The Weekly Standard administers justice, first to Time Magazine, and then to General David Petraeus, designating him Man of the Year. As to Time, Bill Kristol writes:
Time ludicrously chose to make Russia’s ex-KGB agent-turned president Vladimir Putin its cover boy. They just couldn’t make Petraeus man–oops–person of the year. Our liberal elites are so invested in a narrative of defeat and disaster in Iraq that to acknowledge the prospect of victory would be too head-wrenching and heart-rending. It would mean giving credit to George W. Bush, for one. And it would mean acknowledging American success in a war Time, and the Democratic party, and the liberal elites, had proclaimed lost.
As to Generals Petraeus and Odierno, Kritsol writes:
[T]he reality is that in Iraq, after mistakes and failures, thanks to the leadership of Bush, Petraeus, and General Ray Odierno–the day-to-day commander whose contributions shouldn’t be overlooked–we are winning.
The reality is also this: The counterinsurgency campaign that Petraeus and Odierno conceived and executed in 2007 was as comprehensive a counterinsurgency strategy as has ever been executed. The heart of the strategy was a brilliant series of coordinated military operations throughout the entire theater. Petraeus and Odierno used conventional U.S. forces, Iraqi military and police, and Iraqi and U.S. Special Operations forces to strike enemy strongholds throughout Iraq simultaneously, while also working to protect the local populations from enemy responses. Successive operations across the theater knocked the enemy–both al Qaeda and Sunni militias, and Shia extremists–off balance and then prevented them from recovering. U.S. and Iraqi forces, supported by local citizens, chased the enemy from area to area, never allowing them the breathing space to reestablish safe havens, much less new bases. It wasn’t “whack-a-mole” or “squeezing the water balloon” as some feared (and initially claimed)–it was the relentless pursuit of an increasingly defeated enemy.
Kristol concludes with a salute to the American forces that have executed the turnaround engineered by General Petraeus:
The counterinsurgency campaign of 2007 was probably the most precise, discriminate, and humane military operation ever undertaken on such a scale. Our soldiers and Marines worked hard–and took risks and even casualties–to ensure, as much as possible, that they hurt only enemies. Compared with any previous military operations of this size, they were astonishingly successful. The measure of their success lies in the fact that so many Iraqis now see American troops as friends and protectors. Petraeus and his generals have shown that Americans can fight insurgencies and win–and still be Americans. For that and so much else, he is the man of the year.
Kristol includes one proviso, not with respect to General Petraeus, but with respect to the adminsitration: