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    16 August 2007

    America: We like you Petraeus, but we aren't going to buy it

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    The stay the course crowd who favor the presidents escalation policy in Iraq were given a tasty--but pointless--nugget today. This, of course, was used to continue their desperate attempts to inflate the successes of the "surge" and equate anyone analyzing the lack of progress in Iraq as anti-American terrorist supporters. The E & P story that brought this on says:
    The [Gallop] poll of 1,012 adults, taken earlier this month, found that 47% give [Petraeus] a favorable rating, and only 21% unfavorable. The rest had not heard of him or had no opinion.

    This is no surprise. Petraeus is a likable guy, a scholar, a patriot and has brought some welcome relief in Iraq; albeit years too late. From what I've read from his counter insurgency manual, he appears to be the man for this job. As I said in February, if we were able to give him what he needed and the Iraqi politicians deliver on reconciliation, we might actually be able to pull this thing off. I'd much rather Petraeus write the President's mid-September report on the escalation in Iraq than whoever the White House taps (Kagan, O'Hanlon?). However, there are two sides to every COIN (bad joke, sorry). The "[l]eft-leaning Editor and Publisher" errantly suggest that "his 'surge' report may gain support.

    This is wrong for two reasons. First, The report is not his, it will be written by the White House. Much to the Administrations chagrin I'd imagine, Petraeus and Amb. Crocker will be able to testify in public, although before Bush's mid-September report is released. Next, a recent poll agrees with Gallops findings but uncovers that the American public aren't going to let a Petraeus' character interfere with their assessments:
    Though 47% of Americans may like Petraeus, a majority does not trust he will be forthright in his assessment to Congress next month. Fifty-three percent expect him to try to make things sound better than they actually are...

    The CNN/Opinion Research Corp poll also reports that 72% of Americans say the September assessment will not have any impact on their opinion on the war, no matter what Petraeus says.

    Only seventeen percent of those who currently oppose the war say new developments could change their minds about it, along with 12% of those who support it. The vast majority report their opinions are set, however, with 47% staunchly opposed and 21% in support.

    For those Americans who are still undecided and want a real report to assess and not a political document written by the White House, look for the GAO report September 1st.

    Posted by Geoff

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