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  1. #41
    Council Member Abu Buckwheat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    Moreover, I'd hardly categorize the SWJ as a "right-wing" blog.

    Litte error here ... I was referring to the other non-professional, personal bloggers (who actually think rational opinions make SWJ a Leftist site) not the SWJ itself.

    Heck, this is the only professional scholarly military blog of any merit and thats why I am proud to be a part of it (also because I was given the Hugo Chavez/Raul Castro Comrade's decoder ring when I joined!).

    On the other hand I acknowledge that the IO damage was done with the first story and we should whack 'em where we see 'em.

    Many of our IO mistakes in theater are so amateur as to be laughable and wiggling about on this one makes the PAO look like an offended school principle's secretary. We should acknowledge that its a superfluous debate, the facts were wrong on that report and move on.
    Putting Foot to Al Qaeda Ass Since 1993

  2. #42
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    Default Heck...

    All this talk of left and right finally made the Norwich Google ad go away (but now probably will be back since I typed Norwich) and an Obama Barak campaign ad appear. Who said big brother isn't watching ?

  3. #43
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    Hat Tip PrairiePundit (Merv Benson) - Paper Backs Off Maliki-Petraeus Row

    I think they are admitting that the earlier report was based on a rumor.
    General Petraeus Rebuts Iraq Row Claim - London Daily Telegraph (Damien McElroy)

    America's top general in Iraq yesterday quashed reports of a breakdown in his relationship with Iraq's prime minister over American support for Sunni Muslim fighters battling al-Qa'eda.

    General David Petraeus poured scorn on a claim by an Iraqi politician that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki requested his dismissal after bitter rows. "I don't know where that is coming from," Gen Petraeus said. "He and I have truly had frank conversations but he has never yelled or stood up. This is really, really hard stuff, and occasionally people agree to disagree."...

    Col Boylan said Mr Maliki had embraced the policy but dissidents were trying to throw "sand in the gearbox" with claims the two were at loggerheads.
    While exchanges between the two had been "direct," the discussions fell a long way short of Mr Maliki telling Gen Petraeus he could no longer work with him...

  4. #44
    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    My experience is that the British print media tends to be more overt with their partisanship. I have seen some things printed in Brit newspappers that make the New York Times look like the Weekly Standard. Articles like the one that started this thread seem to be par for the course for some Brit media outlets.


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  5. #45
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Uboat's correct about British media partisanship. Note, however, that the Telegraph is a Tory paper.

  6. #46
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Tequila,

    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Uboat's correct about British media partisanship. Note, however, that the Telegraph is a Tory paper.
    So? Blair and the current government in the UK are Labour, not Tory. The war in Iaq isn't popular with large segments of the British voters, and this may be seen as a chance to stick it to Labour and win the next election, especially now that Blair is gone.
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  7. #47
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Hi Tequila,



    So? Blair and the current government in the UK are Labour, not Tory. The war in Iaq isn't popular with large segments of the British voters, and this may be seen as a chance to stick it to Labour and win the next election, especially now that Blair is gone.
    Except that the Tories are also prowar.

    Most likely is that the reporter chose to report gossip as news.

  8. #48
    Council Member Nat Wilcox's Avatar
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    Is it true that Brit media are quicker on the draw with rumor and relatively unsubstantiated material?

    It would be interesting (and puzzling) if in fact true, because British libel and slander laws are apparently much more friendly to plaintifs than defendants, relative to what we find in the U.S....or at least so Geoffrey K. Pullum, a (very funny) linguist argued in a short but amazing article called The Linguistics of Defamation in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 3, 371-377.

  9. #49
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    My experience reading the Brit news media is absolutely, yes. This goes even for better publications as for the national tabloids like the Daily Mail or the Sun.

    Even the best British publications like the Financial Times and the Economist are quite open about inserting editorial slant into their news stories. That being said, the FT is still among the best papers in the world.

  10. #50
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    Default "In General Petraeus, the ghost of Creighton Abrams walks again."


  11. #51
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    Default 7 September General Petraeus Letter to Troops of MNF-I

    7 September General Petraeus Letter to Troops of MNF-I

    HEADQUARTERS
    MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE – IRAQ
    BAGHDAD, IRAQ
    APO AE 09342-1400

    7 September 2007

    Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Civilians of Multi-National Force-Iraq

    We are now over two-and-a-half months into the surge of offensive operations made possible by the surge of forces, and I want to share with you my view of how I think we’re doing. This letter is a bit longer than previous ones, since I feel you deserve a detailed description of what I believe we have – and have not – accomplished, as Ambassador Crocker and I finalize the assessment we will provide shortly to Congress.

    Up front, my sense is that we have achieved tactical momentum and wrested the initiative from our enemies in a number of areas of Iraq. The result has been progress in the security arena, although it has, as you know, been uneven. Additionally, as you all appreciate very well, innumerable tasks remain and much hard work lies ahead. We are, in short, a long way from the goal line, but we do have the ball and we are driving down the field.

    We face a situation that is exceedingly complex. Al Qaeda, associated insurgent groups, and militia extremists, some supported by Iran, continue to carry out attacks on us, our Iraqi partners, and the Iraqi civilians we seek to secure. We have to contend with the relentless pace of operations, the crushing heat, and the emotions that we all experience during long deployments and tough combat. And we operate against a backdrop of limited Iraqi government capacity, institutions trying to rebuild, and various forms of corruption. All of this takes place in a climate of distrust and fear that stems from the sectarian violence that did so much damage to the fabric of Iraqi society in 2006 and into 2007, not to mention the decades of repression under Saddam’s brutal regime. Tragically, sectarian violence continues to cause death and displacement in Baghdad and elsewhere, albeit at considerably reduced levels from 8 months ago, due, in large part, to your hard work and sacrifice together with our Iraqi counterparts.

    In spite of these challenges, our operations – particularly the offensive operations we have conducted since mid-June – have helped produce progress in many areas on the ground. In fact, the number of attacks across the country has declined in 8 of the past 11 weeks, reaching during the last week in August a level not seen since June 2006. This trend is not just a result of greater numbers of Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces; it also reflects your determination, courage, and skill in conducting counterinsurgency operations. By taking the fight to the enemy, you have killed or captured dozens of leaders and thousands of members of Al Qaeda-Iraq and extremist militia elements, you have taken many of Al Qaeda’s former sanctuaries away from them, and you have dismantled a number of their car bomb and improvised explosive device networks. By living among the population with our Iraqi partners, you have been holding the areas you have cleared. By helping Iraqis reestablish basic services and local governance, you have helped exploit the security gains. And by partnering closely with Iraqi Security Forces, you have been strengthening Iraqi elements that will one day have sole responsibility for protecting their population. Indeed, while Iraqi forces clearly remain a work in progree, Iraqi soldiers and police are very much in the fight, and they continue to sustain losses that are two to three times our losses.

    We are also building momentum in an emerging area of considerable importance – local reconciliation. Local Iraqi leaders are coming forward, opposing extremists, and establishing provisional units of neighborhood security volunteers. With growing Government of Iraq support, these volunteers are being integrated into legitimate institutions to help improve local security. While this concept is playing out differently in various areas across Iraq, it is grounded in a desire shared by increasing numbers of Iraqis – to oppose extremist elements and their ideologies. This is very significant, as many of you know first-hand, extremists cannot survive without the support of the population. The popular rejection of Al Qaeda and its ideology has, for example, helped transform Anbar Province this year from one of the most dangerous areas of Iraq to one of the safest. The popular rejection has helped Coalition and Iraqi Forces take away other areas from Al Qaeda as well, and we are seeing a spread of this sentiment in an ever-increasing number of Sunni areas. Now, in fact, we are also seeing a desire to reject extremists emerge in many Shi’a areas.

    The progress has not, to be sure, been uniform across Baghdad or across Iraq. Accomplishments in some areas – for example, in Ramadi and in Anbar Province – have been greater than any of us might have predicted six months ago. The achievements in some other areas – for example, in some particularly challenging Baghdad neighborhoods and in reducing overall civilian casualties, especially those caused by periodic, barbaric Al Qaeda bombings – have not been as dramatic. However, the overall trajectory has been encouraging, especially when compared to the situation at the height of the sectarian violence in late 2006 and early 2007.

    Many of us hoped this summer would be a time of tangible political progress at the national level as well. One of the justifications for the surge, after all, was that it would help create the space for Iraqi leaders to tackle the tough questions and agree on key pieces of “national reconciliation” legislation. It has not worked out as we had hoped. All participants, Iraqi and coalition alike, are dissatisfied by the halting progress on major legislative initiatives such as the oil framework law, revenue sharing, and de-ba’athification reform. At the same time, however, our appreciation of what this legislation represents for Iraqi leaders has grown. These laws are truly fundamental in nature and will help determine how Iraqis will share power and resources in the new Iraq. While much work remains to be done before these critical issues are resolved, the seriousness with which Iraqi leaders came together at their summit in late August has given hope that they are up to the task before them, even if it is clearly taking more time than we initially expected.

    In the coming months, our coalition’s countries and all Iraqis will continue to depend on each of you and on our Iraqi counterparts to keep the pressure on the extremists, to help security and strengthen the rule of law for all Iraqis, to work with the Government of Iraq to integrate volunteers into local security and national institutions, to assist with the restoration and improvement of basic services, and to continue the development of conditions that foster reconciliation. For our part, Ambassador Crocker and I will continue to do everything in our power to help the Prime Minister and the Government of Iraq achieve the meaningful results that will ensure that your sacrifices and those of your comrades help produce sustainable security for Iraq over the long term. A stable and secure Iraq that denies extremists a safe haven and has a government that is representative of and responsive to all Iraqis helps protect the vital interests of our coalition countries. A stable and secure Iraq will also benefit Iraq’s citizens and Iraq’s neighbors alike, bringing clam to a region full of challenges and employing iraq’s human capital and natural resource blessings for the benefit of all.

    As I noted at the outset of this letter, over the next few days, Ambassador Crocker and I will share with the U.S. Congress and the American people our assessment of the situation in Iraq. I will also describe the recommendations I have provided to my chain of command. I will go before Congress conscious of the strain on our forces, the sacrifices that you and your families are making, the gains we have made in Iraq, the challenges that remain, and the importance of building on what we and our Iraqi counterparts have fought so hard to achieve.

    Thanks once again for what each of you continue to do. Our Nations have asked much of you and your families. It remains the greatest of honors to serve with you.

    Sincerely,

    s/

    David H. Petraeus
    General, United States Army
    Commanding

  12. #52
    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    Default GEN Petraeus and Political Salesmanship

    I am very nervous about starting this thread and asking this, one because I know many of you are active military (and some have GEN Petraeus in their chain of command), and two because it's pretty politically sensitive, but all the political hoopla surrounding Congress, the White House, the American people, and GEN Petraeus/Ambassador Crocker the last few weeks has made me too curious not to ask. All that jazz about curiousity and the cat. . .

    Anyway, is anyone else uneasy about GEN Petraeus and what he is doing in the United States? I personally feel that the administration has ceded it's Constitutional responsibilities as top policy-makers/policy strategists and has, in effect, "hid" behind GEN Petraeus and made the COIN/surge "strategy" (really a tactical reorientation in my mind) Petraeus' strategy rather than what it is, Bush's policy.

    By ceding that responsibility, they have also passed GEN Petraeus the buck on "selling" the war. Now this is tricky, because I understand the importance of IO in any COIN situation (and the usual difficulties of fickle popular support for wars in the United States - or any liberal democracy), and I know some responsibility for IO falls to GEN Petraeus anyway. And most of what little I saw from his testimony was excellent - I particularly liked how he did not say whether MNF operations in Iraq are making America safer - but his appearances on Fox or on Katie Couric were cheerleader-esque appearances in some ways, and make me think that he's doing a lot of salesman work while he's here.

    What especially bothers me is his op-ed from just before the 2004 election about the Iraqi Security Forces, which, as shown by events of the next years, was (to my admittedly non-expert perspective) debatable at best and patently false at worst. That editorial from a serving military officer smacked of political salesmanship, and I am worried that he is doing much of the same currently. I wonder what anyone else thinks of this blurring of political and military responsibilites.

    I hope this was not too out of line, and if it was, I apologize.

    Matt
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 09-13-2007 at 10:21 PM. Reason: Added link to '04 op-ed.
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  13. #53
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Matt,
    I don't think most will say you are out of line - you phrased your question as a question and not as an attack or an indictment.

    There certainly is a convergence point for policy and strategy, and the higher in the rank structure regarding a policy and the strategy for realizing it, the closer you are affiliated with it.

    The very broad and general policy goal is to see Iraq to a point of stability where it can govern its own affairs, provide for its citizens and participate as a responsible state on the regional and international scene. By doing this we also help to prevent further instability in the region (such as Iran expanding a destabilizing influence & Non-state actors such as AQ or other terrorist organizations expanding into ungoverned spaces) and protect access to the strategic energy resources which are so vital across the world.

    Certainly the MNF-I CDR bears some responsibility in meeting those "ends" by helping determine the "means" he'll use to do so. He also bears great responsibility for planning and implementing the "ways". The policy makers - really the administration - must approve the strategy as the tool used to realize the ends. The law makers must approve the appropriation and allocation of the "means" or funding and resources needed to pursue the ways. Congress and the President are of course elected officials - so enter in the people to go with the government and the military - the people get their window through the media.

    This was all kind of what Clausewitz theorized in his secondary trinity (the people - the military and its leadership - the government) with regard to considering the nature of war. War makes no sense without its political context else why would you go to war if not for some political reason (usually involving fear, interests or honor).

    At the level of war in which GEN Petraeus' operates - policy is part of it. Remember there was a political confirmation process for assigning him to lead MNF-I - politics entered early on. Every General Officer is charged with providing the elected officials their best and most honest military advice to inform policy questions, and although the President is in our Chain of Command - our oath is to preserve the constitution.

    Also, I don't think the President has hung him out to dry. Tune in tonight for the President's speech and I think you'll see him take responsibility for the decision to continue the policy.

    I hope that helps answer your question. Also for a good read on this pick up any book by Colin Gray.

    Best regards, Rob

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    Matt, you're not out of line, but I may be because I'm going to attack and indict..so I'll apologize in advance if I offend anyone. (or even get banned) And, yeah, I'm going to draw partisan lines in the sand here, because I'm that disgusted by what I've seen and heard.
    By the way, I'm not in the military and I'm not one who blindly thinks the Bush administration has handled the war in Iraq well.

    Petraeus and Crocker were attacked by EVERY f-ing democrat with every question they were asked. Yes, it's Bush's policy, but it's the General's and Ambassador's plan that is in effect, so it's perfectly understandable that they will both get a little defensive and try to "sell" it. I thnk it's disgusting how they're being treated. But that may just be me...because I think they are geniuses and nothing less. If anything is "bad" from this, it's the fact that the president handed them a mess. But I can't think of two (actually more, add Nagl, Kilcullen, and many more to the list) better people to fix things.

    The democrats called them liars or worse. Those 2 demand respect and it's not given to them..not by the jackasses in Congress, Chris Matthews, Anderson Copper, the NY Times, et al. I'll watch Bush, but I'm not stayin up to watch my Senator Reed's rebuttal. I know it will just be a bunch of garbage because his thick head is already made up and no facts (like those he was given Monday and Tuesday) will change his mind.

    What's wrong with this country is there is a certain, and unfortunately, large group that wish nothing more than failure because they hate their own president that much. And it's not just the war. They blame America for terrorists. They say the economy's bad when it's clearly not. I could go on, but I'll stop now before I get myself into more trouble than I probably already have.

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    Anyway, is anyone else uneasy about GEN Petraeus and what he is doing in the United States? I personally feel that the administration has ceded it's Constitutional responsibilities as top policy-makers/policy strategists and has, in effect, "hid" behind GEN Petraeus and made the COIN/surge "strategy" (really a tactical reorientation in my mind) Petraeus' strategy rather than what it is, Bush's policy.
    Uneasy about General Petraeus / AMB Crocker and their actions/testimony?

    Not in the least. Look, these guys are the "on the scene" experts. Who Better? Actually, this type of thing happens all the time, just not on such a contentious issue.

    Just as a single example, we (the federal government) has an upcoming auction of the 700 Mhz. spectrum (think extreme high speed wireless internet access). There's been tons (and I do means TONS) of testimony over the last few years, and probably more to come. And I can guarantee you that all of that "testimony" provided by all the different experts has all been carefully crafted around different sales pitches. In fact, that's one topic where the issue really should be more contentious, but isn't because the political leadership in both parties doesn't want it to be a contentious issue. That's not the case with Iraq - the leadership on both sides need it to be a contentious issue.

    What they are really doing (and actually it's smart politically), is that they want both GEN Petraeus / AMB Crocker out there on the record FIRST, not later. Because if the Congress Critters went first and then the real experts came later, well you'd have a whole lot of evidence laid out there for God & Everyone to see exactly how bright/dumb their elected pol's really are. And we're talking a "Whole Lot of Ugly" here......

    Think of it as an avoidance of a congressional replay of "RatherGate". Only this time, it would be all about Iraq if you didn't have both GEN Petraeus / AMB Crocker out there on the record FIRST. Can you imagine the havoc (and the fun) the blogs and the new media would have with a target as big as Congress showing their collective ignorance?

    If the WH didn't have both of them report first, Congress (if they were thinking) would have insisted upon it.

    So no, it's really unlikely there's a problem here.

  16. #56
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Matt,

    Click here for the text of the President's Speech

    I think the President did a good job of distinguishing the lanes, taking responsibility, articulating the rationale at the different levels.

    His speech was more informed I believe as a result of the AMB Crocker/GEN Petraeus report, and the report issued by Gen (R) Jones' commission. This is a responsibility of those who serve to inform policy with their best advice. I think this week's events show how things can work (and work well) when the pieces are linked.

    Best regards, Rob

  17. #57
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    The President's speech, IMO, was pretty much the same pile of horse hockey that has come out his mouth since 2003.

    Particularly pathetic portions highlighted:

    Anbar province is a good example of how our strategy is working. Last year, an intelligence report concluded that Anbar had been lost to al-Qaida. Some cited this report as evidence that we had failed in Iraq and should cut our losses and pull out. Instead, we kept the pressure on the terrorists. The local people were suffering under the Taliban-like rule of al-Qaida, and they were sick of it. So they asked us for help.

    To take advantage of this opportunity, I sent an additional 4,000 Marines to Anbar as part of the surge.
    A sad attempt take credit where he is due absolutely none at all. As our very own Cavguy has noted, the surge had little to nothing to do with the Anbar sheikhs.

    One year ago, much of Baghdad was under siege. Schools were closed, markets were shuttered, and sectarian violence was spiraling out of control. Today, most of Baghdad"s neighborhoods are being patrolled by coalition and Iraqi forces who live among the people they protect. Many schools and markets are reopening. Citizens are coming forward with vital intelligence. Sectarian killings are down. And ordinary life is beginning to return.
    Ordinary life if you count life with no power, no jobs, and few schools reopened. He forgot to mention that much of Baghdad's Sunni population has been killed or has fled the city.

    One year ago, Shia extremists and Iranian-backed militants were gaining strength and targeting Sunnis for assassination. Today, these groups are being broken up and many of their leaders are being captured or killed.
    Or continuing their careers in the Iraqi security forces or the Iraqi government. If we captured or killed these groups true leaders, we'd end up killing much of the democratically elected Iraqi leadership.

    Yet Iraq"s national leaders are getting some things done. For example, they have passed a budget. They are sharing oil revenues with the provinces. They are allowing former Baathists to rejoin Iraq"s military or receive government pensions. And local reconciliation is taking place. The key now is to link this progress in the provinces to progress in Baghdad. As local politics change, so will national politics.
    Flat out lies here. No oil law or even agreement. No de-Baathification law. What local "reconciliation"? Reconciliation has to involve Iraqis reconciling with Iraqis, not Iraqis agreeing to stop killing Americans in exchange for duffel bags full of cash.

    Skiguy - Your post is quite reasoned compared to what was running through my head watching my CINC sit and lie to my face on national TV. Again.
    Last edited by tequila; 09-14-2007 at 12:44 PM.

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    I feel for you, Tequila. I do wish Bush just said "Listen to what Petraeus and Crocker said. They know more than I do and will take care of my and Rumsfeld's screw ups."

    But since we're talking about lying, let's look at Senator Reed's (Democrat RI) rebuttal. (From this point on, Reed will be referred to as CAN'T-and never-will-Reed-FM 3-24)

    When the President launched the surge in January, he told us that its purpose was to provide Iraqi leaders with the time to make that political progress.

    But now, nine months into the surge, the President's own advisers tell us that Iraq’s leaders have not, and are not likely to do so.
    Yes, 9 months is such a long, long time. (well, apparently it is for a certain U.S. political party). Things are not all fine (and no one is saying that) but there is noted and undeniable progress in ONLY 9 months.

    That is why our plan focuses on counter-terrorism and training the Iraqi army.
    Our plan??? If this wasn't so laughable I would be sick to my stomach. Their only plan is a complete withdrawal of all troops NOW. Only this, and this alone, will make them happy.


    It engages in diplomacy to bring warring factions to the table and addresses regional issues that inflame the situation.
    Did he (they) even LISTEN to or HEAR any of Petraeus's and Crocker's testimony?? With this statement, I think the answer is clearly no.

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    Default Another Civilian's .02 worth

    I am not in the least bit uneasy or bothered with General P. talking to Congressional leaders and the rest of the nation in the manner he did. The 'old man' , the Commander of OUR troops, not Bush's troops, not the troops of Congress but the troops of We The People should come home and speak directly to us as he did. There was a time in our history that the people and press didn't expect this but no longer. He stood tall and informed the nation of what the situation is over there. We need alot more straight talk like General P. gave us and considerably less innuendo, perception, pereceived perception, political correctness,opinion polls, punditry, insinuation and general bull s***. I am puzzled why anyone would feel uneasy about a commanding General of any outfit under any circumstances addressing We The People.

  20. #60
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    I've got to agree with Goesh on this one, although for different reasons. First, I thought that their testimony was reasoned, well resented and an attempt to give their best analysis of what was going on. Second, as a Canadian I felt that their reports were a window into their perceptions and, hopefully, an indicator of what would happen. In many ways, I felt that their testimony was a good example of all that is best in your system of government. The same, I fear, cannot be said of some of the other "commentary" that came out surrounding their reports.

    Matt, I'm glad you brought this up. I think that discussing the issue is a really good way of examining how your system of government works and what it truly means. I, for one, would far rather hear General Petraeus on the effects than have to rely on media reports or the "expert" opinions of politicians.

    Marc
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