Where Gen. David Petraeus goes, lies follow. Or maybe he’s the liar. We probably can’t expect the truth from a man in the military for as long as he’s been.
The 37-year veteran, retiring this week, is credited by the stenographic media with cutting violence in Iraq — something that happened but for which he is in fact not responsible; and cutting violence in Afghanistan — something that never happened at all.
Iraq is the annoying lie, since everyone still believes it and even the “opposition” president flip–flopped on it. But it is a simple one to bust because we have so many evidences. As I wrote last year:
1) Sadr ordered his men to stand down, apparently sickened by the recent violence between his followers, and other Shi’ites and the government.
2) The Awakening (Sahwa) councils, Sunni groups who were revolting against al-Qaeda-in-Iraq’s senseless slaughters, began receiving large sums of money from the US to only fight AQI, and not US troops as well, as they had been doing. The verdict is yet out on what happens when the money stops and Maliki, or whoever is in power, decides to turn on this now-well-trained movement.
3) This is the big one: the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad was essentially complete. No more violence was necessary for many partisan sectarians.
So yes, violence in Iraq did for a time enter a comparative lull. It of course subsequently ramped up again briefly in 2008, though with different targets. And then until recently, it had been lower than any time since the invasion. Could the fact that there are the lowest number of troops there than ever have had anything to do with this? Gosh! Whoever could have been saying the whole time violence would drop as American troops left? It’s so hard being so right so often and not being in charge. Really.
Now I don’t mean to imply that Iraq is at peace. No, it turns out Iraqis aren’t fooled by the mere relabeling of combat troops as “advise and assist” agents. They still consider their country to be militarily occupied, and now Shi’ite militias have apparently been stepping up attacks on US troops — like they said they would. It’s cool though, it gives the US an excuse to blame Iran for something else.
But seriously. It can’t not be obvious to all involved that Iraqis just want the occupiers out. There was never any need for Petraeus’ “counterinsurgency” voodoo. The only magic needed is a disappearing act.
In Afghanistan, it is claimed Petraeus quashed steadily rising violence through yet more of his much-vaunted counterinsurgency tactics. In reality, he simply repealed ousted Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s “try not to kill as many civilians” doctrine when he was given the job of commander by a desperate and uncreative President Obama. In July this year, Gareth Porter reported that despite the troop surge and Petraeus’ dusted-off COIN theories, Taliban attacks and US casualties surged in Afghanistan. This was before July became a hideously bloody month and yet was still eclipsed by August — the deadliest month ever for US troops and God knows how many Afghan civilians. Yes, a true hero, our Commander.
But that’s not all. At his pompous farewell speech before he becomes America’s chief snoop, he warned against cutting the Pentagon budget “too deeply.” The comment is absurd as nobody has discussed actually cutting the Pentagon’s budget, only slightly reducing the rate at which it expands. But a man who thinks all the world’s problems are solved by war can’t imagine not giving ever-larger shares of public treasure to the one bureaucracy he considers to define, order, and protect civilization itself.
This, with Petraeus’ penchant for perjuring himself in front of the Congress — though there are no consequences for an heroic general — makes it obvious this “suck-up” is never, ever to be trusted. His lies and those of his sycophants are breathtaking.
Petraeus is a disgrace of an American. Which is why he’ll probably be waterboarding us all in 2016.