Petraeus Disappointed At Political State of Iraq
General's Letter to Troops Praises Progress on Security
Washington Post Staff Writers Saturday, September 8, 2007; Page A01
In a preview of his report to Congress next week, Gen. David H. Petraeus yesterday expressed disappointment in the lack of progress toward political reconciliation in Iraq. Administration officials said he wants to return to Washington for another assessment in six months to allow more time for Iraqi politics to catch up with what Petraeus regards as rapidly improving security conditions.
Writing to his troops, the top U.S. commander in Iraq emphasized that violence there had diminished in eight of the last 11 weeks. But while "many of us had hoped this summer would be a time of tangible political progress," Petraeus said in a letter addressed to "Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Civilians" serving in Iraq that "it has not worked out as we had hoped.
Part of the disappointment can be laid to the fact that during the August portion of summer in Iraq, nobody was home in the government. Additional months were wasted deciding whether to go or stay and then there was also the problem of 'defining' government. When more than half of it has quit, is it really a government anymore? Define 'quorum.'
I can understand that it hasn't worked out as Petraeus had hoped. In that one measurable area of the whole mess, the country is nearly unanimously behind him.
More time for Maliki is probably wise. In the nearly six thousand year history of Mesopotamia, it's only been Iraq for fifty and only been a democracy (of sorts) for four.
"I think Dave will highlight in his testimony that he can see a place in the future where he can begin to shift his weight from doing what he is doing now to a new phase of operations, and that new phase of operations will require fewer troops," one senior administration official said. I think so as well. That 'place in the future' is called retirement and Petraeus hopes to reach it with an additional star on his shoulder.