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The rush for the exit
Posted by: McQ on Monday, July 28, 2008

It seems as though the "quagmire" of Iraq has turned into a "cakewalk" thanks to the surge and almost everyone just can't wait to call it a victory and go home. All except the guy who made the current situation the reality there.
[GEN]Petraeus said any timetable must have "a heck of a lot more granularity than the kind of very short-hand statements that have been put out."

"We occasionally have commanders who have so many good weeks, (they think) it's won. We've got this thing. Well we don't. We've had so many good weeks. Right now, for example we've had two-and-a-half months of levels of violence not since March 2004," he said from his office at Camp Victory.

"Well that's encouraging. It's heartening. It's very welcome. But let's keep our powder dry. . . .Let's not let our guard down."
Now, one of the things you have to ask at this point is, "is he being too cautious?"

Perhaps, but on the other side of things, are the politicians being too optimistic? There's certainly an argument to be made there for a variety of reasons:
Petraeus is pushing for a more nuanced debate as both U.S. and Iraqi political leaders are in campaign seasons, with many voters in both countries wanting to hear there is an end. Maliki is trying to sway voters in time for this fall's scheduled provincial elections by winning support from his political rival, firebrand cleric Muqtada al Sadr, who has called for a U.S. withdrawal date since 2004.
The reality for politicians in both countries is more focused on winning elections. The war is deeply unpopular in the both countries and so it is only natural that the politicians have latched on to what they perceive as the most popular approach to the issue - get US troops out of Iraq. Whether or not it is the prudent thing to do, however, remains to be seen, and it is that of which Petraeus is reminding everyone.
"We know where we are trying to go. We know how we think we need to try to get there with our Iraqi partners and increasingly with them in the lead and shouldering more of the burden as they are," Petraeus said.

"But there are a lot of storm clouds out there, there are lots of these possible lightning bolts. You just don't know what it could be. You try to anticipate them and you try to react very quickly. . . .It's all there, but it's not something you want to lay out publicly."
Is Petraeus too cautious? And does it really matter one way or the other what he wants, given the way the politics are lining up on the issue?
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

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He’s not being too cautious, he’s being realistic. He’s far more aware of the situation on the ground than anyone in Washington. I’d also venture to say Dave is considerably more adept at handling the complexities of the situation in that theatre of operations than either of the candidates.
 
Written By: stevehva
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Petraeus, rightly so, doesn’t want to be left with a "Mission Accomplished" sign and nothing more.
 
Written By: Neo
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