Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Petraeus On The "Surge"

U.S. Army General David H. Petraeus told the Associated Press annual meeting [yesterday], via satellite from Baghdad, that the "surge" campaign he is leading in Iraq "is likely to get harder before it gets better. ... We are putting our soldiers at greater risk." He said it was far too early to declare it a success and for now only cited "some progress" in "some areas." On two occasions he referred to "some" Iraqi units truly pulling their weight.

But he sidestepped a key question from an AP reporter in New York who asked what it would take for him to advise President Bush, at a promised early September meeting, that it was time to start to get out of Iraq. Petraeus replied to that in general terms and said he did not want to "speculate," which might leave the news gathering with a "big headline" or land him in a "political minefield." He also hinted that the U.S. could "modify the objectives."

Yep, when the "surge" fails, you can bet that there will be a new "strategy" (tactic would be the proper operational term) to fight the war. And of course, we will be asked to give it 6-12 months minimum.

Asked about a poll showing that 68% of Iraqis want us out of that country, Petraeus said his forces have to combat "rumors" because "our motives are pure."

Asked about a new military study which showed increasing mental problems among U.S. personnel -- and an alarming spillover into admitted ill treatment of noncombatants -- Petraeus replied, "When I received that survey I was very concerned by the results. It showed a willingness of a fair number to not report the wrongdoing by their buddies." But he asserted that it showed that only a "small number" admitted they may have "mistreated detainees."

Actually, the study found that 10% percent of U.S. forces reported personally abusing Iraqi civilians. More than 40% said they backed torture in certain circumstances.

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