Skip to comments.Time's Person of the Year (Reinhard)
Posted on 12/23/2007 9:35:47 AM PST by jazusamo
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Here's one reason Time should have named Gen. David Petraeus its Person of the Year. In fact, here are 70 reasons:
Seventy senators voted last Tuesday to provide $70 billion more to fund the Iraq War, and the latest cash came free and clear. No timetable for withdrawal. No deadlines. No strings attached.
Who would have thought this possible a year ago? Or a half-year ago? Surely not the Iraq Study Group, which wanted a staged withdrawal. Surely not the nation's media-cracy, which had decided Iraq's "civil war" was "lost." Surely, not Democrats, who'd taken control of Congress and wanted out of Iraq. Surely, not their sunshine Republican allies, who wanted either to play commander-in-chief or buck up their 2008 election prospects. If President Bush wouldn't declare defeat and bring the troops home, Congress would defund the war by hook or by crook.
How to explain last Tuesday's 70-30 vote? One man and the troops he would represent if he had been named Person of the Year: Petraeus, the architect, implementer and public face of a surge and counter-insurgency strategy that's pacified Baghdad, Anbar province and, apparently, even Washington, D.C.
Time Person of the Year Vladimir Putin has had an big impact on Russia and the world. But is it greater than the surging Petraeus' impact on Baghdad and the U.S. political world? That's by no means clear, but let's assume their impacts are equal. Shouldn't a tie go to the U.S. general? After all, Putin's doing something that comes easily to Moscow strongmen -- consolidating power, centralizing authority, crushing dissent, liquidating enemies of the state and looking out for the interests of Mother Russia. Time "Man of the Year"? Old Joe Stalin's been there, done all that.
Petraeus is achieving something new and positive that our smart set deemed impossible last January: defeating an insurgency and giving Iraqis a chance to establish a functioning, representative government that provides a Mideast level of security for its people.
Obviously, there's a way to go. The fact is, success won't be clear until long after the bulk of our forces have come home. But consider where we were last year at this time. Former war supporters were set to negotiate the terms of our surrender. Even one-last-chance supporters of the surge were not sure the additional troops, changed rules of engagement and Petraeus' counterinsurgency strategy would work. The surge simply beat the "All is lost!" alternatives and "This will never work!" certitudes.
Go no further than the Time archives. Columnist Joe Klein wrote that "it is possible that the situation is beyond salvage." His conclusion: "The U.S. military campaign to stabilize Iraq has failed. We have lost control of Anbar province, the Sunni stronghold. We are losing the battle for Baghdad."
In another column, his conclusion was even grander: "The United States has lost the war in Iraq."
The only course, Time's Michael Duffy reported, was "an exit strategy from Iraq that can salvage U.S. prestige and avoid turning the civil war into an even wider and more violent catastrophe."
Petraeus' surge? Klein wrote that "it probably won't" work. Not enough troops, and the ones he'll have are tired, overextended and not trained to the counterinsurgency task at hand. No credible indigenous government needed to counter an insurgency ("The idea that Nouri al-Maliki's government is responsible is laughable: it's little more than a fig leaf for Shiite militias.") Besides, Klein continued, "this is no longer an insurgency; it's a civil war."
And today? Attacks in Baghdad have fallen almost 80 percent since November 2006. Murders are down by 90 percent, and car-bombings by 70 percent. The Anbar province is no longer "lost." Even Democratic Rep. John Murtha, chairman of the House Appropriations' defense subcommittee, deigns to say the surge is working.
Again, there's more work to do, and its not just Petraeus and our troops who are doing the work. Here's a headline from Thursday's Guardian in England: "A surge of their own: Iraqis take back the streets." It topped a story about Sunnis and Shias joining "concerned local citizens" security patrols. "Though life in Baghdad is still far from normal, and the security situation still perilous," Michael Howard reported, "the capital's remarkably resilient population has begun to believe that the momentum for peace may be sustainable if it is left up to ordinary citizens."
Reason No. 71 (and counting) why Gen. David Petraeus should have been Time's "Person of the Year."
David Reinhard, associate editor, can be reached at 503-221-8152 or davidreinhard@ news.oregonian.com.
Surprised to see this from an Oregon newspaper.
I guess it is the old saying that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
He’s the token conservative.
Merry Christmas to Our Troops
Yes, especially The Oregonian. David Reinhard is the only conservative voice there.
Times Man Of The Year for 1938 was Adolph Hitler, and for 1939 it was Joseph Stalin. While most of the time “good” people get the nod, it seems this year they again chose a bad guy. I think people too often think the MOY is an honor, but that ain’t necessarily so.
Seems like a majority of the country thinks Petraeus should have been Person of the Year. If Time had any scruples (and we know they don’t), they’d rethink their decision and make it right.
They have conservatives in Oregon? Who knew?
We are actually on the Endangered Species List out here.
Merry Christmas to Our Freedom Fighters
Anyone who travels ten miles out of Portland.
OR is not just the Peoples Republic of Portland, just like WA isnt the enclave of Seattle, etc...
“... resilient population has begun to believe that the momentum for peace may be sustainable, if it is left up to ordinary citizens.”
I believe this sentence is what the surge was all about.
I agree and believe that’s been the strategy of Gen. Petraeus for the last several years. It started with his brilliant handling of the problems in Mosul.
After more than 30 years of Saddam’s horrible rule over them .. it would naturally take a little time to convince “the people of Iraq” that it was THEIR country and they would have to stand up and participate in governing it, in order to restore the country to “the people”.
It seems Petreaus understood this better than anyone else.
Thanks for the heads up. Okay to use it as a bird cage liner?
If Time would have made Gen. David Petraeus their man of the year, half of their subsribers would have canceled.
But maybe I and others would have signed up for a subscription in that case...
Sad but true. Pray for peace. Wish you and all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year., Warm Regards.