Thursday, March 20, 2008

Seattle Native to Succeed Fallon or Petraeus?

PI reporter Mike Barber interviewed Maj. Gen. Peter Chiarelli about his background and upbringing, his career within the military and the Department of Defense and his military philosopy.

He is apparently being considered by some as a successor to either Fallon or Petraeus.

Chiarelli grew up in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle and attended local colleges, earning a Masters from the UW. Chiarelli is currently an advisor to Def. Sec. Robert Gates. He served two tours of duty in NATO under Gen. Wesley Clarke. He has served two tours of duty in Iraq.

Chiarelli counts both Gen. Clarke and Gen. Eric Shinseki as his close mentors, and in Iraq he had a central role in the inquiry into the Marine massacre of civilians at Haiditha.

From the article:

An experienced teacher and writer, Chiarelli co-authored two papers in recent years that are considered influential in helping to change Iraq strategy from its beginnings under Rumsfeld to the counterinsurgency focus favored by Gates and carried out by Petraeus.

One paper emphasizes the need to balance providing security in Iraq with winning the peace by supplying basic needs, including clean water, electricity, plumbing and sanitation. Another discusses the dangers of military and civilian leaders being too optimistic about "essentially unpredictable" military operations.

Victory in this war, he says, won't look like victory in other wars.

Based on the interview piece, Chiarelli comes across as a reasonable, temperate and thoughtful man. But not having read his papers, I do wonder what exactly he thinks a "victory" will look like.

And why exactly do we have to keep pretending that any military "victory" or "win" is even remotely possible or necessary in Iraq anyway? My government wrongly invaded Iraq under demonstrably false pretenses. We've pitted ethnic and religious groups against each other, installed a non-functioning puppet government, wrecked the infrastructre, imposed martial law and took over the press, destroyed the economy, pillaged its resources, and imprisoned, tortured and slaughtered its people.

Isn't that enough of a "victory"?

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