Feature

Iraq

All eyes on Gen. Petraeus.

You may have thought that our nation's commander in chief was President George W. Bush, said Frank Rich in The New York Times. But 'œin a de facto military coup,' Bush has publicly turned over all responsibility for the war to Gen. David Petraeus, the politically savvy military man Bush sent to Baghdad to head up the 'œsurge' of 30,000 troops. Bush now litters every speech about Iraq with glowing references to Petraeus, and deflects questions by saying it all depends on 'œwhat David has to say' when he gives his progress report in September. 'œAnd so another constitutional principle can be added to the long list of those junked by this administration: the quaint notion that our uniformed officers are supposed to report to the civilian leadership.'

But at least Bush has finally put the war in competent hands, said policy analysts Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, also in the Times. During a recent visit to Iraq, we saw that Petraeus has, in fact, been making major headway. In Baghdad, Shiites and Sunnis alike said they were pleased by the reduced violence that has resulted from the increased U.S. troop presence. In other parts of the country, Iraqi military and local authorities are playing a much greater role, as the U.S. military slowly steps back. And an 'œoutpouring of public animus' against al Qaida and other extremists shows that there really may be a consensus for moderation and peace. It's not that a total victory over insurgents and al Qaida elements is at hand. But we could be moving toward a 'œsustainable stability that both we and Iraqis could live with.'

Glenn Greenwald

Salon.com

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