-Qaeda.

“The Iraqi people in various places have also begun to take a stand against al-Qaeda,” he said. “Indeed, Iraqi citizens are courageously fighting to rid their neighborhoods of these killers.”

Also, Bergner offered highlights of recent events such as the transition of three provinces to Iraqi control, the killings of key al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq and the growing involvement of the Iraqi population in fighting terrorism.

“As we make progress, it will not be like flipping a light switch,” Bergner said. “It will be gradual, nuanced and subtle.”

As Fardh Al-Qanoon edges full momentum, Bergner predicted difficult times ahead as Iraqi and Coaltion forces continue making progress to return normalcy to everyday life in Iraq.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
BTW the intellectually curious ought to embrace discussions like this, without venom or personal attacks.

If all you can do with someone you disagree with is shout them down or belittle them, you’re not an advocate of free-speech.

Rationally discussing options and potential outcomes, and trying to understand each other, will help a great deal in the future, when the next crisis occurs.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Keith, I agree — I like reading Kagan, Krauthammer and the other neo-conservatives; as much as I disagree with them on a number of points, they are intelligent and for awhile were really the only ones with a kind of intellectual vigor in the debate. I am at base what Billy H. would call still a bit "too Westphalian" or "realist" to not have some skepticism. But Kagan is worth reading.

For "non-traditional" media I tend to read the Weekly Standard on line, and conservative sites like realclearpolitics. I also read rawstory and antiwar.com. Most of my news I get from the Financial Times, Economist, and when I have time Der Spiegel, and various European sources. One reason I read this blog is because it has links to and arguments about policy that aren’t in my usual list of reading sources. So I agree completely about the need to take seriously a variety of perspectives.

In fact, my own view of education is that it is important learn how to see and interpret reality from as many perspectives as possible, with the idea that this kind of understanding allows an individual to mentally integrate the variety of perspectives thus better navigate reality — even without finding truth with a capital T and all the debates that entails. Moreover, the ability to do this means it’s less likely one will get locked into one world view and not be able to truly entertain alternatives.

I’d go so far as to see learning to understand a multitude of perspectives and to be able to see the world through each (truly understand why some would be convinced by a perspective — not just to understand alternate perspectives as strawmen to be knocked down) as in fact liberating and empowering. (Examples of kinds of perspectives: Scientific perspectives, Muslim perspectives, gay perspectives, conservative perspectives, the perspective of executives in the oil industry, the perspective of malnourished Africans, Marxist perspectives, liberal capitalist perspectives, etc.) I don’t mean this in a nihilist post-modern sense either.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I agree, the first job of education, after basic rote work, should be teaching people how to learn, and form opinions. Teach people to have a critical eye, and a desire for knowledge, and a person will be able to prepare themselves for life.

A truly liberal education shouldn’t indoctrinate, it should introduce one to many subjects and perspectives.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
I agree, the first job of education, after basic rote work, should be teaching people how to learn, and form opinions. Teach people to have a critical eye, and a desire for knowledge, and a person will be able to prepare themselves for life.

A truly liberal education shouldn’t indoctrinate, it should introduce one to many subjects and perspectives.
On this point we are in complete agreement!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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