Sand in Your Eye

We’re six years in. This day, this September 11th, always a shitty day for as long as people remember the attacks. No coincidence that Petraeus and Crocker find themselves on the Hill, hocking the president’s wares. Hell, Petraeus may even believe it. If we had gone in with 500,000 troops, and a plan for what would happen after the Iraqi tanks were all gone, Petraeus is the man we should have had at the head. No one is denying that. The man is the poster child for American counterinsurgency. Why? He gets it. He wrote a book. In the pentagon of the eighties and nineties, he never would have gotten that fourth star, may not have gotten even one. Then, the way we convinced ourselves we had learned from our mistakes in ‘Nam was the Weinburger/Powell Doctrine. No more counterinsurgency. We would pick the battlefield. Petreaus, pouring over the books, figuring out what to do, writing his own, back then, career suicide. We don’t fight counterinsurgency, we don’t need to learn how to win. But then we began fighting a counterinsurgency, and some bright people figured out that it’s the weaker of the two opponents that dictates the battle space. Then it became three opponents. Then a dozen, two dozen, a hundred disparate groups that after four years of camping out in the Green Zone still number around fifteen thousand persons, no matter how many we kill. Al Qaeda in Iraq? Bullshit. Talking point. Only two to five percent of the insurgents in Iraq. Sounds like the fellows in Washington are branding this war with a readymade enemy. How long until a swoosh shows up on body armor? Be a great way to cover the costs, right? Armored personnel carriers, Built Ford Tough. But then, we don’t want any reminders that we’re at war. It’s enough that Bush comes on the air between Paris and Britney sightings on CNN, telling us the foul Democrats are losing everything. It’s enough that the Democrats insisted on running on an antiwar platform last year, knowing full well that short of cutting off funding, there was nothing they could do. But cutting off funding remains the great theoretical in the war. It is possible, but how many Congressmen do you think would be willing to commit career suicide to chase after so elusive a principle as peace? They can’t even stop writing earmarks, for heaven’s sake. So there were Petraeus and Crocker, anticlimax after months of Bush admin preparation, nothing new was said. Surge is working, violence is down. Independent reports agree with the second part, anyways. Violence is down. August of last year, 3,000 civilian deaths. August of this year, 2,500 civilian deaths. That comes from Michael O’Hanlon, Iraq statistics guru from the Brookings Institution. All that after a 30,000 troop increase. At that rate, only another 150,000 GIs, and we’ll have this thing licked. There was Petraeus, sitting in that chair, taking shit from Democrats, getting his prostate massaged by Republicans, and all I could think about were his credentials. He knows how to win a counterinsurgency war. He knows that the two things he needs the most, troops and time, will never be given to him. And there he was, on Capitol Hill, working up the nerve to say the Surge is working, we’re going to bring all the Surge boys home by next July, ten months from now!, and everyone else stays. What shit. What utter, awful shit. Yeah, next president better be really good. Lot of work to do. It’s only the paper leaders that want to end this thing. Everyone who can pick up the phone, write an order, set an agenda, seems to think this thing is worth it. All starts with the man in the Oval Office. He won’t take the blame for starting a faulty war, he sure as hell won’t take the blame for Iraq falling apart when we leave. Any luck for his party, Hillary will win and have to end this war, and January 2013 will inaugurate the next great era of GOP politics. Yeah, cause they’ve earned it, cause he’s earned that soft landing for his legacy. It’s September 11th, and Bush is more responsible for the world we live in than Bin Laden. We’re Americans. We should be able to say that it’s a good thing when one of our guys sets the table. Only this time, it’s not.