Friday, September 07, 2007

In the General's Words

Yesterday was retired generals and admirals day on Capitol Hill. The Jones Commission, named for its leader, General James Jones, USMC (Ret.) presented its findings to the Armed Services Committees of each House, and separately a Joint Hearing of the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Armed Services took testimony from Major General John Batiste, USA (Ret.)

Most of the media attention fell on the Jones Commission simply because of its size an mandate to look at both the Iraqi army and Iraqi police. But General Batiste’s evaluation deserves to be scrutinized for what is said and not said. So, a few excerpts “in the General’s words”:

“A successful national strategy in Iraq is akin to a four legged stool with legs representing diplomacy, political reconciliation, economic recovery, and the military…. The only leg on the stool of any consequence today is the military….”

“Most Americans now appreciate that the military alone cannot solve the problems in Iraq. The administration failed to call the nation to action in the wake of 9-11, is now virtually dependent on the military leg of the stool to accomplish the mission, and has yet to frame the solutions in Iraq within the broader context of the region, to include Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Syria, and Jordan. In this situation, the stool will surely collapse.”

“The perceived successes in Iraq today are taken out of context and overstated at best.”

“What American desperately needs now is a diplomatic framework defined by an ever expanding global alliance of equals--disciplined diplomacy based on a vision that is focused on long-term objectives.”

“We must come to grips with the notion that the coalition can not resolve sectarian differences by training and equipping combatant formations. Rather, it is time to announce a redeployment and reposition of forces and to place the onus on Iraqi’s to come up with Iraqi solutions.”

You might want to save this and compare these points with the next general’s report -- that of General David Petraeus on September 10.

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