Luce interviews Petraeus, a comment by Premature AntiFascist

‘“Ungoverned spaces in the Islamic world will be exploited by people who wish us ill, they will not be contained,” he says. “Syria is a veritable political Chernobyl — tsunamis of refugees, contributing to extremist activity even in our own homeland. US leadership is imperative. There is no substitute.”

You just have to marvel at this expression of hubris coming from Petraeus , when it echos much of what Niall Ferguson has written, and said over his long career of advocacy, that the Americans must be the successors to the British Empire. We only need to look to these news items to see that all of  Petraeus’ leadership in Iraq alone has led to what?

Headline: Protests in Baghdad throw administration’s Iraq plan into doubt by Greg Jaffe

President Obama’s plan for fighting the Islamic State is predicated on having a credible and effective Iraqi ally on the ground in Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

And in recent days, the administration had been optimistic, despite the growing political unrest in Baghdad, about that critical partnership.

But that optimism — along with the administration’s strategy for battling the Islamic State in Iraq — was thrown into severe doubt after protesters stormed Iraq’s parliament on Saturday and a state of emergency was declared in Baghdad. The big question for White House officials is what happens if Abadi — a critical linchpin in the fight against the Islamic State — does not survive the turmoil that has swept over the Iraqi capital.

The chaos in Baghdad comes just after a visit by Vice President Biden that was intended to help calm the political unrest and keep the battle against the Islamic State on track.

Headline: Biden presses Iraq to not let political chaos upend gains, by Josh Lederman

Vice President Joe Biden pressed Iraq on Thursday not to let its crippling political crisis upend hard-fought gains against the Islamic State group as he returned to the country that’s come to symbolize America’s relentless struggles in the Middle East.

Biden slipped into Baghdad on an unannounced trip, his first to Iraq in nearly five years. Officials said the stop was planned before Iraq’s political system descended into turmoil, hindering U.S.-led efforts to defeat extremists who control parts of both Iraq and Syria. Sitting down with Iraq’s beleaguered leaders, he praised them for working “very, very hard” to construct a new Cabinet and touted progress wresting back territory from IS.

“It’s real, it’s serious, and it’s committed,” Biden said as he met with Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri, a Sunni politician facing calls from his colleagues to resign.

Still, the anxious undertones of Biden’s brief visit were clear from the moment he stepped off a military transport plane into blistering heat after an overnight flight from Washington. White House staffers donned body armor and helmets as Biden was whisked by helicopter to the relative safety of the heavily fortified Green Zone, reminders of the dire security situation even in Iraq’s capital.

Headline: Hundreds of demonstrators stormed the heavily-secured Green Zone in Baghdad by Stephen Kalin and Ahmed Rasheed, Reuters

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Hundreds of supporters of Shi’ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed into Baghdad’s Green Zone on Saturday and set up tents beside parliament after Sadr denounced politicians’ failure to reform a political quota system blamed for rampant corruption.

The protesters, who had gathered outside the heavily fortified district housing government buildings and many foreign embassies, crossed a bridge over the Tigris River chanting: “The cowards ran away!” in apparent reference to departing lawmakers.

The initial breach was mostly peaceful, but around sunset security forces fired teargas and bullets into the air in an effort to stop more protesters from entering. Around a dozen people were wounded, police sources said.

A United Nations spokesman and Western diplomats based inside the Green Zone said their compounds were locked down. A U.S. embassy spokesman denied reports of evacuation.

Iraqi security personnel and Sadr’s militiamen formed a joint force to control protesters’ movement, a source in Sadr’s office told Reuters. Most protesters had evacuated parliament and some were preparing for a sit-in in its courtyard, he added.

An army special forces unit with armored vehicles was dispatched to protect sensitive sites, two security officials said, but no curfew had been imposed.

US Leadership is imperative? US Leadership is failed, and others have paid a heavy price for that failure, while Mr. Luce makes the first order of reportorial business the political melodrama of the general’s Fall from Grace, rather than the policies that have led to the current collapse of US Leadership.In reality we have a series of those collapses, our Iraq Policy is a record of those failures.

Recall earlier in the interview Luce ask this salient question  :

Was the 2003 invasion of Iraq a mistake? “That’s a question I will never address,” he says, recalling how as the commander of the surge and then the head of Centcom he “wrote more letters of condolence to America’s mothers and fathers than any other individual”.

Petraeus refuses to answer on the question of policy, falling back on his  numerous letters of condolence he wrote to ‘mothers and fathers’. Look to this quote as explanatory:

‘Look, I’ve turned a page, my past is over. I’m focusing on the future’.”

To lapse into the jejune, Petraeus is an American, that can be defined as remaking oneself and consigning  the past to the past: a self-willed denial/forgetting. The Puritan Ethic, and this penchant for remaking the self, is the central dialectic in American life. Petraeus is simply this historical moment’s latest enactor of that paradox.

One can just observe that Petraeus is not a Caesar, a Scipio, an Eisenhower nor  a MacArthur,  but rather an unimpressive technocrat.

Premature Antifascist

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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