Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Good news, maybe, but it can't last

Ryan C. Crocker, the American ambassador in Iraq, on withdrawal.

“In the States, it’s like we’re in the last half of the third reel of a three-reel movie, and all we have to do is decide we’re done here, and the credits come up, and the lights come on, and we leave the theater and go on to something else,” he said. “Whereas out here, you’re just getting into the first reel of five reels,” he added, “and as ugly as the first reel has been, the other four and a half are going to be way, way worse.”

General Petreaus was on the BBC yesterday talking about the timescales for counter-insurgency. I found the way his interview with John Simpson was introduced was very interesting. First, in PM, Eddie Mair set it up by starting with the recent bombings and, Is this the failure of the Surge? This is the standard line. Then to the interview with Petreaus heard mostly on the time needed.

In the news that followed, John Simpson's sum-up, which we didn't hear in PM, talked about "some" signs of success with the new strategy, but finished, "It seems very unlikely that he will have the time to build on it." This will be the new line, when the BBC finally notices what is really happening there: some success, yes, but it's all really a waste of life, money and energy because it's doomed anyway.

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