Thursday, September 27, 2007

Petraeus Report, or: you mean that's it?

The vaunted Petraeus Report turns out to be a typical lightweight testimony to Congress. When I started looking for the text of it I was expecting to find something that was like a hundred pages with footnotes, thinking that he filed a report that was different from his testimony. It looks like that wasn't the case. Instead, you have testimony that's noteworthy primarily because of the ability of the writer to use the words "Al Qaeda" and "Iran" over and over again without making the document incomprehensible. The point of much of it seems to be reinforcing the idea that the Sunni resistance is really Al Qaeda, and that we're fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq and that the Shi'ia resistance groups are funded by Iran.

The main claim for an Iran connection concerns Hezbollah in Iraq, the military stating that Hezbollah is directly under the control of the Iranian Quds force. This is strenuously objected to in an article from "In These Times" published during the Israel-Lebanon conflict of last year by William O. Beeman, who says that the only support Hezbollah gets from Iran is financial, with Hezbollah itself remaining independent from Iran.

Much more interesting, although not as relevant in relation to Iran, is Ambassador Crocker's testimony here. I think that Petraeus was employed to give a general justification for administration actions that could be widely understood while Crocker was used to give some intellectual cover to justifications of U.S. policy.

Check out both of the testimonies, don't take my word for it.

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