Brand Petraeus” en action

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Le général Petraeus est la nouvelle star du système, l’homme-clef de la guerre, l’homme-miracle de le victoire, le prestidigitateur de la crise. Il existe également en vrai, puisqu’il va parler en chair et en os devant le Congrès. S’il existe, c’est qu’il y a également une réalité du général Petraeus. On se renseigne donc peu à peu.

Leonard Doyle et Raymond Whitaker, de The Independent, nous transmettaient hier d’intéressants rappels sur la carrière de Petraeus, notamment en citant l’auteur Glenn Greenwald. Petraeus a toute sa carrière guerrière consacrée à l’Irak ppuisque, avant l’invasion de 2003, il n’avait participé à aucun combat.

«Greenwald, author of How Would a Patriot Act?, a critique of the Bush administration's abuse of executive power, has provided several examples of what might be described as the Petraeus briefing method. In summary it is that the “surge” is working, the US is winning, al-Qa'ida is on the run, terrorists are being wiped out, and democracy is on the march in the Middle East. US military claims about Iraq have increasingly matched White House political aims. The rhetoric from all top commanders, but especially Gen Petraeus, reads like undiluted White House “talking points”.

»In November 2005, critics point out, a series of optimistic briefings by the general bore fruit in numerous news accounts and opinion pieces which accepted his message that the war was succeeding. At the St Regis Hotel in Washington, he put on a slideshow to dispute “the notion that Baghdad is, if you will, chaos”. Pictures of Sunnis and Shias standing together demonstrated, he claimed, that there was increasing co-operation between the two groups. He especially talked up the preparation and training of Iraqi forces and police, his responsibility at the time.

»By the spring of 2006, when most observers saw a raging civil war in Iraq, he was describing how well the occupation was progressing, saying: “Iraq's third successful election in the course of one year provides evidence that we and the Iraqis are successfully isolating the insurgents politically, if not physically ...”

»Media skills like these appear to have weighed as heavily with the White House as any of the general's other qualities when it decided late last year to put him in charge of the “surge”. Although he took part in the invasion, his troops saw little fighting, due to the speed of the Iraqi collapse. He was praised for adopting a comprehensive counter-insurgency policy when he was put in charge of the troubled city of Mosul, but some months after his departure, when US troops were diverted elsewhere, Mosul was promptly seized by the insurgents, and had to be recaptured all over again.

»The counter-insurgency strategy advocated by Gen Petraeus requires large numbers of troops to “clear and hold” areas, and he was granted them: the American force of 168,000 in Iraq is larger than at any time since 2003, including the invasion. The “surge” has been credited with bringing some stability to parts of Baghdad, but many question what will happen when he tries to hand over control of these areas to the Iraqi army.

»And his chief counter-insurgency adviser, David Kilcullen, has admitted that the most dramatic recent development in Iraq – the uprising by Sunni tribes in Anbar province against al-Qa'ida, which has quelled violence in towns such as Fallujah to such an extent that American forces are likely to be withdrawn – has little to do with the “surge”.

»Mr Kilcullen, a former lieutenant-colonel in the Australian army, also concedes that there are “clear risks” in arming tribal militias who have little love for US forces or the Shia parties in the government.»


Mis en ligne le 10 septembre 2007 à 10H22

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