Iraq Round-Up!

Let's talk "surge." The big story out of the US this week -- and one you should do whatever you can to bring to your friends' and neighbors' attention -- is that the big September report that all the pundits have been waiting for with bated breath will be called the "Petraeus Report" -- after the anti-insurgency guru -- but will in fact be written by the White House. It will be a political document, it will say that things are tough but getting better every day, it will call for US troops to be pulled out of some of the hotter areas -- and probably call for some troop draw-down for appearances' sake -- it will paint a dire picture of a larger withdrawal, and it will all be utter bullshit.

Petraeus told a group of visiting lawmakers that "success" in Iraq -- according to what criteria nobody really knows -- will require a US military presence for the next decade or so.

A couple of seemingly conflicting pieces of polling data this week are noteworthy: According to Gallup, twice as many Americans have a positive view of Petraeus than hold a negative one, and eight in ten say he's at least a "somewhat" accurate source of information about events on the ground. Editor and Publisher says that may make the report with his name on it go down easier, but I wouldn't be too sure. According to a CNN poll released this week, "53 percent of people polled said they suspect that the [September report] will try to make it sound better than it actually is," while "Forty-three percent said they do trust the report."

Anthony Cordesman, a former Defense Undersecretary appointed by Reagan and now an analyst with the Center for American Progress, returned from a recent trip to Iraq and among his conclusions was this:

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