Kevin Drum on the Gen. Petreaus vaudeville show:
Five months ago Petraeus was guaranteeing to wavering Republicans that they'd see progress in August, precisely the month when the PR campaign was scheduled to go into high gear. Today he's issuing dire warnings about al-Qaeda hegemony and nine-dollar gas if we leave, circulating bio pages that let his staff know whether they're dealing with friend or foe among visiting congress members, and insisting repeatedly that violence is down in classified briefings where he doesn't have to publicly defend his figures.
If these don't sound like the actions of an honest broker to you, they don't to me either. They sound like elements of a campaign with one overriding purpose: to convince politicians and opinion makers that we're making progress in Iraq regardless of whether we are or not. We're only seeing the results of Petraeus's PR blitzkrieg now, but it's obviously been in the works for months and it's been a smashing success. The general has profoundly outplayed the amateurs on their home turf.
Eh, not so much, Kevin. As has been pointed out many times in the lefty bloggersphere, as well as in the TradMedia, Petraeus is blowing smoke out of his ass. And the only ones buying it are TeeVee talking heads, and the BushCo 28%:
I personally find the controversy about Iraq in Washington to be bizarre. Are they really arguing about whether the situation is improving? I mean, you have the Night of the Living Dead over there. People lack potable water, cholera has broken out even in the good areas, a third of people are hungry, a doubling of the internally displaced to at least 1.1 million, and a million pilgrims dispersed just this week by militia infighting in a supposedly safe all-Shiite area. The government has all but collapsed, with even the formerly cooperative sections of the Sunni Arab political class withdrawing in a snit (much less more Sunni Arabs being brought in from the cold). The parliament hasn't actually passed any legislation to speak of and often cannot get a quorum. Corruption is endemic. The weapons we give the Iraqi army are often sold off to the insurgency. Some of our development aid goes to them, too.
Iraq has managed to reach only three out of 18 progress benchmarks set by the US, a draft of a key report seen by the Washington Post newspaper says.
The reported findings of the Government Accountability Office - a Congressional watchdog - contrast with a White House study saying eight goals have been met.
That's just 2 examples, one from a 'responsible' blogger, one from a TradMedia outlet doing an honest job.
Some call it Kabuki, others call it flim-flam. Others call it for what it is: