Best Defense

Keane: War is over

Retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, the godfather of the surge, struck me as heapum optimistic about Iraq. “There will not be a systemic rise in violence,” he predicted. “The security situation is manageable.”  Keane, a straight shooter, also said that Saudi Arabia has been “absolutely outrageous” in undercutting Iraqi economic development. He didn’t offer details. ...

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Retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, the godfather of the surge, struck me as heapum optimistic about Iraq. “There will not be a systemic rise in violence,” he predicted. “The security situation is manageable.” 

Keane, a straight shooter, also said that Saudi Arabia has been “absolutely outrageous” in undercutting Iraqi economic development. He didn’t offer details.

Other panel members basically agreed. “I believe that the cycle of sectarian violence has been broken,” said John Nagl of CNAS and Eating Soup with a Knife. And Nazar Janabi, a former Iraqi military officer and civilian defense official, said that, “Some level of optimism is totally called for.”   

Samir Sumaida’ie, the Iraqi ambassador to the United States, gave an eloquent talk in which he took hope from his view that the Americans of 2009 are not the same as the clumsy Americans who invaded his country in 2003. “America has changed … through experience,” he said. “They made some very expensive mistakes, some horrible mistakes.” But since those bad old days, he added, “They have learned a lot.”  

photosbymavis/flickr

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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