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Gen. Petraeus gives us an Iraq report preview

We may have gotten a preview today, the anniversary of the Iraq war, of the report that Gen. David Petraeus will make to Washington early next month that will certainly play a major role in shaping the political debate over national security for the fall election.

General David Petraeus, who gave CBS interview, responds to questions during a press conference in Baghdad with Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker on March 17, 2008.

A key word from that preview: Caution.

Petraeus, commander of U.S. and multinational forces in Iraq, said that while military progress has been made with a “surge” of U.S. forces, "progress in Iraq is fragile -- it is tenuous.”

"I think everybody recognizes that there has been progress in the security arena,'' the commanding general said in an interview with CBS Radio News, "but there’s no one who is doing any kind of celebration here. There is an enormous amount of hard work to be done.”

Petraeus spoke to CBS News Correspondent Cami McCormick for an interview being broadcast today and tomorrow on the CBS Radio. The general spoke on the...

same day that President Bush also addressed the war on terrorism, noting the understandable debate over the conflict but urging perseverance on the American people.

Petraeus also addressed the importance of the fight around Mosul, which Bush addressed in his anniversary speech at the Pentagon today. Operations involving U.S. and Iraqi Conventional and Special Forces are underway against Al Qaeda forces in the area. Petraeus conceded that this is "the one one province in Iraq where the level of violence has trended up over... the past six to eight months.”

And Petraeus, who was recruited for his expertise in counter-insurgency tactics, said this about the war: “You can’t kill your way out of a problem like this. You have to reconcile with some [insurgent groups] and then isolate the irreconcilables so that they can be killed, captured or run off.”

Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker are scheduled to testify before Congress in a few weeks, but the general added, "We haven't decided yet what the final recommendation will be.”

-- Mark Silva

Mark Silva is a writer for the Swamp of the Chicago Tribune's Washington Bureau.

Photo: Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

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more, and other recent indicators, like the german government sucking up to that of israel (as instanced by a speech of chancellor merkel invited to jerusalem to globally condemn iran and signal carte blanche for whatever israel's agenda might involve), seem to say that the plan to blow up by us proxy that other oil rich country in the middle east (incidentally also inhabited by millions of people) has only been put on hold, but never been abandoned.

Is the "surge" working and is Iraq a little bit safer? Perhaps, but it is a controlled and regulated kind of "peace" in the environment. Reduce the number of soldiers and things might go back to where they were in the past; meaning deaths, mayhem, and destruction. If such is the case, then the surge does not work, it only delays the inevitable unless the US wants to police Iraq for a very long time just to have an artificial peace and for Bush and Cheney to declare the invasion a "success." It is not a success by any means. Iraq is for Iraqis, period. America is an occupying force and as such can expect resistance as long as the occupation endures. The invasion was not only flawed at the outset but a failed policy in its aftermath. The rogues responsible for the debacle are still spewing out nonsense and are yet to be held accountable for the disaster, both in cost and in human lives. America has congenital liars in the persons of Bush and Cheney. Aspiring candidates for the presidency should undergo psychological and personality tests just to make sure the country does not end up with an emotionally unstable and immature person as president. The same tests should apply to the VP position or the country have a megalomaniac that it has now.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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