Friday, April 27, 2007

The YouTube General

"Petraeus Reports on Iraq
by Jed Babbin (More by this author)

Posted: 04/27/2007
The Iraq war has come down to a decentralized fight against clan or family-based terror networks supplied by Iran and Syria, against which more and more Iraqis are willing to fight, according to the description given by Gen. David Petraeus in a Thursday interview. This was the first time I’d met with Petraeus since he left to take command in Iraq earlier this year.


The latest news from Iraq is mixed and the good seems to weigh as heavily as the bad. Petraeus said that the rate of sectarian murders in the Baghdad area had been reduced by two-thirds since January 2007. However, this success seems to have driven the terror networks to work harder at achieving mass casualties which they have in a number of horrific bombings. But those bombings seem to be making more mileage in the US media and Congress for al-Queda than in Iraq. Al-Queda’s indiscriminate attacks on Iraqi civilians is creating a backlash of support for the government forces. (That does not equate to support for the Baghdad government) In some of what had been the most insurgent-sympathetic areas, such as Anbar province, Sunni Iraqis are now rebelling against al-Queda by volunteering to join the Iraqi security forces. In Western Nineveh province, local sheiks want their people in the Iraqi Third Division and in Diyala, sheiks “of all tribes” are pushing their people to join the fight against al-Queda. This adds up to a trend toward success in the classical counterinsurgency fight. But is the trend sustainable? No one can say yet.


Case in point: David Petraeus is our first “YouTube” general. Go to the website for Multinational Force Iraq and you’ll find this link ( to the MNFI “you tube” page. Why is this there? Because for every snuff flick the terrorists use to recruit (showing their bravery in hacking off some handcuffed hostage’s head) there should be one showing the good guys winning. Petraeus gets it. Forget psychobabble about “hearts and minds.” Petraeus understands laptops and IPods. This guy gets it."


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