Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Lt. Gen. David Petraeus Amuses Foreign Fighters

Petraeus appears visibily shaken, out of his element, and insecure.

Foreign fighters are not impressed, and look at him as a vulnerable General.

Contrast the President's escalation plan with unit reports: The Pentagon, Joint Staff, and White House are not on the same sheet of music with Patraeus. The President's plan relies on assumptions which are not supported by unit-level readiness reports.

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Ref: Real concern he's riding on an illusory wave of DoD propaganda. Bush appears to have promoted the man who's created the Iraqi ghost army:

We all know what really happened, the "national" army wasn't national at all; the combat forces weren't quite what the numbers suggested; insurgents had infiltrated almost all formations; the Ministry of Interior was riddled with Shi'a militia members and spies; the Iraqis weren't battling the insurgency, they were the insurgency.

. . .

The stand-up of Iraqi forces during 2005 and much of 2006 became a pure number's game: how many officers and how many battalions there were consistently was used as the body count to prove progress. Each acronym - . . . - suggested far more organization and capability than actually existed.

The article credits Petraeus with early training success but then we find out the Iraqis couldnt even muster 6 batallions for the operation to secure Baghdad. Some success.Ref:Posted by: sm | January 5, 2007 01:30 PM

[ Another view ]

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Problem-Resource Mismatch

Examine the defensive commentary about Petraeus here; and compare it with the pre-invasion arguments: Strikingly similar -- The commentary is arrogant, assertive, not open to other views -- a very good sign that there are credible issues not being addressed, as they should be; and there are fundamental questions and problems which have been glossed over; and supported by the above critiques about the real status of the Iraqi military.

Petraeus appears to have taken credit for a success that was not real; then is rising on that illusory success as a basis to resolve a different problem. It appears the President has thrown the best qualified into an unsolvable situation with insufficient resources. With a disconnect like that, we might as well be in 2003 on the eve of the inavasion with high optimism, and no credible resources or leaders to solve the different problem.

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Lt. Gen. David Petraeus may be an expert on insurgency, but he's not an expert on civil wars, or how to effectively work with an incompetent President.

Lt. Gen. David Petraeus claims to be a West Point graduate, which doesn't mean much in light of the reckless disregard for fact finding by one of his former supervisors: General Powell. Claiming to be a service Academy graduate doesn't mean Petraeus is the right man for the job, or that the problem is solvable.

If he was the right person, he would've been able to get the President's and COngress' joint ears. He didn't do that.

The President by choosing Petraeus admits he has no options other than throw more West Pointers in the Iraqi meat grinder. Not to worry, more a volunteering every day to join the long gray line.

West Point has rested on its laurels. Foreign fighters look at Petraeus as another target to remove from an unstable penestal. They'll wait to meke his job more difficult, letting the civil war consume then discredit Petraeus.

Petraeus has no experience managing a disaffected civilian American population that views Petraeus as having compromised his loyalty and duty to refue to obey illegal orders.

Unlike insurgencies where only combatants troubled the commanders, Petraeus has to contend with the rising US civilian opposition to the President, openly talking of revolution.

This disaster is likely to consume Petraeus, and discredit him. No need for foreign fighters to be concerned with his threats or plans: Petraeus faces a larger problem no insurgent can hope to match: The power of the US COnstution and We the People to hold Petraeus to account when the US Congress refuses to hold the President accountable.

The insurgency can see his limits: He may be able to inspire misinformed, manipulated Americans, but is meaningless in working with insurgents overshadowed by a larger civil war.

Tellingly, the best leadership the President can provide is a Flag officer who is noticeably insecure and lacks confidence: His background and experience are inadequate. The General knows he has a larger problem on his hand than he can manage.

It remains to be understood what reasons the Generals relied on when he was convinced by some that he was the right man for the job. He had the choice to resign or not accept the responsibility. It’s interesting that he’s accepting an assignment that is not consistent with his background or training.

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It is meaningless and false hope for any American to point to West Point as a source of leadership. Although the legacy of Eisenhower. Patton, and Macarthur may provide some inspiration for some cadets, today’s world is different. Unlike Nazi Germany or the Communists in Russia, today’s greatest threat to work stability and order is not abroad from totalitarian dictators or abusive regimes, but at home.

West Pointers well know through military doctrine that civilian control of the military means obeying the civilian leadership. However, lost on West Pont Graduates has been the requirement to disobey illegal orders; or to take fully responsibility to implement the needed institutional safeguards to ensure civilian control does not turn into civilian abuse.

The fatal problem with the foreign fighters well know is that the US leadership is not longer legitimate, but is blindly supported by military officers despite the Geneva obligations to refuse to obey illegal orders.

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Bush’s selection as the new US leader for counter insurgency operations in Iraq is a fatal admission that the strategy to date has been reckless. But it is too late. The situation is no longer one that Patreaus can manage.

America’s Flag Officers have proven inept, complicit with war crimes; or they have done the right thing and resigned, only voicing their disagreements privately to Congress, or in letters. All American Flag officers may legally use their officer rank in their official title during retirement and could be called back to active duty.

One day, America may see the return of the American civil war where one set of generals take up arms to defend the Constitution against another group intent on waging illegal warfare. Foreign fighters know there continues to be talk of a coup in the United States, and the American government is not solidly behind the troops. The problem is the troops are not solidly behind their oath of office or their Constitution.

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Foreign fighters view Patraeus as a bit player. He isn’t the right many for the job because this isn’t a job that be completed. America waited too long to do the right thing and no longer has the power to solve a situation that has spun out of control.

The scales have tipped away from the American military commanders. Foreign fighters know that the US population no longer supports illegal warfare, regardless whether the President or Congress chooses in action, accountability, or illusory change.

Patraus is limited. With sustained combat losses, foreign fighters will further chip away at his already cracking confidence. Foreign fighters know America’s best generals are beatable. The President in choosing Patreaeus has emboldened the Iraqi insurgency and other foreign fighters: America is running out of options, time, and leadership.

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Once Patreaus is directly confronted on the battlefield, and his counter-insurgency methods backfire, Congress will have to face the prospect of forcing the President to remove another General; or directly confronting the President for defective adjustments to a deteriorating situation in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Patreaus fails to comprehend the larger problem he faces isn’t an insurgency abroad, but the mounting opposition at home against his approaches which are incorrect, not working, and too late. Patreaus will have to decide whether he is going to resign, directly confront the Americans who openly oppose him, or whether he will support other Presidential efforts to target Americans.

The error is for Patreaus to compete with the Constitution, We the People, and the rule of law. He’s going to lose, foreign fighters know this, and are emboldened by his appointment.