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The General Who Doesn't Know....

Andrew Sullivan writing in the TimesonLine:

"When historians look back on the past week in Washington, I suspect they will see it as a seminal moment. It was the moment when the president and his party recommitted themselves to an indefinite, decades-long Iraq occupation, and when the Iraq war was formally handed over to the next president, with forces near the maxed-out 2006 level."

Sullivan then highlights something which seems to have generally slipped under the radar of the media in all the hype surrounding the Patraeus evidence followed by the president's address to the nation from the Oval Office:

"For me, the critical exchange evinced a response from Petraeus that, after a recess, he decided to withdraw. Too late. The truth had been blurted out. When staunch Republican Senator John Warner asked him: “Does the [Iraq war] make America safer?” Petraeus replied with admirable honesty: “I don’t know, actually. I have not sat down and sorted in my own mind.”

And then reflect on this from Sullivan's piece:

"Let us review the stated objectives of the Iraq war chronologically:

2002: to disarm Saddam Hussein of stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and create a breathing space for democracy in the Middle East (the WMDs were not there; the breathing space became anarchy).

2003: to allow chaos in order to create a “fly-paper” for every jihadist in the world to come and get slaughtered by the US (“Bring it on!”).

2004: to create a new democratic constitution (achieved on paper, but at the price of creating sectarian voting blocs that actually intensified the ethnic and religious divisions pulling the country apart).

2005: to protect Iraq from a powerful and growing Sunni insurgency and disarm the Shi’ite militias (failed).

2006: to quell surging sectarian violence, target a new and lethal Al-Qaeda in Iraq and restrain the passions unleashed by the bombing of the Samarra mosque (failed).

2007: to prevent genocide and a wider regional war and create enough peace for a settlement in the centre (the surge has reduced violence to levels of summer 2006, and no agreement in Baghdad has been reached)."

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