Monday, December 31, 2007

Man Of The Year.

The Sunday Telegraph is right to crown General David Petraeus as its Person of the Year. His job is far from complete but his accomplishment in turning around a conflict that looked as though it could result in a jihadist victory is immense. At the beginning of the year the vast majority of media and political commentators were dismissive of the Surge strategy but it was a rational response to the problems that had developed. Oliver Kamm recounts General Petraeus's achievements more eloquently than I could before finishing with a bizarre statement at the end:
Had Tony Blair and General Petraeus been, respectively, the leading political and military figures in the Coalition's Iraq campaign from the outset, much more might have been achieved.
Other than a vague misplaced hero worship of Tony Blair why would anyone assume that he would have enabled a better outcome to the Iraq invasion than what actually happened? Did Blair criticise the lack of manpower when he was Prime Minister? In fact the area that he was responsible for, Basra, saw a strategy of appeasing the local militias which now looks to have been seriously misjudged. Now if Robert Gates had been the leading political figure then things might really have improved.

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