I feel certain that if Gen. Petraeus can just get the two three-star knives out of his back, he will do just fine. Of course, we need to remember my grandfather's advice, that it takes two people to hurt you; you to say it, and one to bring it to you.
Does anyone remember when there was honor among men of stars?
Retired Generals Question Iraq Surge 'Success'
By Josiah Ryan CNSNews.com Staff WriterApril 02, 2008
(CNSNews.com) - In a press conference touted as a "prebuttal" to Gen. David Petraeus' testimony on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, two retired U.S generals said they disagreed with the notion that the surge in Iraq has been successful. Petraeus is in charge of the Multi-National Force fighting in Iraq.
However, an active duty general who recently spoke at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said he has witnessed great progress on the ground in Iraq and sees both hope and political progress because of the surge.
The Win Without War Coalition, which hosted the press conference call on Tuesday, is a liberal anti-war activism group that includes organizations such as Greenpeace, the National Council of Churches, MoveOn and Veterans for Peace.
"Petraeus said he could lower the violence and buy us some time in Iraq," said retired Lt. Gen. William Odom, a retired three-star U.S. Army general and the former director of the National Security Agency under President Ronald Reagan. He is now a national security fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute and an adjunct professor at Yale University.
"But buying some time is not the goal. The goal is a deal. In some areas we have seen the violence drop, but we are nowhere near a political settlement," Odom said. Retired Lt. Gen. Robert Gard - a West Point graduate who fought in Korea and Vietnam, who is currently is senior military fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation - at the same press conference, expressed views similar to Odom's.
"The purpose of the surge, according to the administration, was to give breathing space for political reconciliation," he said. "We have not moved towards that goal. General Petraeus himself has said there is no military solution." But Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, commanding general of U.S. III Corps of the U.S. Army, said in a March 13 speech that the surge has created a needed chance for Iraqis to prove themselves.
"The surge helped set the stage for progress in governance and economic development," Odierno said at the Heritage Foundation. "When security conditions improve, a narrow focus on survival opens up and makes room for hope. For the government of Iraq, the surge has provided a window of opportunity. This window will not remain open forever."
Gard added that beyond the loss of borrowed money to pay for the war, and the loss of American lives, the surge is making the situation in Iraq worse. "The record shows the surge is prolonging instability and not creating conditions for political unity the president claims," said Gard.Odierno, however, said there has been political progress in Iraq. In recent weeks, "several major pieces of legislation have been passed by the Iraqi parliament: accountability and justice, provincial powers, and amnesty law," he mentioned in his speech.
Long-term, Odom believes that when the United States withdraws from Iraq there will be substantial violence. "Chaos will follow our withdrawal," he said. "The path to stability - whether we stay or leave - will be bloody. Once you have broken Iraq, there is no way to put it back together without further violence. The real moral choice we face is - are we going to risk more American lives or fewer?"
Gard was positive about Petraeus. "I am not implying any criticism of General Petraeus," he said. "He was given a mission to go into Iraq with a new tactic, which was classical anti-insurgency, and he has done a good job. There has been a reduction of violence in certain areas."