Petraeus Brain Trust Puts Six Month Limit on Winning
The Guardian‘s Simon Tisdall reports, “An elite team of officers advising US commander General David Petraeus in Baghdad has concluded the US has six months to win the war in Iraq – or face a Vietnam-style collapse in political and public support that could force the military into a hasty retreat.”
We’re already at incredibly low levels of public and political support for the war, so six months may be optimistic. On the other hand, I’m not sure that “winning” (however that is defined) the war in that time is required. The natural inclination of the public is to support an ongoing war effort once troops are committed and lives are lost. If there is a substantial turnaround in the perception of futility–a massive reduction in violence, signs that the Iraqi government and security forces are getting their act together, and the elimination of some major terrorist cells–the public will rally and support a sustained effort.
If we’re still where we are today even three or four months from now, however, the pressure to bring the troops home will increase to the point where Congress could cut off funding. So, it’s quite probable that we’ll be at a decisive point six months from now.