Saturday, January 06, 2007

Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen

Things are a-changing in Iraq. Gen Petraeus will be leading the effort there. In the same article, Michael Gordon reports that Gen Odierno will be just below Gen Petraeus. Those who have read Gordon's Cobra 2 or Tom Ricks' Fiasco will be intrigued. Petraeus is often portrayed as the philosopher general who best understands counterinsurgency warfare. The areas under his command were among the safest in Iraq. In the two books mentioned, General Odierno's 4th infantry division is portrayed as pursuing a more aggressive insurgency-causing warfare. These two are polar opposites, as portrayed in the press. I think Gordon and Ricks are excellent reporters and writers and I voraciously consumed their books, but I always keep in mind the adulation of Gen. McClellan in the early half of the Civil War. So I am willing to see if these supposed opposites can work together. I thought it interesting that Gordon's article had no comment on this possible juxtaposition.

The article also describes the plan shift which is to send small units into neighborhoods, as opposed to being bunkered in fortresses and emerging only for heavy patrol. It may well work, but it sounds like it will also increase casualties, something for which the US has little stomach at this point.

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