Skip to comments.General Petraeus' Thirty Years War
Posted on 05/05/2010 1:58:41 AM PDT by Palter
Memo to heads of state: beware the clever general who turns up at a tough moment, and says "Leave it to me: I can fix it for you." Two examples come to mind. The great field marshal of the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648, Albrecht von Wallenstein, taught armies to live off the land, and succeeded so well that nearly half the people of Central Europe starved to death during the conflict.
General David Petraeus, who heads America's Central Command (CENTCOM), taught the land to live off him. Petraeus' putative success in the Iraq "surge" of 2007-2008 is one of the weirder cases of Karl Marx's quip of history repeating itself first as tragedy second as farce. The consequences will be similar, that is, hideous.
Wallenstein put 100,000 men into the field, an army of terrifying size for the times, by turning the imperial army into a parasite that consumed the livelihood of the empire's home provinces. The Austrian Empire fired him in 1629 after five years of depredation, but pressed him back into service in 1631. Those who were left alive joined the army, in a self-feeding spiral of destruction on a scale not seen in Europe since the 8th century. Wallenstein's power grew with the implosion of civil society, and the Austrian emperor had him murdered in 1634.
Petraeus accomplished the same thing with (literally) bags of money. Starting with Iraq, the American military has militarized large parts of the Middle East and Central Asia in the name of pacification. And now America is engaged in a grand strategic withdrawal from responsibility in the region, leaving behind men with weapons and excellent reason to use them.
(Excerpt) Read more at atimes.com ...
General David Petraeus is a hero who took over when we were not winning and has done some amazing things.
I’ve heard rumors lately that he may run for political office, hence the hit piece.
If you read the carp at the link it turns into an anti-Isreal piece as well.
Pshaw. Harrumph. Such puffery I have not read on a fortnight.
I think I’ve already reached my daily limit for moonbat ingest. I’ll skip it.
If you hadn’t before reading it then it would put you over the limit very quickly.
Very twisted reasoning
The author criticizes the US policy of providing weapons to the Palestinian "police" militias, because he fears that the Palestinian "police" will just use the weapons to fight the Israelis.
I also oppose giving weapons to the Palestinians, and for the same reason.
(Well, that, and the fact that I oppose all Foreign Aid, anyway).
LOL -- just as well, since Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are dead.
That plus the pseudonym suggests the author's real name probably sounds something like "Ali Baksheesh bin Queef al-Poof", or maybe "Omar the Child-Seller".
I see. Saddam Hussein and his army were like british bobbies and didn’t carry weapons or kill people.
Or maybe David P. Goldman -- senior editor of First Things, the Roman Catholic philosophical magazine.
And if you read the article, his comments are pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian.
Some criticisms of US Foreign Policy do make good sense. Like when "Spengler" writes (here I paraphrase), "We shouldn't be giving weapons to the Palestinians, they'll just use them to fight the Israelis". Makes sense to me.
Here’s a bit of background on the author:
General “I can run with the men” Petraeus is just one more PC Flag Officers for whom “Victory” is not an Option..
Pretending the US has enjoyed a strategic success in Iraq is delusional at best.
With 200,000 Chaldean Christians fleeing Iraq to places like Syria to avoid murder, robbery, kidnapping and rape to pretend the Shia Dominated Government of Iraq is any sort of model for anything but a failed US Strategy is dishonest.
On the leadership side of the house.
“Do you think soldiers on the ground in the field care one way or the other if their comrade in arms are gay or lesbian?” asked NBC’s David Gregory.
“I’m not sure that they do. We’ll see,” replied Petraeus.
“I know, I served, in fact, in combat with individuals who were gay and who were lesbian in combat situations. Frankly, you know, over time you said, hey, how’s this guy shooting or how is her analysis or what have you?” explained Petraeus.”
Read the bio..
It appears he was a Major General at the time and by his own words he seems to have knowing allowed Homosexuals to serve on his staff.
Are you sure he wrote it? That the pseudonym is his?
It's easy to forget, if you don't know the author is a Catholic, that Catholics like John McLaughlin (and sometimes Wm. F. Buckley) have been critics of U.S. policy on very Catholic "just war theory" grounds.
If one is not aware that the bashing is being administered by a "just war" theorist, or a faithful Catholic defender of that doctrine, one might take the hostility toward U.S. policy to have arisen from enthusiasm for either Palis, or Leftism.
That the pseudonym is his?
It's easy to forget, if you don't know the author is a Catholic, that Catholics like John McLaughlin (and sometimes Wm. F. Buckley) have been critics of U.S. policy on very Catholic "just war theory" grounds. If one is not aware that the bashing is being administered by a "just war" theorist, or a faithful Catholic defender of that doctrine, one might take the hostility toward U.S. policy to have arisen from enthusiasm for either Palis, or Leftism.
Goldman is indeed critical of US Foreign Policy in this article; but, "we shouldn't be giving weapons to the Palestinians because they'll just use them to kill Israelis", doesn't sound to me like he's very enthusiastic towards the Palis.
More of the usual ignorant drivel from the Chi com mouthpieces at Asia Times
Just War Doctrine.
The reason for going to war needs to be just and cannot therefore be solely for recapturing things taken or punishing people who have done wrong; innocent life must be in imminent danger and intervention must be to protect life. A contemporary view of just cause was expressed in 1993 when the US Catholic Conference said: "Force may be used only to correct a grave, public evil, i.e., aggression or massive violation of the basic human rights of whole populations."
While there may be rights and wrongs on all sides of a conflict, to override the presumption against the use of force, the injustice suffered by one party must significantly outweigh that suffered by the other. Some theorists such as Brian Orend omit this term, seeing it as fertile ground for exploitation by bellicose regimes. Legitimate authority
Only duly constituted public authorities may wage war. Right intention
Force may be used only in a truly just cause and solely for that purposecorrecting a suffered wrong is considered a right intention, while material gain or maintaining economies is not.
Probability of success
Arms may not be used in a futile cause or in a case where disproportionate measures are required to achieve success;
Force may be used only after all peaceful and viable alternatives have been seriously tried and exhausted or are clearly not practical. It may be clear that the other side is using negotiations as a delaying tactic and will not make meaningful concessions. Proportionality
Nice you have feelings, please quit confusing your feelings for facts.
Your opinion here is 100% wrong. Pretending you have the slightest hint of what constitutes "Strategic success" for the US is delusional at best.
One of the really infuriating things in modern politics is the level of disinformation, misinformation, demagoguery and out right lying going on about the mission in Iraq. Democrats have spent the last 3+ years lying about Iraq out of a political calculation. The assumption is that the natural isolationist mindset of the average American voter, linked to the inherent Anti Americanism (what is misnamed the "Anti War movement") of the more feverish Democrat activists (especially those running the US's National "News" media) would restore them to national political dominance. The truth is the Democrat Party Leadership has simply lacked the courage to speak truth to whiners. The truth is that even if Al Gore won the 2000 election and 09-11 still happened we would be doing the EXACT same things in Iraq we are doing now.
Based on the political situation in the region left over from the 1991 Gulf War plus the domestic political consensus built up in BOTH parties since 1991 as well as fundamental military strategic laws, there was NO viable strategic choice for the US but to take out Iraq after finishing the initial operations in Afghanistan.
To start with Saddam's Iraq was our most immediate threat. We could NOT commit significant military forces to another battle with Saddam hovering undefeated on our flank nor could we leave significant forces watching Saddam. The political containment of Iraq was breaking down. That what Oil for Food was all about. Oil for Food was an attempt by Iraq to break out of it's diplomatic isolation and slip the shackles the UN Sanctions put on it's military. There there was the US Strategic position to consider.
The War on Islamic Fascism is different sort of war. in facing this Asymmetrical threat, we have a hidden foe, spread out across a geographically diverse area, with covert sources of supply. Since we cannot go everywhere they hide out, in fact often cannot even locate them until the engage us, we need to draw them out of hiding into a kill zone.
Iraq is that kill zone. That is the true brilliance of the Iraq strategy. We draw the terrorists out of their world wide hiding places onto a battlefield they have to fight on for political reasons (The "Holy" soil of the Arabian peninsula) where they have to pit their weakest ability (Conventional Military combat power) against our greatest strength (ability to call down unbelievable amounts of firepower) where they will primarily have to fight other forces (the Iraqi Security forces) in a battlefield that is mostly neutral in terms of guerrilla warfare. (Iraqi-mostly open terrain as opposed to guerrilla friendly areas like the mountains of Afghanistan or the jungles of SE Asia).
Did any of the critics of liberating Iraq ever look at a map? Iraq, for which we had the political, legal and moral justifications to attack, is the strategic high ground of the Middle East. A Geographic barrier that severs ground communication between Iran and Syria apart as well as providing another front of attack in either state or into Saudi Arabia if needed.
There were other reasons to do Iraq but here is the strategic military reason we are in Iraq. We have taken, an maintain the initiative from the Terrorists. They are playing OUR game on ground of OUR choosing.
Problem is Counter Insurgency is SLOW and painful. Often a case of 3 steps forward, two steps back. One has to wonder if the American people have either the emotional maturity, nor the intellect" to understand. It's so much easier to spew made for TV slogans like "No Blood for Oil" or "We support the Troops, bring them home" or dumbest of all "We are creating terrorists" then to actually THINK.
Westerners in general, and the US citizens in particular seem to have trouble grasping the fundamental fact of this foe. These Islamic Fascists have NO desire to co-exist with them. The extremists see all this PC posturing by the Hysteric Left as a sign that we are weak. Since they want us dead, weakness encourages them. There is simply no way to coexist with people who completely believe their "god" will reward them for killing us.
So we can covert to Islam, die or kill them. Iraq is about killing enough of them to make the rest of the Jihadists realize we are serious. They same way killing enough Germans, Italians and Japanese eliminated the ideologies of Nazism, Fascism and Bushido.
Americans need to understand how Bin Laden and his ilk view us. In the Arab world the USA is considered a big wimp. We have run away so many times. Lebanon, the Kurds, the Iraqis in 1991, the Iranians, Somalia, Clinton all thru the 1990s etc etc etc. The Jihadists think we will run again. In fact they are counting on it. That way they can run around screaming "We beat the American just like the Russians, come join us in Jihad" and recruit the next round of "holy warriors". Iraq is also a show place where we show the Muslim world that there are a lines they cannot cross. On 9-11-01 they crossed that line and we can, and will, destroy them for it -
If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."
Meaning no disrespect, but it seems that some of the posters on this thread are perhaps a little ignorant of the article under discussion.
Look, I'll summarize:
I'd think that on Free Republic, an article suggesting that "Militarily Arming a bunch of Muslims is a Bad Idea", would be given more careful reading and more thoughtful analysis. Yes, he's criticizing US Middle Eastern policy. Boo-Hoo. But is he making a valid point, in the areas he criticizes?
For myself, I'm going to go out on a limb and say this: I agree with the author of this article. We should not be arming the Palestinian "police" militias. These weapons will eventually be turned on Israel.
There -- now I've taken a stand, pertinent to the article posted at the top of the thread, for your consideration. Would you care to agree, or disagree?
And one can still vehemently disagree with them.;-)
First, I am not Catholic but Jewish. First Things is not Catholic (although its founder was Catholic) but ecumenical.
Second, I support Just War doctrine. I supported the invasion of Iraq but thought it stupid to take responsibility for nation-building in Iraq. We should have put in our own strongman and withdrawn most of our forces.
Third, Petraeus solved Bush’s problem in Iraq brilliantly, but at the cost of creating an effective Sunni armed force, which will create trouble in the future.
The whole nation-building thing was a very risky process, but if you do pull it off the dividends can be very long-lasting. Kenya and India come to mind. Whether Iraq will turn out that way we cannot know yet. But I'd submit the historical record suggests that if you do pull it off, it's longer-lasting than any strongman and quite a bit better for the population of the country it's done with. Personally I admire Bush for sticking to that after the staff who came up with it started to peel off. YMMV.
No doubt he received the AEI invite prior to his statement to the committee.
You need to work on your reading comprehension skills. David Goldman, aka Spengler, is anything by anti-Israel.
Sure sport, I’ll get right on that.
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