Many observers commented on Time magazine’s foolishness in overlooking General David Petraeus when it awarded its “Person of the Year” honor a week ago. But London’s Telegraph was not so myopic:
Today, we put him in the spotlight again by naming Gen Petraeus as The Sunday Telegraph’s Person of the Year, a new annual accolade to recognise outstanding individual achievement.
He has been the man behind the US troop surge over the past 10 months, the last-ditch effort to end Iraq’s escalating civil war by putting an extra 28,000 American troops on the ground.
The Telegraph notes that there were several other strong candidates this year, including France’s new president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
But the reason for picking Petraeus is simple. Iraq, whatever the current crises in Afghanistan and Pakistan, remains the West’s biggest foreign policy challenge of this decade, and if he can halt its slide into all-out anarchy, Gen Petraeus may save more than Iraqi lives.
A failed Iraq would not just be a second Vietnam, nor would it just be America’s problem.
It would be a symbolic victory for al-Qaeda, a safe haven for jihadists to plot future September 11s and July 7s, and a battleground for a Shia-Sunni struggle that could draw in the entire Middle East. Our future peace and prosperity depend, in part, on fixing this mess. And, a year ago, few had much hope.
The Telegraph concludes:
[I]t should not overshadow his achievement this year: he has given another last chance to a country that had long since ceased to expect one. And for that, Gen Petraeus is Person of the Year.
Via the Power Line Forum.