'He had vowed to kill a hundred Mahdi men'
If you read only one story on Iraq this month, make it this one
. The surge is working better than expected in the short-term. But the long-term prospect for Iraq is grim if Shiites and Sunnis don't overcome a centuries-old culture of tribal, family and sectarian revenge. The collective mindset of Karim, Amar and Amar's mom is as chilling as it gets. Read it. ...
... Gen. David H. Petraeus, who deserves enormous credit for what he's accomplished in Iraq, no matter what the long-term outcome, has been given the unprecedented opportunity
to select the next generation of U.S. Army generals. Putting aside justified criticism of President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld's gross mismanagement of the war, the Army's flat-out refusal to study counterinsurgency tactics and strategies after Vietnam is unpardonable. The military needs more than just a Powell Doctrine. It needs many different doctrines for many different war scenarios. It needs generals who understand this. As the story shows, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gets it:
Gates also stressed that the Army must retain lessons on irregular warfare from Iraq and Afghanistan -- lessons he said were learned but lost after the Vietnam War.Update - 11.19.07
"All these so-called 'nontraditional' capabilities have moved into the mainstream of military thinking, planning and strategy -- where they must stay," he said.
-- A reader
over at Andrew Sullivan's site thinks the New Yorker article is too pessimistic. I hope the reader is right. But I think pessimism/caution is in order. No less than Gen. Petraeus has warned that recent military successes won't amount to much if they aren't matched by political successes in Iraq. I don't see that happening -- yet.