Introductory portrait of General Petraeus, the American Commander in Iraq, in the Washington Post. Very interesting -- my European readers should read this, not least because it seems that the self-evident truth for any US government watcher that administrative and doctrinal turf wars matter and make the Goliath seem less monolithic than it is is often overlooked -- wilfully? -- by those who criticize it easily. Never explain by malevolence that which can be explained by incompetence -- or a learning curve.
Oh, and if you haven't seen it, this great piece by Harrison, which came out before Christmas, on the role of culture in nation-building. Of course this was always for the long haul: we are in the business of shrinking the Gap, and the agenda is exactly about formatting minds with each new generation. 200 years more until the End of History.
The generational aspect pops up here in this old December intro to the Long War through Air Force (!) Brig. Gen. Schissler who's deputy director for the GWOT in Joint Staff (do they actually still call it that?).
Then a clearly disturbed story from the LA Times about the surge plan being aprt of renewed neocon cabale. Come on: they cannot both be responsible for screwing up the post-conflict part and for wanting and having wanted more troops all the time. But maybe now is the time to listen -- not necessarily for the neocon rationales, but to the extent that they concord with military sagesse. Either way, yelling at the neocons is exactly what we don't need when important decisions are being presented to the public (cf. the note on seeing a monolith only above).
Some things are moving already on the new Iraqi strategy: dealing with unemployment should have been focus area very early on ... instead of adding to it. According to the AP some projects have already been launched, making a total of 11.000 jobs supposedly supporting almost 150.000 Iraqis.
Finally, more details are emerging on the new African Command -- it will exclude Egypt while CJTF in the Horn of Africa will stay with Centcom for another 18 months. All from the Christian Science Monitor.
And, as usual, do go read MountainRunner, this time for his 11 Steps To Success in Iraq.