Diary Of A Hollywood Refugee

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gen.David H. Petraeus "Man of The Year"

The Times-OnLine has chosen the most important "Story of the Year"

Against all the odds, an optimistic prediction comes true
“Iraq is more peaceful in 2007 than at any time since the 2003 invasion”.

By any measure, the US-led surge has been little short of a triumph. The number of American military fatalities is reduced sharply, as is the carnage of Iraqi civilians, Baghdad as a city is functioning again, oil output is above where it stood in March 2003 but at a far stronger price per barrel and, the acid test, many of those who fled to Syria and Jordan are today returning home.

The self-evident success of the surge has obliged the Democrats to start talking about almost anything else and the calls to cut and run have abated. If the US Army remains in Iraq in strength, continuing on its present path, then deals on a constitution and the division of oil revenues between provinces will be realised.

One prominent American politician alone has spent that time publicly demanding the extra soldiers which, in 2007, have been Iraq's salvation. That statesman is John McCain.

Behind the most important story of the year, Iraq, stands the Man Of The Year.

NRO weighs in on their pick for "Man Of The Year"

That the surge has worked is no longer up for debate. On a trip to Iraq the week after Thanksgiving, even John Murtha stated flatly, “I think the surge is working.” And in recent months the Democratic presidential candidates have accepted this reality too, sparring more over health-care plans than over who will pull out troops fastest.

Of course, the situation in Iraq is still parlous, and military successes will not automatically produce the national reconciliation necessary for long-term peace and stability. No one knows this better than Petraeus, who has forthrightly admitted that political progress in Iraq has been disappointing.

That Petraeus has achieved so much in such a short time despite the frustrations of Iraqi politics is a testament to his skill as a strategist and a leader of men.

For making victory in Iraq look possible again, and for pulling a nation back from the brink of civil war, (General David) Petraeus deserves the praise and thanks of all Americans. With or without a Time cover, he is the man of the year.

And someone named "Sailaway21" offers the most well articulated personal opinion on his choice for Man of The Year

General Petraeus has demonstrated perhaps the most common trait of the American soldier as well as the least commonly recognized. Improvision and adaptability have long been the hallmarks of the American soldier from revolutionary times through such notables as Sherman and Patton, to Petraeus himself. While serving under General Casey, Petraeus was the good subordinant soldier, but was all the time polishing his views on how geurilla warfare should be conducted. And, for once, there was a valuable lesson from Viet Nam. Like Patton before him, he was disinclined to give any territory taken back to the enemy. The failed policies of his predecessor held no illusions for General Petraeus; he got soldier's asses in the grasses and kept them there.


As late as yesterday morning I've heard from one of the useful idiots on NPR that all of this means little as the government of Iraq is still disfunctional on a national basis. While this may be true and also undesirable, it may not be exactly the most important point of the new reality in Iraq. The truth is that, in all governments-but especially democracies- the local governments are far more important than the federal government. Americans can work up a certain amount of lather over the inefficiencies of the post office, but nothing compared to what they're capable of if their town misses their curb at leaf pick up time. Try changing the local parking plan downtown of a small community. You'll have irregulars atop the hardware store just waiting for a clean shot at the planning commision.

The US Congress, comfortable in it's arrogance, assured of it's relevance, fails to see the merits of democracy from the bottom up. It's bad enough that they wish to rule their own citizen's lives from Washington, DC; they think they're best qualified to run the Iraqi's as well. Were I in possesion of only a fraction of the oil that Iraq possesses I'd be awful damn sure I'd keep it as far away as possible from the princes of pork in Washington. The smallest tribal sheik will question why the US government needs to subsidize the most productive agricultural industry in the world and cannot seem to figure out how to fund social security. Better off to trust a Marine. Marine's actually do what they say they're going to do. And so do soldiers.

For this we can thank General David H. Petraeus, the only choice for MAN OF THE YEAR.

How Petraeus Turned Iraq Around