Bush is Jeebus on the Potomac (or Crawford) for crying out loud. But Patraeus is Jeebus on the Tigris if you listened to the descriptives that proceed him.
This week I said Patraeus is as wedded to "wishin' & hopin'" as anyone else in the Bush Administration and will be giving presentations saying that "success is at hand" that would bring back memories of General Westmoreland. Those 4-Stars come with a debt, you got them because you were the new "Commander on the Ground that had to be listened to" and goddammit you're going to tell us "what we want to hear".
Arianna Huffington noticed this as well, in far more widely read form (And one of the great "Titles" ever):
These bold pronouncements -- and attendant irrational expectations -- are almost always buttressed by the fact that, as we have been told again and again, "General Petraeus literally wrote the book on counterinsurgency." Literally.
Which he did, spending the last year overseeing the preparation of FM 3-24, the Army's newly-revised counterinsurgency field manual.
The trouble is, most of those touting his authorship have clearly never read his magnum opus. Or perhaps they have, didn't like the plotline, and decided to ignore or alter the contents to fit their political agenda. (This, of course, is standard operating procedure for the Bushies. Just this week, the president suggested the 2006 elections offered a mandate for his policy of escalating the war on Iraq, and Dick Cheney used the findings of the Iraq Study Group to slam Harry Reid, conveniently skipping over the fact that the ISG recommended a troop withdrawal timetable similar to the Democrats'.)
Now they are willfully ignoring Petraeus' blueprint for success -- and acting like they are following it to a tee. His newly-minted counterinsurgency approach calls for a ratio of 25 soldiers per 1,000 residents -- which would require 120,000 soldiers to provide the proper security for Baghdad, and roughly three times that amount for all of Iraq. But let's just focus on the 120,000 soldiers that, according to the manual written by Petraeus -- "the expert on counterinsurgency," remember? -- are needed to secure Baghdad. Simply put: we're not even close to that number. And never will be. Even after all of the planned 21,500 additional troops are sent to the embattled capitol, there will still only be 85,000 security forces there -- and that includes significant numbers of Iraqi security forces, whose readiness and loyalty have repeatedly proven to be unreliable at best.
So Petraeus says it will take 120,000 soldiers to succeed. Instead, he's being asked to do it on the cheap -- and pretend that he's getting what he needs. And this is just in terms of troops. Petraeus' manual also says that a muscular military presence is just 20 percent of what is needed for a counterinsurgency effort to succeed -- the other 80 consists of establishing political and economic reform, two areas in which the United States is also failing miserably.
Despite this, Petraeus, to his eternal discredit, is going along with the charade -- probably crossing his fingers behind his back -- and promising to let us know how it's really going sometime this summer. But we don't need to wait until sometime this summer. We can see the news, and count the bodies, and know for ourselves that this is all just another case of prolonging the inevitable, of asking more young men and women to die for a lost cause. For the first time since the war began, we've just had five straight months with 80 or more U.S. fatalities.
And the fraud continues.