Petraeus releases conclusions of Iraq report … sort of

SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images Gen. David Petraeus still has exactly one month to report to Congress on the progress of the Baghdad troop surge. But the top U.S. commander in Iraq hinted to reporters today that he has already reached the broad conclusions that will be contained therein. The report will likely throw a bone to critics of ...

599940_070815_petraeus_05.jpg
599940_070815_petraeus_05.jpg

SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images

Gen. David Petraeus still has exactly one month to report to Congress on the progress of the Baghdad troop surge. But the top U.S. commander in Iraq hinted to reporters today that he has already reached the broad conclusions that will be contained therein. The report will likely throw a bone to critics of the Iraq war. But those hoping for a grand redesign of U.S. strategy will be severely disappointed. While Petraeus may recommend modest reductions in the number of U.S. forces in Iraq, he will mostly call for more or the same:

We know that the surge has to come to an end, there's no question about that. I think everyone understands that by about a year or so from now we've got to be a good bit smaller than we are right now. The question is how do you do that ... so that you can retain the gains we have fought so hard to achieve and so you can keep going. Again we are not at all satisfied where we are right now. We have made some progress but again there's still a lot of hard work to be done against the different extremist elements that do threaten the new Iraq."

SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images

Gen. David Petraeus still has exactly one month to report to Congress on the progress of the Baghdad troop surge. But the top U.S. commander in Iraq hinted to reporters today that he has already reached the broad conclusions that will be contained therein. The report will likely throw a bone to critics of the Iraq war. But those hoping for a grand redesign of U.S. strategy will be severely disappointed. While Petraeus may recommend modest reductions in the number of U.S. forces in Iraq, he will mostly call for more or the same:

We know that the surge has to come to an end, there’s no question about that. I think everyone understands that by about a year or so from now we’ve got to be a good bit smaller than we are right now. The question is how do you do that … so that you can retain the gains we have fought so hard to achieve and so you can keep going. Again we are not at all satisfied where we are right now. We have made some progress but again there’s still a lot of hard work to be done against the different extremist elements that do threaten the new Iraq.”

Both sides of the Iraq-war debate are already spinning Petraeus’s conclusions. And here the decided advantage has to go to the Republicans. Why? Because it is the the White House political staff that will be writing the actual report, and they’ve got a big bully pulpit.

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