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Buried Lede Alert

BURIED LEDE ALERT....Fred Kaplan has a good piece in Slate today about the upcoming Petraeus report and what Congress needs to ask about it. But I was more taken by an astonishing statement at the end of the piece from Stephen Biddle, a member of Petraeus's advisory panel. Here's his comment about the current plan to restore stability to Iraq via a "bottom up" strategy of working with tribal leaders:

Biddle also said (again, expressing his personal view) that the strategy in Iraq would require the presence of roughly 100,000 American troops for 20 years — and that, even so, it would be a "long-shot gamble."
Holy cats. This is coming from a "key proponent" of the tribal strategy? 100,000 troops for 20 years only gets us a "long-shot gamble" of success? What the hell do the pessimists think? Kaplan continues:
Do Petraeus and Crocker agree with this assessment? Do they agree with each other? Petraeus is a military strategist; Crocker is an Arabist diplomat; they might calculate the risks and prospects differently.
Um, yeah. I'd like to know if they agree with their advisor about this. I don't think they'd admit it even if they did, but someone sure ought to ask them.
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