“The United States has spent $19.2 billion trying to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, the GAO said, including at least $2.8 billion to buy and deliver equipment. But the GAO said weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005, when security training was led by Gen. David H. Petraeus, who now commands all U.S. forces in Iraq.” — from this article
The whole worshipful cult of Petraeus, as the Great Uniformed Hope, is utterly misplaced. It is he who seems to take seriously, or perhaps even originated, the utterly unhelpful idea that “in general, insurgencies last ten years.” This is a pointless, even silly, notion, for it ignores the nature of insurgencies. When they are directed at, say, a colonial power (the MauMau), or against the local government because of its perceived injustice (the Greek Communists), and there are ways to satisfy demands at the same time that military defeat is inflicted, then insurgencies may last ten years. Jomo Kenyatta came to power — in other words, the English gave up. In Greece there was, presumably, some attention to winning the hearts and minds of the impoverished who might be most vulnerable to Communist propaganda. But in Iraq there is not one insurgency, but many, and while they are all conducted by various groups of Muslims against each other, they are also — to varying degrees depending only on what temporary use they may have for the Infidel Americans — all hostile, permanently hostile (temporary smiles and wiles are transparent, or should be) to the Infidels.
What would you think of me if I were to write an article, or promote a doctrine, in which it was maintained that “in general, civil wars last 6.7 years”? A pointless, silly notion, isn’t it? You would make fun of me for such a thing. You would say, that such a statistic has no ability to help us in a particular situation. Why then do we applaud Petraeus, whose previous term as a supposedly successful “trainer” of Iraqi forces did not train up a great many loyal, true-blue Iraqis? Nor did the area he supposedly pacified remain pacified.
Of course he is of thoughtful mien. Of course he is very brave, and not only brave but mediagenic. But so what? Someone who starts using the pronoun “we” to include Americans and Iraqis as one group, with identical interests is not someone whose thoughtful demeanor and bravery (shot in the stomach in an accident during training, insisting on going right back to active duty as soon as he could, etc.) should cause us, however desperate we are for a hero on a horse, some General Beranger, to put Petraeus on a pedestal or pediment. Infidels and Muslims do not have, anywhere, identical interests. Furthermore, he has continued to think that “hearts and minds” matter.
Furthermore, he has not dropped any hints that he understands that the larger Jihad will not be affected in the slightest by bringing some kind of temporary harmony to Iraq. The larger Jihad is the one which consists of all the local Jihads (which cannot be reduced to merely “local” and “non-Islamic promptings, as either he, or possibly Kilcullen, or possibly both, seem to think). It is the one that relies mainly on the Money Weapon, and campaigns of Da’wa, and demographic conquest, and whose theatre is now Western Europe.
It would be far better to let Iraq be a source of constant internal strife within the Camp of Islam and Jihad. But how can a general possibly turn himself into a real strategist, a Halford Mackinder, who sees just how trivial Iraq is in the larger scheme of things? His entire effort is spent in fulfilling this or that task. He does not see beyond that hideously difficult task to ponder why the task itself, and its fulfillment, makes no larger strategic sense. Iraq is trivial except as a place where American lives, and money, and war materiel, have been and are being squandered for all the wrong reasons. They are being squandered for a policy based on a lack of understanding of the forces at play in Iraq and potentially outside Iraq. Most of all, there is a lack of understanding by most of those who love Bush and by most of those who hate him, of Islam: its texts, its tenets, its attitudes, its atmospherics, that guarantee that there will never be a settlement between Sunnis and Shi’a in Iraq that will look anything like what Infidels would think is possible. That is, there will never be a settlement that people of reason might arrive at — people who are used to compromise and who are not schooled up in a victor/vanquished view of the universe as are Muslims, with the victors being the Believers, and the vanquished being the Infidels. That attitude carries over to the Sunni view of Shi’a and, to some extent, vice-versa.
It won’t happen in Iraq. And if it did, it would be of no help in weakening the Camp of Jihad.
Does Petraeus even think in such terms? Has he realized what the demographic conquest of Western Europe would mean — first for a change in foreign policy, then to the weaponry of NATO, and then to the very nature of the societies that form, along with North America, the heart of the West?
Does he? Or is he merely a general? Because this war is too important to be left to mere generals. Even quiet, mediagenic generals such as David Petraeus.