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.