Lincoln went through Gens. Burnside, Halleck, McClellan, McDowell, Pope, and Rosecrans before finding Grant, Sherman, Sheridan and Thomas. In World War II, we never did get Mark Clark out of Italy. No need to mention the train of generals in Vietnam before Creighton Abrams turned things around. Good generals study the errors of their predecessors as they wait for history’s call. In the case of Sherman and Grant, the key difference that marked them as great men, other than an instinctive genius for tactics and strategy, was insight into the mind of the enemy, especially his motivations and contradictions, and a complete calmness in the face of the battle hysteria around them and the backbiting at home.
I preface all that by saying I believe Gen. Petraeus is the right commander after Franks, Sanchez, and Casey, unflappable in the face of bad news at the front and politicking at the rear. If we can give him a year, he will stabilize the country—and the US will have pulled off the impossible of establishing some sort of consensual society, analogous to a Kurdistan or Turkey, in the heart of the ancient caliphate.
How will we sense any progress? Mostly to the degree which Democratic rhetoric insidiously lessens, as Sens. Like Biden, Clinton, Obama et al. begin to hedge their bets in fear that good news will embarrass them around midyear next.
Hanson also notes that the Democrats are basically "positioning themselves into a corner in which any good news from Iraq de facto is fatal to their election prospects."
Think about that. And think about the kind of "debate" I listened to this morning on NPR while I was getting ready to leave on whether or not Al Qaeda in Iraq was really Al Qaeda or not.
Let's see...is Kos in Chicago or Las Vegas really Daily Kos or not, I wonder? Is it all part of the
I'll let you decide how you want to answer that.
Frankly, any presidential candidate whose success is predicated on ensuring the defeat and humiliation of his or her own country by a group of murderous medieval barbarians is not a candidate I want to lead my country under any circumstances.