This isn’t quite the shocker it’s being touted as, as you’ll see if you revisit Batiste’s quotes from January about the folly of Democratic plans for withdrawal and the advisability of adding more troops. In May he was unhappy enough with how things were going to appear in an anti-war ad for VoteVets, but even then his preferred solution was to double down — replete with a draft, if need be — to complete the mission rather than give up. That always made him an unlikely nutroots hero and an even more unlikely VoteVets spokesman. Although he did have plenty of contempt for Rumsfeld, which I guess is enough reality for the reality-based community seal of approval.
Seven months after the VoteVets ad, here we are:
Third, the counterinsurgency campaign led by Gen. David Petraeus is the correct approach in Iraq. It is showing promise of success and, if continued, will provide the Iraqi government the opportunities it desperately needs to stabilize its country. Ultimately, however, these military gains must be cemented with regional and global diplomacy, political reconciliation, and economic recovery — tools yet sufficiently utilized. Today’s tactical gains in Iraq — while a necessary pre-condition for political reconciliation — will crumble without a deliberate and comprehensive strategy.
In the past month, the left’s stable of military leaders with Absolute Moral Authority has lost this guy and replaced him with the man who presided over the rise of the Iraqi insurgency. I’ll take that trade — although look closely at Gen. Sanchez’s speech from October and you’ll see he has some Batiste-ish inclinations himself. Exit question: Is the passage I quoted really the most troublesome part of that op-ed for the left? I see something else that’s much more “problematic.”