Josh Marshall hits at something we should all be wary of as the “report” is delivered:
In other words, it’s not just a matter of getting the numbers from Petraeus and his staff and deciding whether you believe them or not. They won’t even tell us what the numbers are — let alone how they came up with them. All they’ll say is that they’re very good. Or in some cases that there’s X percentage drop over the course of the surge. Or an isolated number here or there.
Above all, this has been the underlying reason for the skepticism that we’d actually learn something of significance today. We take Patreaus and Crocker at their word, as Patreaus tells that the strategy he developed and implemented has been making progress.
Unfortunately, every other metric that has come out in recent months has indicated that, whether or not violence is down (and that’s a debatable point) there’s been nothing in the way of reconciliation.
And where does that leave us? Matt puts it pretty succinctly:
The scorecard can’t just credit the US military presence for any good thing that happens anywhere in Iraq, while simultaneously arguing that without the military presence every bad thing about Iraq would be worse.