I was planning on taking a weekend hiatus from blogging for various reasons but I thought I’d take a short hiatus from my hiatus to point out a couple must reads.
The first is Matthew Kaminski’s interview with retired general Jack Kean In the Wall Street Journal. Gen. Kean who was one of the officers who helped formulate the surge strategy explains that it wasn’t simply more troops that made the difference… It was the change in mission.
Three months into the war, Gen. Keane visited Iraq as the Army’s deputy chief of staff. “I felt we had a low-level insurgency on our hands and I had a long plane ride home as a result of it, because I thought my Army was ill-prepared to fight that kind of war and it would take time for us to figure it out.” His was a lonely view at the time. Gen. Keane passed on a promotion to Army chief for personal reasons but kept up with Iraq.
For the next three years, Donald Rumsfeld and the senior generals pushed a “short-war” scenario, “which was to get a political solution quickly, transition to the Iraqis security quickly, and get out,” says Gen. Keane. “It didn’t work. And why didn’t it work? Because the enemy voted and they took advantage. The fact that we did not adjust to what the enemy was doing to us and the Iraqis were not capable of standing by themselves — that was our major failure. . . . It took us all a while to understand the war and [that] we had the wrong strategy to fight it. Where I parted from those leaders [at the Pentagon] is when we knew the facts — and the facts were pretty evident in 2005 and compelling in 2006 — and those facts were simply that we could not protect the population and the levels of violence were just out of control.”
In late 2006, after the midterm election debacle for Republicans, pressure rose for a quick if dishonorable exit from Iraq. Gen. Keane met Frederick Kagan, who was putting together a report on an alternative strategy for Iraq at the American Enterprise Institute. On Dec. 11, both men found themselves at the White House to push the plan. Congress, the Joint Chiefs, Iraq commander Gen. George Casey and the Iraq Study Group all wanted a fast drawdown. President Bush ignored their advice. Gen. Petraeus was sent out in February to oversee the new, risky and politically unpopular surge.
Even Gen. Keane didn’t expect the new strategy to work so fast. “It’s a stunning turnaround, and I think people will study it for years because it’s unparalleled in counterinsurgency practice,” he says. “All the gains we’ve achieved against al Qaeda, the Sunni insurgency, the Iranians in the south are sustainable” — a slight pause here — “if we’re smart about it and not let them regroup and get back into it.”
The second is Ralph Peters’ excellent commentary about the elitist sneers directed at Sarah Palin by the media and other liberals in today’s New York Post.
I KNOW Sarah Palin, and so does my wife.
Neither of us ever actually met the governor of Alaska, but we grew up with her – in the small-town America despised by the leftwing elite.
One gal-pal classmate of my wife’s has even traveled from New York’s Finger Lakes to Alaska to hunt moose with her husband. (Got one, too.) And no, Ms. Streisand, she isn’t a redneck missing half her teeth – she’s a lawyer.
The sneering elites and their mediacrat fellow travelers just don’t get it: How on earth could anyone vote for someone who didn’t attend an Ivy League school? And having more than 1.7 children marks any woman as a rube. (If Palin had any taste, her teenage daughter would’ve had a quiet abortion in a discreet facility.)
And what kind of retro-Barbie would stay happily married to her high-school sweetheart? Ugh. She even kills animals and eats them. (The meat and fish served in the upscale bistros patronized by Obama supporters appears by magic – it didn’t really come from living things. . .)
We all know someone like Sarah and we all know families like hers… They are the heart an soul of this country, every time the media and liberal elites sneer and call her a “hick” they’re sneering at us. The truth is the smart one’s do it out of fear… They’re worried and rightly so, they’re smart enough to realize she has energized grassroots conservatives like never before. The dumb do it out arrogance, they just don’t “get” her or us.