Good General, Bad Mission

Gen. David Petraeus helped write the book on counterinsurgency tactics. But now, says Joe Klein, the man overseeing Bush's Iraq surge has a near impossible task

Brent Stirton / Getty

American General David Petraeus, in flight from Tikrit to Baghdad, Iraq

You have to achieve very rapid progress to show people your intentions are good," Lieut. General David Petraeus told the Philadelphia Inquirer in October 2003, explaining how he and the 101st Airborne Division had brought peace and civility to the city of Mosul. It was one of the few early success stories of the war in Iraq--and then, within a year after Petraeus left, it all fell apart. What happened in Mosul, despite the best efforts of an enlightened U.S. general, is particularly instructive now that Petraeus has been given the far more difficult job of securing Baghdad in the midst...

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