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Web Letter

If anybody can decipher a logic in General Petraeus's handling of the Iraq War, please help us. If he promotes and stands for the principle that only the Iraqi army and police should be armed in Iraq, why he was willing to cut a deal with insurgents in Anbar Province who were killing the US troops? Why did he arm them and put on a US payroll? If he did it to pacify the insurgents and protect the US military personal serving in Iraq, why did he encourage the Iraqi government’s crackdown on the Mehdi Army fighters who were honoring a several-months-long cease-fire? Why did Petraeus send his soldiers into the bloody street fighting in Basra or Sadr City?

If Maliki-spearheaded conflict with the Mehdi Army fits the newly launched US strategic confrontation with Iran, why confrontation with an autochthonic, independent Iraqi group, not with militia-like Badr Brigades that were formed, financed and trained in Iran during the Saddam Hussein era and fully controlled by Tehran? Does it matter to the US interests if the Sadrists get more seats than Maliki followers in the election scheduled later this year?

If Petraeus sees the battles with the Mehdi Army as just a first step, after which he will proceed with dismantling of the Badr Brigades, does he understand that he would eventually replace a fight against the Sunni insurgents with the far bloodier fight against the Shiite insurgents?

As you certainly know, there are three times more Shiites than Sunnis in Iraq. The question is what General Petraeus is trying to accomplish in Iraq. Frankly, I have no idea what he is doing.

Kenan Porobic

Charlotte, NC

Apr 21 2008 - 3:45pm

Web Letter

If Douglas Mac Arthur can be fired, any General can be fired. Petraeus' authority will disappear with the Bush Administration.

It is not the business of Generals to make foreign policy decisions. It is their duty to execute the legal orders of the President who is Commander-In-Chief. It is up to the President to give direction on policy, and it is up to Congress to fund those policy decisions, if they approve of them. Certainly, subordinates opinions should be considered, but other "experts" need to be consulted. Iraq is one element in the broader context of American foreign policy, and it should not dominate other important elements.

Our limited military assets are tied up in Iraq. We do not have the resources or money to maintain a long term occupation of that country. We have serious problems at home and abroad that need to be addressed. It is not in our national interest to remain in Iraq.

Pervis J. Casey

Riverside, CA

Apr 9 2008 - 2:47pm

Web Letter

It is rare that a military figure deserves the respect and adulation he ordinarily receives. Petraeus is no exception.

He is a shill for Bush. When we have a new President he will tailor his remarks accordingly.

Norman Ravitch

Savannah, Georgia

Apr 9 2008 - 9:11am