It is only an aside, but it sums up why George Bush was so keen to make General David H Petraeus his messenger.
The New York Times reports that the general’s Iraq “progress” report had been expected to provoke an epic confrontation between opponents of the war and its front-line leaders.
“But that conflict did not fully materialize Monday,” it stated. “In part because only a few Democrats on two House committees seemed inclined to dispute with much vigor the assessments provided by a commander with medals on his chest and four stars on his shoulders.”
Opposition politicians in the United States – and, in the UK, for that matter – let the people down before the invasion. We should not be surprised if they do it again, dazzled as they are by medals and stars.
Believe it or not, his new publication, The US Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, is available on Amazon.
I’m not encouraging you to buy it, you understand. But you can read a review in the Morning Star (August 24, 2007).
One of the key messages is that we stop calling places where people are shot at, maimed and killed “battlefields”. It’s not nice.
“In a conflict among the people, terms like ‘battlefield’ influence perceptions and confuse the critical nature of a synchronised approach,” says the general. “Refrain from referring to and considering the area of operations as a ‘battlefield’ or it may continue to be one.”
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