Professor Arthur Herman On The Petraeus Offensive And The Stab-In-The-Back Congress
HH: Now I want to turn to the Commentary article available at Opinionjournal.com today, it’s linked at Hughhewitt.com. Right in the center of it, you write about the third lesson from the expert on the Algerian conflict that counterinsurgency must project a sense of inevitable victory…
HH: The local populace had to see the military and the civilian authority as the ultimate winner. I agree, I worked closely with Nixon in ’78-’79-’80, used to read Robert Thompson’s book on Malaysia. It was always that inevitability. And the Congress killed us this week on this point, didn’t they?
AH: It was definitely…and I don’t know if it was a fatal stab in the back, but it was definitely a stab in the back. And it just goes to show the kind of uphill work that the Bush administration is going to have to do, which, I mean, let’s be frank, which they’ve avoided doing up until now. They have…you’ve got General Petraeus, and by the way, this is not unrelated to the Iran issue.
HH: Of course not, yup.
AH: I think one of the reasons why Iran has acted in the kind of provocative way which it has this last week, was precisely because they were feeling the heat from the Petraeus offensive. That’s my term for it. I don’t like the term surge. Surge, I think, doesn’t describe what’s happening there. This is really the Petraeus offensive, and a whole different way of conducting the war, including cutting off the Iranian support, and going headfirst, and really making sure that that kind of support is undercut. And I think the Iranians are feeling the heat, and that is one reason why they’ve tried to drive this wedge.
HH: You know, the Petraeus…
AH: But yeah, but to come back to your question, I think in some ways here, what you are really seeing is that we’ve got a general who finally understands and gets it about the counterinsurgency in Iraq. What we need is an administration that’s going to deal with the counterinsurgency at home, which is taking root in the Democratic Congress.