Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Does Senator Warner Read Blogs

The big money quote from General Petraeus' testimony before the Senate was when he admitted under questioning from Senator Warner that he was not sure that the strategy being used in Iraq is keeping America safe.

Warner broached the question by first noting the increasing casualties and strain on the American military due to the war in Iraq, and then asking if the General considered America to be safe under the strategy that Petraeus was defending. Petraeus initially tried to duck the question, but Warner roped him back to the topic which led to the news of the day.

Call me a conspiracy nut... but I can't help but note that Andrew Sullivans blog The Daily Dish noted a brief post on the History News Network which seemed to tie in very nicely with Warners question. Let me take the liberty of copying and pasting the entire post in question. Keep in mind that the following was posted to HNN just after 7pm last night.
"The Vietnam experience left the military leadership feeling that they should advise against involvement in counterinsurgencies unless specific, perhaps unlikely, circumstances obtain -- i.e. domestic public support, the promise of a quick campaign, and freedom to employ whatever force is necessary to achieve rapid victory. In light of such criteria, committing U.S. units to counterinsurgencies appears to be a very problematic proposition, difficult to conclude before domestic support erodes and costly enough to threaten the well-being of all America's military forces (and hence the country's national security), not just those involved in the actual counterinsurgency," - David Howell Petraeus, The American Military and the Lessons of Vietnam: A study of military influence and the use of force in the post-Vietnam era. PhD Dissertation, Princeton University, 1987. Page 305.
Warners remembrance of the casualties and strain on military families was true enough, but the meat of the question "is America safer due to the strategy proposed by Petraeus" is well and truly answered by Petraeus himself in his own diseratation to Princeton in the late 80's. And that answer is an unqualified no.

Which leaves me wondering... is there any chance that Warner was clued into this contradiction before he popped that particular question to the General? Or am I just reading too much into a coincidence?

Lol, I think you're reading too much into it.

Warner is a military guy. Military people don't want to shed the blood of our troops needlessly. Asking to cut funding etc.sends a negative message and endangers our troops. Staying the course continues a situation where we lose soldiers. Neither is acceptable and he and others have been between a rock and a hard place for too long. All sorts of pressure. What can you do?

I'm glad he framed the question that way. In some way I believe the good General was relieved at being cornered.

Really, it is the question that was always asked. The difference is once we went from invasion to occupation/counter-insurgency and once Saddam was toppled and Iraq secured, the risk/reward scale tipped too far in the wrong direction.

Sen. John Warner (R)- Va. has announced that he won't run for office again. He feels he has what it takes to continue on but, isn't sure his general health as he ages would make another full senate term a feasible idea. I'm sad to see him go but, I understand.

Perhaps knowing he will not be running again gives him the courage needed to force the risk/reward question to be newly analyzed.

Warner has always been a steadfast supporter of the military. I believe that he is continuing to support our troops by now forcing this issue. I also believe that General Petraeus is a good man that also cares about our military service men and women. If we are forced to continue the course, I am sure he at least wants it to be executed in the best possible manner.

I agree with Warner saying that Petraeus should not stray too far into politics with this issue. That said, I also think our politicians should take the politics out of this military operation and just stick to making decisions to assure the best outcome for us and the troops. Blindly "Staying the course" or blindly attacking Petraeus for a hope at political gain serves none of us well.
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