Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The deeply impressive Petraeus

I managed to catch about 90 minutes of Gen. Petraeus' testimony to the Senate committee yesterday- I couldn't believe it when I heard them say how much there was left; those sessions are incredibly long.

One little glitch I noticed was his Bush-like slip where he talked of the terrorists' global war on terror- which of course should have been of terror.

I was interested by this short clip via HotAir of a bit I hadn't seen, later in the session, where he corrected that slip very pointedly.

That self-correction comes amid another self-correction- he is explaining how the war in Iraq is making America safer, having been non-committal on the point in answering an earlier question. It's easy to understand why he didn't answer immediately- is it a soldier's job to survey the whole world like some latter-day Alexander the Great? According to the Senate committee you would think so.

Yet Petraeus, like any army man, has a sense of territory. If you keep it, no-one else can except someone you permit to inherit it from you. That, strangely, is why in this non-state war it is so vital not to give up territory. It's because you wish to prevent a group of people who don't respect territorial sovereignty from getting their own territory, which they personally don't care for, which is for them merely a launch pad for infiltrating more territory, causing more chaos, increasing their power base, reach, influence and prestige.

Petraeus knows all that instinctively. Others need to learn it.

Oh, and btw, I think that what Petraeus is doing will make the UK a whole lot safer than it would otherwise be as well. Certainly winning in Iraq would have that effect, though any such judgement is a finely balanced one in the grand scheme of things.

Google Custom Search