On Kelly: Don’t Prejudge the Surge

Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret who was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force during the Reagan administration. He is presently a columnist at the Post-Gazette, and can be described as a reliably hawkish unilateralist and free-market fundamentalist. As a special feature of the Comet, we will attempt to debunk the dangerous and foolhardy ideas put forth by Pittsburgh’s most prominent ultra-conservative.

Jack Kelly informs us that both Al-Qaida and the Mahdi Army are already surrendering for fear of the surge! Huzzah! He offers three bits of evidence.

“First, al Qaida appears to be retreating from Baghdad. A military intelligence officer has confirmed to Richard Miniter, editor of Pajamas Media, a report in the Iraqi newspaper alSabah that Abu Ayyub alMasri, the head of alQaida in Iraq, has ordered a withdrawal to Diyala province, north and east of Baghdad.”

The al-Sabah newspaper is part of the U.S. backed Iraqi Media Network, created by the Coalition Provisional Authority, and run by the Pentagon’s Psy-Ops division. Seasoned journalists quit IMN because of heavy-handed CPA oversight. In March of 2004, it was nominally handed over to the Iraqi government, where it remains state-owned, and its credibility remains in the toilet. Sourcewatch.

Jack Kelly just spoon-fed us Pentagon propoganda. Ah, but what of the confirmation by Richard Miniter of Pajamas Media?

Richard Miniter: Author not only of “Shadow War: The Untold Story of How Bush is Winning the War on Terror” (Oct. 2004), but also of “Losing Bin-Laden: How Bill Clinton’s Failures Unleashed Global Terror” (Sept. 2003). You be the judge.

Pajamas Media: A notorious collection of exclusively conservative bloggers and pundits. Its founding editor, Roger L. Simon, wrote in Oct. 2005: “As for the run-up to the war, in looking back I think it was a big game of charades that everybody understood. Despite what was said, the obvious US motivation was geo-political.” LINK

This is more charades. Miniter’s source, the “military intelligence official,” is plainly a Pentagon propogandist, who is “confirming” a story in their own house organ, al-Sabah. Moving forward:

“Second, the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose Iranian-subsidized militia, the Mahdi army, is responsible for most of the assaults on Sunni civilians in Iraq, is cooling his rhetoric and lowering his profile.”

“Third, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri alMaliki is putting more distance between himself and Mr. Sadr, upon whose bloc of votes in parliament he had relied for political support.”

If Kelly actually believes there’s anything of substance to al-Sadr’s cool rhetoric, or alMaliki’s distance, we have about nine or ten local bridges we’d like to sell him.

“Don’t prejudge the surge” is the title. “It just might work” says its subtitle. “Efforts to write it off in advance as a ‘failure’ are, at best, premature” he concludes.

This war didn’t begin last month. We know the generals have been skeptical at every step, though silenced by the civilian leadership. We know this surge foolishness was concocted by the American Enterprise Institute, not by military commanders, on the ground or elsewhere. We know General Patraeus, god bless him, can only muster an uninspiring “it might work,” because his president won’t tolerate insubordination.

We’ve had enough of this misbeggoten and mishandled war, Mr. Kelly, and we’re ending it.

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