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September 10, 2007

Comments

Dan Chmielewski

Matt --
The White House prepared the General's report. Bush is on record for wanting to be in Iraq long term (playing to October-November, re: "Dead Certain"). Petrayus did write a positive op-ed justbefore the 2004 election. The information in the ad is attributed to press reports where the information is attributed back to government sources. How is this ad "despicable?" Please refuse the facts.
I have a hard time believing anything the general has to say.

Jubal

The General said that he wrote his testimony today himself, and had not shared it with anyone. His answers to questions (I've been out and haven't watch that part yet) would be his own.

The White House prepared the report based on information from Petraeus and Crocker.

Refute the Moveon.org ad? Maybe we can start with this whopper:

"Most importantly, General Petraeus will not admit what everyone knows: Iraq is mired in an unwinnable religious civil war."

I would like to know how and/or MoveOn.org substantiate that statement?

Come on, Dan: calling Petraeus a liar and a betrayer of the American people? Are you really willing to go along with that kind of vicious thuggery?

Jubal

I haven't looked at the NIE report or the GAO report, but the MoveOn.org ad's statement about the Jones report is a lie. A...flat...out...LIE.

Which gives me little confidence that MoveOn's description of how the GAO or NIE reports' assess the surge is any more truthful.

Bladerunner

The Move On.org ad is certainly disrespectful of General Petraeus. How anyone could think they were being cute by suggesting he would betray us shows how stupid people get when in a feeding frenzy.

The General has been given the unfortunate task of trying to make chicken salad out of chicken you know what. Years of incompetent direction from DOD and the White House has left the general advocating a plan that does not really call for victory but for a reduced level of violence that will hopefully allow for a political settlement. There has been some military stabalization on the ground and for him to be optomistic about the surge is certainly not a betrayal.

However, the general is truly in a box--the short term gains established by the surge will most likely vanish when U.S. troops leave, the surge has resulted in a greater number of Iraqi's wanting the U.S. to leave the short term gains with the Sunni's will most likely vanish if we're ever able to eliminate Al Quida and a majority of iraqi's approve of attacks on U.S. troops.
But don't blame him---this Administration gave him a hopeless assignment.


Dan Chmielewski

Matt - It IS an unwinnable religious civil war. And what exactly do we win?

Might want to read yesterday's NY Times; the good general is playing the Colin Powell role for the administration which is leveraging/hiding behind his reputation to extend the war indefinitely.

The Jones Report is not specifically mentioned in the ad; copy based on publised reports.

This from the Washington Post:
Senior U.S. officers in Baghdad disputed the accuracy and conclusions of the largely negative GAO report, which they said had adopted a flawed counting methodology used by the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Many of those conclusions were also reflected in last month's pessimistic National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq.

The intelligence community has its own problems with military calculations. Intelligence analysts computing aggregate levels of violence against civilians for the NIE puzzled over how the military designated attacks as combat, sectarian or criminal, according to one senior intelligence official in Washington. "If a bullet went through the back of the head, it's sectarian," the official said. "If it went through the front, it's criminal."

"Depending on which numbers you pick," he said, "you get a different outcome." Analysts found "trend lines . . . going in different directions" compared with previous years, when numbers in different categories varied widely but trended in the same direction. "It began to look like spaghetti."

Among the most worrisome trends cited by the NIE was escalating warfare between rival Shiite militias in southern Iraq that has consumed the port city of Basra and resulted last month in the assassination of two southern provincial governors. According to a spokesman for the Baghdad headquarters of the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I), those attacks are not included in the military's statistics. "Given a lack of capability to accurately track Shiite-on-Shiite and Sunni-on-Sunni violence, except in certain instances," the spokesman said, "we do not track this data to any significant degree."

Attacks by U.S.-allied Sunni tribesmen -- recruited to battle Iraqis allied with al-Qaeda -- are also excluded from the U.S. military's calculation of violence levels.

The administration has not given up trying to demonstrate that Iraq is moving toward political reconciliation. Testifying with Petraeus next week, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker is expected to report that top Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders agreed last month to work together on key legislation demanded by Congress. If all goes as U.S. officials hope, Crocker will also be able to point to a visit today to the Sunni stronghold of Anbar province by ministers in the Shiite-dominated government -- perhaps including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, according to a senior U.S. official involved in Iraq policy. The ministers plan to hand Anbar's governor $70 million in new development funds, the official said.


Jubal

It IS an unwinnable religious civil war.

An opinion, stated emphatically and repeated over and over and over again, does not rise to the level of fact.

And it is not something that "everyone knows."

Dan, you asked me to refute the "facts" stated in that ad. Look at the MoveOn.org webiste. It specifically cites the Jones report as being one of the independent reports saying the surge is a failure.

It doesn't say that. Not even close.

MoveOn is lying.

Big surprise.

Dan Chmielewski

I'm talking about the ad; the Jones report is no where in the ad.

Can you account for the different numbers released by the administration that show wide swings in Iraqi civilian deaths?

Now who's lying?

Jubal

Dan:

I'm talking about the ad, too. Look at the MoveOn.org webpage where they claim to back up their claims in the ad. They cite three independent reports (complete with links to the reports) as backing up their claim that every independent report judges the surge a failure. One of those cited is the Jones Report -- except it says no such thing.

Real "spot on."

Dan Chmielewski

From McClatchy:

A chart displayed by Army Gen. David Petraeus that purported to show the decline in sectarian violence in Baghdad between December and August made no effort to show that the ethnic character of many of the neighborhoods had changed in that same period from majority Sunni Muslim or mixed to majority Shiite Muslim.

Neither Petraeus nor U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker talked about the fact that since the troop surge began the pace by which Iraqis were abandoning their homes in search of safety had increased. They didn’t mention that 86 percent of Iraqis who’ve fled their homes said they’d been targeted because of their sect, according to the International Organization for Migration.


While Petraeus stressed that civilian casualties were down over the last five weeks, he drew no connection between that statement and a chart he displayed that showed that the number of attacks rose during at least one of those weeks.

Petraeus also didn’t highlight the fact that his charts showed that “ethno-sectarian” deaths in August, down from July, were still higher than in June, and he didn’t explain why the greatest drop in such deaths, which peaked in December, occurred between January and February, before the surge began.

And while both officials said that the Iraqi security forces were improving, neither talked about how those forces had been infiltrated by militias, though Petraeus acknowledged that during 2006 some Iraqi security forces had participated in the ethnic violence.

Jubal

So, Dan:

In th WaPo case, you've got an unnamed "expert" versus the commanding general in Iraq whose putting his name and reputation to his report.

As for your McClatchy extraction, you simply illustrate there are different statistics out there from different organizations, being pulled from the chaos of a war zone, and they don't all agree. What a shock! War isn't a neat and tidy business. Who'd a thunk?

But how that prove we cannot prevail in Iraq?

You're the one who said the MoveOn.org ad is "spot on" -- meaning you must think Petraeus is a liar and MoveOn is telling the truth.

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