Archive for Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Writer outlines Petraeus’ influence

General knew how to change course, author says at KU

December 3, 2008


When Gen. David Petraeus took over as multinational forces commander in Iraq in 2007, many top American military leaders knew a major strategy change was needed.

Iraq was in the throes of a Civil War between Sunni and Shiite elements, and al-Qaida was trying to impose draconian controls, according to Linda Robinson, author of a book about Petraeus.

“By the end of 2006, it was clear there was going to be a change,” Robinson said during an appearance in front of nearly 100 people Tuesday night at Kansas University’s Dole Institute of Politics.

Robinson, currently an author in residence at the Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, wrote “Tell Me How This Ends: General David Petraeus and the Search for a Way Out of Iraq.”

She discussed Petraeus and the war during a discussion with Bill Lacy, Dole Institute director.

Petraeus, who had already served two tours in Iraq, led the effort that rewrote the Army’s counterinsurgency manual while he was the commander at Fort Leavenworth.

Methods in the manual were instituted when he took over command in Iraq.

When he got to Iraq, he formed a strategic group to study the causes of Iraqi conflicts and determine what could be done, Robinson said.

“He’s willing to adjust course,” Robinson said about Petraeus. “He’s built a brain trust wherever he’s always gone.”

The U.S. counterinsurgency plan included getting battalion commanders to mix with Iraqi community leaders and placed companies and platoons into neighborhood outposts, Robinson said. Blast walls were built around some neighborhoods to protect civilians from car bombs.

“This was an extraordinary thing. It had never been done before,” she said.

The new strategy worked. Sunni insurgents by the tens of thousands began working with the U.S.

Robinson, who reported on national security and international issues for U.S. News & World Report and was senior editor at Foreign Affairs Magazine, sees the military role in Iraq now as peacekeeping and developing a more professional Iraqi force.

“It’s not a military challenge now, it’s a political one,” she said. “What we have now is the opportunity to bring this to a soft landing.”


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 3 months ago

In other words, he exploited the ethnic cleansing and factionalization within Iraq. That doesn't solve the problem of over 4 million refugees created by this war, and does nothing to create a good climate for a unified national government. At least it's better than all-out civil war, although that could easily return, especially if US payments to former Sunni insurgents stop.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 3 months ago

Why did I just know that bozo would be the first poster on this thread?

gdsacco 9 years, 3 months ago

Bozo, he also failed to arrest global warming.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 3 months ago

I knew that snap's comment would be about me, and not the story.

jaywalker 9 years, 3 months ago

Snap, .......'cuz the sky is blue, water's wet, and ....well, you get the point."That doesn't solve the problem of over 4 million refugees created by this war, and does nothing to create a good climate for a unified national government"Right! Stupid Petraeus. Where's the initiative? He didn't cure cancer either, what a waste of time.Apart from the ludicrous, Petraeus is a brilliant military man who's strategies saved countless lives and brought us to the point where we can withdraw without leaving utter chaos in the wake. His assignment was one of the few smart moves in the midst of a major SNAFU. And while his job was never to "create a good climate for a unified government", it's certainly a possiblility now when it wasn't before, and that's due to him and our troops.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 3 months ago

What's your career, mike? Figuring out the careers of other posters on this forum?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 3 months ago

Petraeus made the best of a bad situation, but make no mistake, it's still very bad. BushCo smashed Humpty Dumpty (Iraq,) and it's the height of wishful thinking to assert that Petraeus has put the pieces back together again.

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