Patraeus’ Descent Begins

Former General Colin Powell was at one time a rising star in the national political sphere. With wartime credentials and a prominent spot in the Republican party, many respected the one time General causing some pundits to believe that should he just throw his hat in the ring, he would easily rise to the America’s first black president.

Shoving off any speculation that he would run, Powell’s highest office became Secretary of State, appointed by President George W. Bush. Things still looked good for the retired General, lending a credibility that the administration would otherwise be hard pressed to provide. This, as we now know, all changed very quickly.

With his address to the UN making the case for the war in Iraq, Colin’s credibility quickly eroded over time as the fabrication of said case became more publicized, and public approval of the war likewise spiraled lower and lower.

It was a sad fate for the one time revered Colin Powell, and at a time when history seems bent on repeating itself in rapid fashion, it should come as little surprise that the respected General Patraeus may just very well be on that same path.

Following news reports that the surge is in fact far from working both politically and militarily, General Patraeus is already out there trying to paint a rosy picture about how well the tactic is working.

If you drive around Baghdad, you’ll find astonishing signs of normalcy in perhaps half to two-thirds of the city. … In fact, the car bomb numbers have come down fairly steadily as well until just a couple of days ago, and we’ll see if we can get those coming down again. …
There’s a real vibrancy in certain parts of Iraq, and in others obviously there is continued fighting and a sectarian cycle of violence underway. Obviously, there is damage, a need to … help them stitch back the fabric of society that was torn during the height of the sectarian violence.

It is reminiscent of a caller on Alan Colmes last night trying desperately to countersping Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech, claiming that both the banner and the phrase, “Major combat activity has ended” only applied to the aircraft carrier itself.

In similar fashion, Patraeus can’t even say all of Baghdad is safer, but only portions, hardly a convincing image given the very fluid nature of the sectarian violence. Something like standing on a sinking ship, finding one dry part of the weather deck, and proclaiming, “I’M NOT SINKING!”

More foreboding is the similarity that this has to Generals of Vietnam who kept promising promise in Vietnam as long as we kept getting more troops. “The next couple hundred thousand will do it, I swear.” For while we are not there yet, this is exactly where we are heading as September looms ever closer, and Patraeus’ efforts in Iraq come closer and closer to being held accountable.

It will take a miracle in Iraq for public approval to swing around to make it politically feasible to continue this war, and Patraeus, like a good little Bushite, is already out there painting pictures of water being turned to wine.

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