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Debate on Iraq surge's effectiveness heats up

Gen. David Petraeus treads cautiously in public, while two Brookings Institution scholars draw fire from the left for saying that the surge should be extended.

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Cairo – Gen. David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, is treading cautiously in public, a month before he and US ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are expected to make a case to Congress that the military surge in Iraq, the recent buildup of US forces there, is getting results, the Associated Press reports.

In an Associated Press interview in late July in his office at the U.S. Embassy, Petraeus betrayed no sign of anxiety, except perhaps a hint of worry that he might tip his hand too early, thus opening himself to challenge from critics before he has fully armed himself with credible arguments for why the buildup is working.
… his tone was flat, almost a monotone. He chose his words carefully. Only when he got to the subject of the sacrifices made in this war by soldiers and their families did he get animated.
"This is too important to always turn the other cheek, shall we say. I think sometimes you have to have straightforward conversations," he says, adding: "I think I owe that to 3,600 families in the United States and the 160,000 coalition forces who are soldiering their hearts out. I take that responsibility very, very seriously."

While Petraeus and other commanders have hinted in the past that they are likely to recommend extending the surge in the September report, he has also said that the key to the plan is providing enough security so that political reconciliation – the key to ending Iraq's war – can take place.


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