Monday, February 12, 2007


At his new home, Glenn Greenwald takes a look at the arrogant stenographer known as Michael Gordon.

I'll just add a few excerpts from 1/8/07 Charlie Rose appearance.

MICHAEL GORDON: Some do and some don`t. I mean, General Petraeus, who is going to take command of this mission, appears to be very committed to it and seems to be convinced that a surge, if you want to use that term, on that order, of five brigade combat teams, is what`s required. Obviously, General Casey, who is the commander that General Petraeus is replacing, had a different perspective on the matter.

I`ve seen all these studies, all these studies about the ratio of troops to population. By the way, all these things were made known to the White House prior to the invasion of Iraq. There`s no -- it`s just a mathematical formula, it was done by the Rand Corporation. It was done by a young military aide on the staff of the National Security Council and briefed to Steve Hadley, as a matter of fact. And the White House didn`t pay any attention to them at the time.

But those are formulas for stabilizing and controlling and dominating, really, an entire country and population. The reality is, we don`t have those kinds of numbers. They can marshal maybe 20,000 troops or so. And the theory seems to be that by concentrating these forces in the key area of the country, along with Iraqi forces, this will make a difference. And recall, the Iraqis are supposed to make a contribution too. They`re supposed to provide a minimum of three brigades, long promised, but they`re supposed to provide them under this plan. And they`re going to be largely Kurdish. I don`t know exactly how that is going to work out, but that`s what they`re going to be, and the hope is that they would also make an important contribution, as their forces are better trained and come online.

So this is not intended to be primarily an American show. And in fact, the Iraqi government wants us to hand over to them before the end of the year so that they can exert sovereignty over the capital. So a large part of this is going to depend not only on American forces, but on the quality and dedication of the Iraqi forces they`re partnered with.]

MICHAEL GORDON: I think victory has been redefined over the past few years. It used to be, we defeat the insurgency. Well, initially it was, we come in and out of Iraq and leave behind a stable government with minimal effort. Then it became we defeat the insurgency.

I think the White House has reshaped that formulation over the past six months. It now talks about leaving a stable government behind, one that is responsive to our interests and that can help us fight terrorists, et cetera, et cetera.

I think, just as a purely personal view, I`ve just noticed for the past year the gap between the rhetoric of having a so-called strategy for victory, and then the reality of what`s going on in Iraq. And I`ve always felt that people in Washington were talking about a strategy for victory, but we actually never marshaled the resources and didn`t work effectively enough in Iraq to accomplish this.

So I think, you know, as a purely personal view, I think it`s worth it one last effort for sure to try to get this right, because my personal view is we`ve never really tried to win. We`ve simply been managing our way to defeat. And I think that if it`s done right, I think that there is the chance to accomplish something. But it depends critically on the good will and competence of the Iraqis. If that doesn`t work, we`ll have to go to plan C, which will be a different political formula for what Iraq should look like.