Friday, March 26, 2010

Behold the Venn diagram of geektitude (and dorktitude, and dweebtitude and..)

Do I flatter myself if I claim to be in the geek category?

Petraeus didn't say it.

In an inexcusably ill-informed "analysis" piece, effectively taken apart by John Hinderaker at Powerline the AP fails to take notice that one of their supporting "facts" is not indeed fact at all, but rather a fiction, a fiction that was sincerely wished to be true by quite a few people.

The fiction, created by apparently ill-intentioned Mark Perry, at the Foreign Policy Blog and eagerly and breathlessly taken up by several others, was that General Petraeus had among other things, taken the very unusual step of personally voicing, through a white-paper missive to the White House, his deep concern that the 'intransigence' of the Israelis vis-a-vis the Palestinians was a major, if not the major cause of unrest and Arab distrust of the U.S. in the entirety of CENTCOM region. According to the piece, he had even requested to be given responsibility over the area (Gaza, West Bank), as a part of his CENTCOM command.

From the original post (written by Mark Perry, former Yasar Arafat advisor)

On Jan. 16, two days after a killer earthquake hit Haiti, a team of senior military officers from the U.S. Central Command (responsible for overseeing American security interests in the Middle East), arrived at the Pentagon to brief Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The team had been dispatched by CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus to underline his growing worries at the lack of progress in resolving the issue. The 33-slide, 45-minute PowerPoint briefing stunned Mullen. The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM's mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, and that Mitchell himself was (as a senior Pentagon officer later bluntly described it) "too old, too slow ... and too late."

The January Mullen briefing was unprecedented. No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue; which is why the briefers were careful to tell Mullen that their conclusions followed from a December 2009 tour of the region where, on Petraeus's instructions, they spoke to senior Arab leaders. "Everywhere they went, the message was pretty humbling," a Pentagon officer familiar with the briefing says. "America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding." But Petraeus wasn't finished: two days after the Mullen briefing, Petraeus sent a paper to the White House requesting that the West Bank and Gaza (which, with Israel, is a part of the European Command -- or EUCOM), be made a part of his area of operations. Petraeus's reason was straightforward: with U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military had to be perceived by Arab leaders as engaged in the region's most troublesome conflict.

Well, to put it simply -





Don't take it from me..

the General:

The General is not so naive as to believe that the regimes in the region do not in fact play a complex game with the Israeli Palestinian conflict. On the one hand some/most need its continuance to deflect attention from their own autocratic ways and overall ineptitude at governance, on the other hand some/most of the regimes secretly and not-so-secretly want to assure Israel's continued existence and potency as a military presence to act as a balance to players in the region that they would rather not give a free hand. And, if the U.S. withdraws as a player in the region, they will need Israel even more so.

He says so much couched in the soothing tones of diplomese.

So, get over your vapours Mr. Perry.