No, that’s not a mis-spelling.
One of the tragic aspects of the Iraqi debacle is that it didn’t have to be this way. Iraq descended into chaos because of incompetent leadership (Rumsfeld and Bremmer, in particular) compounded by the utter refusal of the Administration to admit to any problems.
One of the people who comes off quite well in Cobra II is General David Petraeus, then commander of the 101st Airborne (from whose motto comes the title of this post). Petraeus, more than anyone, recognized the difficulties of governing post-war Iraq. Assigned to pacify the Sunni city of Mosul, he took off his body armor and met personally with tribal leaders to keep the city calm. It became a model for the region.
Had we had more men like David Petraeus and fewer like Don Rumsfeld, things might have gone differently.
So it comes as no surprise to me that he has spoken out against torture. From a general in the field, this is about as iconoclastic as it gets. And if you read between the lines, he’s not just addressing his men — but all the people who think torture is justified and/or effective.
He is absolutely right, not only in his moral stance but in his understanding of what needs to be done to win Iraq. I just don’t know that he’s going to get through to the rock-heads in the White House or the Right Wing Echosphere.
It just so happens that I recently watched Band of Brothers again. What is it about the 101st (and the 82nd!) that produces such fine men? They can bring both terror to the enemy and hope to the oppressed.