The SanityPrompt

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Monday, October 10, 2005

What Should Be the Model of a Modern Major General?

In looking for Rahm Emanuel's Meet the Press appearance I read the transcript of Gen. Abizaid's appearance on the same show.

What a performance.

Transcript for October 2 - Meet the Press, online at MSNBC - MSNBC.com

"Well, Tim, of course, you can parse the words any way you want."

"We've come a long way. Moreover, it's very important that people here in the United States understand that Iraqi soldiers are fighting and dying out there for their country."

"They're standing with American forces in the field."


"Look, if you were to look at the readiness system of the United States Army and parse it for the American public, you could come to the same conclusion that somehow or other there's a lack of readiness and a loss of capability. But I'm telling you, there's more people in the field fighting and participating in operations than at any time in the past and their casualty rate is double, if not triple that of which ours is, which means they're out there fighting."

"Well, there's no doubt that we have got to continue to tell the story of what's happening in Iraq. Iraq is a country in the middle of a counterinsurgency operation, and the Iraqis are more and more taking the lead.

"There are peaks and valleys that you go through, but overall, the trend is good. We're certainly confident. And the most important thing we're confident about is that the Iraqis want to do this. They want to take the fight. They will take the fight.

"Already Iraqi forces are taking the fight in key areas. For example, there are parts of downtown Baghdad where Iraqi security forces are in charge of the battle space. There are parts in the south where Iraqi forces are in charge of the battle spaces.

"So progress is being made. More and more Iraqi forces are in the fight. More and more Iraqi forces are developing."

"As far as public relations are concerned, it's very interesting. I go up on the Hill and everybody's wringing their hands and everybody's worried, but when I talk to my commanders in the field, when I talk to Iraqi commanders in the field, people are confident.

"I think that it is an art form getting the level of troops that are fighting any counterinsurgency operation exactly right. And, of course, what we're trying to do not only in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan, is to help the nations in the region help themselves.

"Tim, I knew somehow or other the final throes question would come. I will tell you that the insurgency, as long as politics continues to move in the direction that it appears to moving and the Iraqi security forces continue to move in the direction that they're moving, the insurgency doesn't have a chance for victory.

"[The insurgency is] certainly alive and well, and I don't think any of us that are military people have ever said anything other than the fact that we've got fighting on our hands, especially as we go through this political process.

"Now, look, throughout the region, there is a tremendous surge of reform activity taking place in places where you would have never thought, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan. This reform activity is really revolutionary for the region."

"The promise of a better future is absolutely on the horizon, if they can grab ahold of the politics, if they can form legitimate security forces with our help and move towards a political reform that this very, very bright bunch of people is capable of presenting. I'm optimistic. I think many of the Iraqis are optimistic.

"We've got to stabilize Iraq. We've got to stabilize Afghanistan. We need to help Pakistan help itself. We need to help the Saudis. We need to do those things that bring an environment of moderation to the region, and unfortunately, it won't come without the help of American forces. But, over time, it can become less."

Cab you say shill? I get that according to the Constitution the President assumes the title of Commander in Chief of all armed forces under the US flag. But where does it say that the generals become part of the White House public relations (re political) team? Shouldn't generals in theory be something like the Fed Chief? Neutral in all politics with the responsibility only to give truthful answers to Congress and the public? General Abizaid surely digested his talking points well. He certainly got down that part about "Iraqis are in the field, it's a revolutionary change, we're making progress." But on four or five occasions Russert asked him specific questions that he flat out avoided answering.

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