Phil Carter, at his new WashingotnPost.com home, reviews the Petraeus/Crocker fest:
They overstated the threat posed by al-Qaeda in Iraq in an effort to justify the mission -- a mindset that has generated a deeply flawed strategy. They also overplayed the surge's success -- downplaying or discounting factors that likely did more to create today's improved security conditions. While their "Anaconda" strategy looks cool on a PowerPoint slide, it confuses the issues of control and influence, putting too much stock in America's ability to engineer success in Iraq. And, perhaps most tellingly, the two men made the case for perseverance without placing Iraq in the context of vital U.S. national interests, offering only apocalyptic predictions of what would happen if we don't stay the course.
Indeed. And, look, one can hardly blame them. It's bizarre to take two officials with such a limited (albeit, obviously, important) mandate and have the administration throw them out there as frontmen for a hugely controversial policy that implicates every aspect of national strategy.