Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Warner: Does that make America safer? Petraeus: Sir, I, I don't know actually

Here's video of Petraeus saying he doesn't know if fulfilling our objectives in Iraq will make America safer or not. He later tried to walk back from that statement. But I like Sullivan's take on it:
But it was a genuine gaffe - the truth blurted out by a general who could not help himself. This exchange may be - and certainly should be - the turning point of the Iraq debate. Wars that make us less secure are not wise endeavors. In fact, this week has been unexpectedly revealing, it seems to me, of the rapidly rising stakes now involved.
Unfortunately, there are many things that should have been the turning point of the Iraq debate, but they never were. This administration isn't interested in debates. To them the truth isn't something you have to have a debate to get at. They're convinced they know the truth a priori.

So many times, sane people in this country have seized upon some statement or incident or scandal and thought, "At last! This will bring people to their senses!" I don't think there's going to be some "thing" that happens to make ending this war easy. It's going to be a hard slog and a lot of work. Trying to end this war has revealed the strength of all the pro-war forces in our culture.

The biggest obstacle seems to be the idea that people who want to end the war are somehow "unserious" or "naive" or "weak", regardless of their expertise, combat experience, or correct predictions about what would happen during an occupation. Those who cheerlead the war, on the other hand, are never laughed out of town, no matter how many times they've been wrong, or how many of their predictions are shattered, or how many people get killed because of what they say. They still get to be serious foreign policy analysts or whatever and go on television and get prominent columns.

So much work to be done.


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