After reading the complete transcript of his presser, the word that wouldn't fit is 'charge'. If this is the best he can do, then the President has replaced McClellan with McClellan or Westmoreland with Westmoreland. When a military commander talks about how 'complex' the situation is, the next step is generally a request for more resources.
I can draw the correct conclusion from his remarks concerning the democracy project - the elected government is a corrupt shambles, unable to to do a damn thing without American (or NGO) minders holding their hands and very intent upon stealing any money that passes within reach. That's unsurprising. I was a bit dismayed to read about the apparently recent discovery that the tribal links and methods of operations were actually of some import. It really shouldn't have taken four years to figure out how sheiks accrete and maintain influence. In fact, Machiavelli provided a precis on muslim power structures about five hundred years ago. Montesquieu amplified Machiavelli's efforts some 250 years later and both men's analyses hold true today.
Petraeus is no fool and I really can't fault him for his focus on the inconsequential because I don't believe that he has been given any mandate whatsoever to do more than exchange pawns at an advantageous rate. The problem is that even at a 1,000/1 ratio, the sheiks, mullahs, ayatollahs and oily princes still retain a tremendous advantage. An individual muslim is a liability in every single islamic country - the more killed, the better for the leaders. Every American killed is a loss to the US.
The game won't change until we start putting the sheiks, mullahs, ayatollahs and oily princes in the ground on a wholesale basis. Petraeus knows it. Maybe some day he will say it.
UPDATE: The White House does a good job of "tightening" Petraeus' remarks. I wonder where shelling Baghdad fits into his plan.
Friday morning links
1 hour ago