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Petraeus Explains why the Surge Won't Work

General Petraeus had some sobering words for those who believe that the "surge" will be the answer to our problems in Iraq.

"There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq," Petraeus said.

Political progress would require talking with "some of those who have felt the new Iraq did not have a place for them".

He said a key challenge for the Shi'ite-led government of Nuri al-Maliki was to identify those militant groups who were "reconcilable" and to bring them into the political process.

Essentially, Petraeus has explained, in crystal clear times, why the surge won't work and won't bring an end to the war in Iraq. This is an unexpected and remarkably straightforward assessment of the situation that will no doubt have surge supporters squirming in their seats.

In the absence of a political reconciliation between the majority Shia and minority Sunnis, there really is no way to halt Iraq's slide into civil war and chaos. Talks on amending the Constitution stalled long ago and there is zero prospect of their revival.

Meanwhile, Maliki's fragile coalition government is beginning to crumble.

A Shia Islamist party formerly allied to Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister, withdrew from Iraq's ruling coalition on Wednesday, declaring itself ready to join other groups to form a cross-sectarian alliance.

...it does indicate the long-term weakness of Mr Maliki, who is accused both of running a government that only looks out for Shia sectarian interests, and of selling out the Shia under pressure from the US and Sunni community.

Rumors are flying that Iyad Allawi is trying to assemble a coalition to replace Maliki's government. A power struggle if it were to erupt at this point in time would be an enormous setback to US efforts to bring security and stability to Iraq. We could face the prospect of more months of squabbling and back-stabbing similar to what we saw after the last elections.

The bottom line is that the surge isn't working and it won't work. The only solution to Iraq's problems is political and the progress on that front is dismal.

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Rating: 2.3/5 (3 votes cast)

Comments (4)


In the words of Lee and BG, you cherry pick then you lie. You know what he said in full but chose to pick what would support your ongoing disinformation. You are a lying liar. Lie, lie, lie. You cannot tell the truth. It will hurt. You liar. ww

You've fallen into the either/or error.

NO ONE thinks that the Surge or military action is all that is necessary to succeed. For someone to make that claim would betray an incredible failure of both understanding and imagination.

But any support for military action is invariably interpreted in those terms. Any statement of the obvious need for non-military action is pounced on as proof that our goals in Iraq are doomed. Petraeus makes statements that are not the least bit surprising, indeed, he states the obvious, and people who ought to know better... such as Reid... insist that he actually said that we're losing and have lost.

This doesn't help anyone to take the opposition seriously. Nothing in military theory all the heck of the way back to Sun Tzu views military action as the "answer". It's a tool to be used in concert with other tools.

Withholding other efforts, primarily out of spite, in order to prove something that pro-military sorts already know, just for the payoff of being able to crow that the military failed is... vile.


What, no NEGATIVE score for ratings?

Well, you got a 1 because I couldn't give you a -10 for dishonesty.


BTW, you won't be able to tell if the surge is working or not because it won't fully implement the new strategy for another 8 weeks.

In the meantime, just the preparations and ramp up are driving the insurgents out of Baghdad.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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