Michael's Dispatches

No Victory Dances


23 August 2008

I hope to land in Afghanistan tomorrow, but as for tonight, I'm stuck in a hotel reading everything I can devour on Iraq and Afghanistan. An interesting interview with General Petraeus surfaced. General Petraeus has always been objective in his communications with me. I see in this Newsweek exclusive, that General Petraeus is again dampening expectations. I've seen him do it over and over. Now isn't that amazing? An American General who actually makes it a point to dampen press enthusiasm. But while delivering the raw truth, General Petraeus gains enormous credibility with journalists, who then reach untold millions of people. I remember stepping off his helicopter one night before he roared away into the Iraqi night. Just before I took off the headset and unbuckled my seat belt, General Petraeus said something like, "No Victory Dances." I stepped out and his darkened helicopter disappeared into the night, nearly knocking me over with the rotor wash. General Petraeus has enormous press credibility because he delivers the good, the bad and the ugly.

Now for General Petraeus:

Gen. David Petraeus is due to relinquish his role as the commanding general in Iraq in mid-September, moving up to head CENTCOM, the U.S. military's Central Command, in overall charge of the conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He sat down for an hour and a half this week with NEWSWEEK's Rod Nordland, at the general's office in the American Embassy, in Saddam's old Republican Palace. Excerpts:


Click here to read the entire article by Rod Norland in Newsweek.



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  • This commment is unpublished.
    William Crum · 13 years ago
    General Patraeus possesses a lot of attributes of past great Generals who have made marks in our History. I would not mind seeing him progress from military leader to politics. I also think he is just the man to get us on the right track in Afghanistan. The earlier we get our bearings straight there, the quicker we can start making progress.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    William Crum · 13 years ago

    I know from reading your others dispatches and articles that the war in Afghanistan is not being commanded unilaterally. Is this something that General Patraeus can remedy as CENTCOM Commander, or will he be limited to command of US Forces?

    Also, with your knowledge of the man and talks, what do you think his stance will be vis-a-vis the Heroin business? I for one wish our esteemed leaders would stop the hypocritical decisions and order the poppy fields burned, regardless of where the money goes (Taliban or legitimate Government). How can we envision re-building a government whose greatest resource is destroying America from the inside out? Granted, our stance is based on the decisions not to interfere with their infrastructure I guess, in broad terms that is, but let's be real, the majority of Afghanistan is tribal and the Poppy Farms going *BOOM* might make them uncomfortable for a season, but if we were in there helping replenish those farms with legitimate crops would it not lend to the same tactics we use in Iraq now to counter the Insurgency? I am all for helping, but you can't allow the Taliban to grow Poppy Farms in Afghanistan for money to defeat us on one hand, and arrest a 19 year old kid for possession of Marijuana on the other hand. It's blatant HYPOCRISY! And don't give me the BS about "Well, we can't expect the Afghans to conform to our sense of society or morals"... That is pure BS.... we are there to liberate them just like we are the Iraqis.... how about we liberate a good people rather than a bunch of drug dealers who will be funding the next extremist group who grows to hate America, because we cannot afford to support their government for ever and they will eventually have to do the hard work.

    I am sorry, I did not mean to rant, but this is a very sore subject for me. Honestly the entire Afghanistan Mission sits poorly with me, but the fact we continue to let the Taliban milk the teat of the poppy farms really floats my boat. I know Gen. P has rules he has to follow just like the lowest private on the battle field, I just hope he can convince the apparently ignorant bureaucrats who continue to protect the Heroin Industry that the drugs need to go.

    You know, I am no conspiracy theorist, actually the opposite. But if you think about it, why WOULD we protect the poppy farms unless all the stories about the CIA and drug money is correct? I mean I know it really happened way back in the day, but I honestly did not think it still happened in the modern age. Oh well, so much for not going off on a tangeant.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    KLM · 13 years ago
    My husband is the Squadron Commander. Would you be willing to make it all the way up there? He told me just before he left that if he could have any one single person up there to report what is going on that it would be you. Interested?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Leta · 13 years ago

    The email address I have for you doesn't seem to be a good one anymore. I doubt you remember me - it's been a long time. Agnieszka is a friend of mine. Please email me so I can share contact information with you so you can determine if an embed possibility in Afghanistan is a good one for you.

    I cannot tell you how thankful I am that you are there. BE SAFE!

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