I'm inclined to give Gen. Petraeus
the extra few months (and that's all we're really talking about) to let the surge's modest successes solidify in Iraq. But it's clear everyone's on the same approximate page now: the retreat starts next year. ... The president can call it what he wants. ... Even Charles
, who chides 'political Washington' for noticing the gains in Anbar six months late, acknowledges four-years late that current woes were "exacerbated by post-invasion U.S. strategic errors (most important, eschewing a heavy footprint, not forcibly suppressing the early looting and letting Moqtada al-Sadr escape with his life in August 2004)..." Of course his primary criticism is aimed at Iraqis, not those who failed to anticipate and plan for post-invasion sectarian strife. ...Update
-- OK, I stand corrected: Charles was three years late
, not four, though he was still downplaying the troop-level issue even last year (pre-surge, needless to say). ... Out of curiousity, I looked up what Charles had to say about the 2003 looting in 2003. Not pretty.
... Here's a gem
: a conservative site in 2003 denouncing ABC's coverage of the looting and an ABC reporter's prediction it would hurt us. Extra bonus point: Criticism of a reporter's suggestion in the spring of 2003 that we hadn't yet won the peace. ... FYI: I'm not mocking people for being wrong per se. Hell, I supported the war, if grudgingly (see archives at right). But here we are on the edge of a Vietnam-like disaster (the president's analogy, not mine) and you can only wonder what might have been had more conservatives earlier criticized the administration's obvious bumbling of the occupation. Bloggers and pundits like to brag they took down Trent Lott. They should have also moved to take down Donald Rumsfeld, who ultimately got the boot for political reasons (post-2006 election results) and not military reasons (inept management). But, no, it was more important for some on the right to shadow box the left and the media. ... Just ranting. The situation in Iraq is sad and frustrating. ...