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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New York Times Pulitzer Prize winner John Burns on Iraq

I simply want to point your attention to an interview done by Hugh Hewitt for those that have not seen it yet.

A couple of teasers:

HH: How long have you been back in Baghdad?

JB: About three months. We take long rotations here, and then we reward ourselves with nice long breaks back home in the United States, or in my case, in the United Kingdom.

HH: Well, there are three things I want to cover with you today, Mr. Burns. Where are we now in Iraq, in your view? Secondly, where Iraq might be in a couple of years, depending on a couple of developments that the United States might enact? And then finally, in hindsight, what we did right and what we did wrong over the last four years. But let’s start with what you see in Baghdad today. Is the surge working?

JB: I think there’s no doubt that those extra 30,000 American troops are making a difference. They’re definitely making a difference in Baghdad. Some of the crucial indicators of the war, metrics as the American command calls them, have moved in a positive direction from the American, and dare I say the Iraqi point of view, fewer car bombs, fewer bombs in general, lower levels of civilian casualties, quite remarkably lower levels of civilian casualties. And add in what they call the Baghdad belts, that’s to say the approaches to Baghdad, particularly in Diyala Province to the northeast, to in the area south of Baghdad in Babil Province, and to the west of Baghdad in Anbar Province, there’s no doubt that al Qaeda has taken something of a beating.


HH: Mr. Burns, some anti-war critics have begun to attack General Petraeus as being not credible and not trustworthy for a variety of reasons, one he gave me an interview, he’s given other people interviews that they consider to be partisan, whatever. Do you believe he’ll be as trustworthy as anyone else speaking on the war?

JB: I do. I can only speak for my own personal experience, and there definitely was in the, in the Vietnam war, there was a failure of senior generals and the joint chiefs of staff to speak frankly about the Vietnam war early enough. There has definitely been some Pollyannaish character to the reporting of some of the generals here over the past three or four years, although in my own view, knowing virtually all of those generals, I don’t think that that was out of fealty to the White House or Mr. Rumsfeld. It’s a difficult and complex question which we really don’t have time to discuss here. But to speak of General Petraeus in particular, General Petraeus is 54 years old. Let’s look at this just simply as a matter of career, beyond the matter of principle on which I think we could also say we could expect him to make a forthright report. At 54, General Petraeus is a young four star general, who could expect to have as much as ten more years in the military. And he has every reason to give a forthright and frank report on this. And he says, and he says this insistently, that he will give a forthright, straightforward report, and if the people in Washington don’t like it, then they can find somebody else who will give his forthright, straightforward report. He is not without options on a personal basis, General Petraeus, and I think he, from everything I’ve learned from him, sees both a professional, in the first place, and personal imperative to state the truth as he sees it about this war.

Thats enough of a teaser, read the whole interview with John Burns over at Townhall.

His words do reinforce the latest good news coming out of Iraq by those that have just retirned from there.

Shown here and here.

Lets not forget, also, that Move America forward has tens of thousands of people taking to the streets traveling across our country and stepping right up to Capitol Hill in support of our troops and for General Petraeus and the September report he will be giving.

As well as the Vets For Freedom following that.

September promises to be an interesting month.

Also, of interest: U.S. Toll is the lowest it has been in 8 months and President Bush's choice to head the military Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday an increase of troops in Iraq is giving commanders the forces needed to improve security there.

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