Petraeus’s letter to the troops

posted at 5:33 pm on September 7, 2007 by Allahpundit

Consider it a sneak preview of his testimony next week, noting especially his criticism of the pace of political progress on page two. The money line comes early — “We are, in short, a long way from the goal line, but we do have the ball and we are driving down the field” — but the one resounding false note isn’t sounded until the last paragraph of the first page, when he mentions how, “with growing Government of Iraq support,” the Sunni tribesmen in Anbar are being integrated Iraqi national security forces. If that’s true, it’s only because Maliki and the Shiites are being dragged to it kicking and screaming.

As expected, his inevitable recommendation to withdraw the surge brigades will propose a modest start, with the removal of 4,000 troops or so in January to throw the anti-war crowd a bone. It won’t get going in earnest until March or April, and even then there’s wiggle room:

Many U.S. officials expect the U.S. presence in Iraq to shrink to about 130,000 troops by next August; in effect, Petraeus is signaling it could be done a little faster, though not as fast as some in the Pentagon might want.

“The debate now is, do we want to be at 12 brigades in August or 15?” one administration official said recently.

Gen. Jack Keane, who’s been wrong before about Iraq, estimates that no fewer than 30,000 Sunni insurgents have flipped to the U.S. side to offset the withdrawing troops. The Dems are back on their heels and today’s Osama tape won’t make things easier on them, although I continue to think that Schumer’s getting a slightly bad rap for what he said yesterday, Lieberman’s outrage to the contrary notwithstanding.

Exit question: Is there really such a thing as the “Petraeus report”?

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Allahpundit

although I continue to think that Schumer’s getting a slightly bad rap for what he said yesterday

Funny most of us, your loyal and devoted readers, seem to feel he is not getting raped enough…

doriangrey on September 7, 2007 at 5:38 PM

What’s funny about it? You have your opinion, I have mine.

Allahpundit on September 7, 2007 at 5:40 PM

What’s funny about it? You have your opinion, I have mine.

Allahpundit on September 7, 2007 at 5:40 PM

Rhetorical funny…Yes, you do have your opinion and I just happen to think the man should be hung for treason and sedition, but thats just my not so humble opinion.

doriangrey on September 7, 2007 at 5:43 PM

As expected, his inevitable recommendation to withdraw the surge brigades will propose a modest start, with the removal of 4,000 troops or so in January to throw the anti-war crowd a bone.

Rove Patraeus, You Magnificent Bastard

amerpundit on September 7, 2007 at 5:43 PM

Yes, you do have your opinion and I just happen to think the man should be hung for treason and sedition

Yeah, but why? The fact is, Anbar was a disaster until the Sunnis flipped on Al Qaeda. One of the Marine C.O.s actually wrote it off last year as hopeless. All Schumer was saying is that it’s the locals who are responsible for the sea change in security there.

Allahpundit on September 7, 2007 at 5:46 PM

All Schumer was saying is that it’s the locals who are responsible for the sea change in security there.

Allahpundit on September 7, 2007 at 5:46 PM

The locals would be dead or learning Persian.

JiangxiDad on September 7, 2007 at 6:03 PM

Yeah, but why? The fact is, Anbar was a disaster until the Sunnis flipped on Al Qaeda. One of the Marine C.O.s actually wrote it off last year as hopeless. All Schumer was saying is that it’s the locals who are responsible for the sea change in security there.

Allahpundit on September 7, 2007 at 5:46 PM

Happy to give almost all credit to the locals. Its their country and they realized that the terrorists were the true threat and not the US. Of course, the US training them, arming them, and backing them up in their fight was also necesary for their effort to succeed.

Schumer was implying the opposite. He’s saying that we did nothing and also, look what happened when we gave up…the locals took over. We should pull out of the whole country.

sunny on September 7, 2007 at 6:07 PM

there is a quote button, a preview button, but still…

sunny on September 7, 2007 at 6:07 PM

AP,

Schumer occasionally makes more sense than most other dems, but I think he meant what he said. I believe he is counting on his reputation to carry him through this blatant attempt to dis-credit the report before it comes out. Like I said months and months ago, I felt Bush would hold back success in Iraq until the dems got themselves out on a limb that he could saw off behind them. The surge report is the first stroke of that saw.

csdeven on September 7, 2007 at 6:08 PM

All Schumer was saying is that it’s the locals who are responsible for the sea change in security there.

Allahpundit on September 7, 2007 at 5:46 PM

Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) Anbar:

“And let me be clear, the violence in Anbar has gone down despite the surge, not because of the surge. The inability of American soldiers to protect these tribes from al Qaeda said to these tribes, “We have to fight al Qaeda ourselves.”

doriangrey on September 7, 2007 at 6:09 PM

All Schumer was saying is that it’s the locals who are responsible for the sea change in security there.

Yet in the same breath he bitch-slaps the efforts of our troops – the very troops who created the conditions for this fortunate turn of events. Classy guy.

AP, you sound like you’re just trying to stimulate discussion – you know, ruffle a few feathers. You can’t honestly believe Schumer would actually acknowledge our military’s role in any success that happens in Iraq, for to do so, would be tantamount to praising Bush, and we can’t have that when the Dems are so close to taking full control in DC.

CliffHanger on September 7, 2007 at 6:21 PM

Yet in the same breath he “slaps” the efforts of our troops – the very troops who created the conditions for this fortunate turn of events. Classy guy.

AP, you sound like you’re just trying to stimulate discussion – you know, ruffle a few feathers. You can’t honestly believe Schumer would actually acknowledge our military’s role in any success that happens in Iraq, for to do so, would be tantamount to praising Bush, and we can’t have that when the Dems are so close to taking full control in DC.

“slaps”. There, is that better?

CliffHanger on September 7, 2007 at 6:23 PM

Does it bother anyone else that we are helping to set up a Socialist Theocracy?

AZCON on September 7, 2007 at 6:25 PM

Petraeus was confirmed unanimously. Not a single vote against him. And now that the dems realize his report could cost them politically they are firing every salvo at him they can.

I’m not happy his report is being filtered through the White House, but to totally discredit it is ridiculous.

BadgerHawk on September 7, 2007 at 6:27 PM

Jeez.
Even Schumer didn’t defend his remarks.
He edited them.

Stephen M on September 7, 2007 at 6:28 PM

Does it bother anyone else that we are helping to set up a Socialist Theocracy?

AZCON on September 7, 2007 at 6:25 PM

Not as much as it would bother me if we were forcing them to adopt a form of government that they were adamantly opposed to. Their government, their choice of government. Is it a poor choice? Yes I believe it is, but it is their choice.

doriangrey on September 7, 2007 at 6:29 PM

Exit question: Is there really such a thing as the “Petraeus report”?

Yes! Yes! And another time, Yes! There is such a thing as the Petraeus report, and we have the New Media, filled with great news sources and commentators such as yourself, to thank.

Weight of Glory on September 7, 2007 at 6:30 PM

The report is from the Multi National Forces, not the White House. Read the last link.

AZCON on September 7, 2007 at 6:30 PM

AllahPundit, are you a Democrat?

SoulGlo on September 7, 2007 at 6:39 PM

Schumer is not getting a bad rap.

Schumer claimed that the US was unable to protect the Sunni tribes.

However, as AP concedes, in Anbar, “the Sunnis flipped on Al Qaeda.”

US troops are not in the business of protecting groups allied with Al Qaeda. Or was Schumer suggesting that the Anbar tribes were too intimidated to help the US, but not so intimidated as to fight AQI themselves?

Also, since AP brought up that “One of the Marine C.O.s actually wrote (Anbar) off last year as hopeless,” Bill Roggio’s sources disputed that story. He, his sources and milbloggers turned out to be right. Tom Ricks, the WaPo and most of the media got it wrong. And I again thank AP for having linked to my explanation of this as a HotAir headline when it originally ran.

Karl on September 7, 2007 at 7:03 PM

From this letter, what I read from Michael Yon’s dispatches, and being privileged to work with young people that just returned from that part of the world it does appear we are kicking the crap out of the bad guys. It’s kind of fun watching the Democrats run for cover with their hands over their ears screaming like little girls trying to delude themselves of the awful truth. It’s also a little disturbing and revolting to see how low they will sink to torpedo any good news coming out of the region.

KC-135A on September 7, 2007 at 7:06 PM

As for HA traffic being down, I just ran an Alexa comparison with MM, Insty, dKos and HuffPo. The pattern is the same — dog days of summer in a non-election year.

Karl on September 7, 2007 at 7:09 PM

All Schumer was saying is that it’s the locals who are responsible for the sea change in security there.

Allahpundit on September 7, 2007 at 5:46 PM

No that is not what Schumer said. he demeaned the troops by saying in spite of them being there the Sunni’s flipped. That is what I call a stinking steaming pile of DOG SQUEEZE! Most of the Sunni’s who flipped were either part of the 1920 brigade or Bathist Party loyal to Saddam and had been fighting against coalition forces since the fall of Bagdad in 03. In an effort to defeat the coalition forces the Sunni’s are the ones who conjured up the unification with al qaeda. That was a fatal military decision. When they came to the coalition they were a beaten lot both militarily and economically. They had nothing not even bullets. If the U.S. dealt like the Islamofaists we could have killed many helpless and defenseless people. Instead we thought it out and turned lemons into lemonade and gained an ally.

As for the Petraeus report, it is correct there is no Petreaus report. General Petraeus puposefully left the reports turned into him by his top field commanders unedited and without alteration. He did this because he is doing the job given to him by the Congress of the United States without bias. How can Schumer and his hoardes besmirch the good General at this eleventh hour? They are prognosticating the contents of the report without even knowing what it contains. Are you buying into that?!? General Petraeus predicted this very scenerio on national talk radio last week. He totally predicted this Democratic shit storm and will hand out their comeuppens rebuffing the blantant propagandizing of the whole affair when he appears before congress.

sonnyspats1 on September 7, 2007 at 7:30 PM

AP, I almost made the same semantic mistake (I’m suggesting) you did but caught myself in time. I almost equated “in spite of” with “independently of”, because a lot of times people say “in spite of” just to be dramatic when they really mean “independently of”.

But not here. In this case, Schumer himself drove the wedge between the two meanings by what he said next.

You could almost argue (though sonnyspats refutes it well) that the Sunnis turned on Al Qaeda independently of the surge, and that ultimately the surge had no impact one way or the other; but to suggest that it happened in spite of the surge implies that somehow the surge got in the way and made it more difficult to accomplish, that the surge hindered progress in some way. Do you believe that to be even remotely true, and if so, how?

I don’t think that’s what you mean, yet that’s exactly what Schumer’s words mean.

Suggesting the surge is making it harder for Iraqis to rid themselves of terrorists is of a piece with the larger claim that our overall presence in Iraq has been harmful and it would just be better if we got out of there and apologized to the Iraqis for showing up in the first place.

RD on September 8, 2007 at 1:28 PM