What Others Are Saying

August 20, 2007

On Sept. 26, 2004 - approximately six weeks before a presidential election in which the deteriorating situation in Iraq was an increasingly important issue - [Gen. David] Petraeus, then in charge of training Iraqi security forces, published an op-ed in The Washington Post. He wrote glowingly of the progress the Iraqi security forces were making under his tutelage. According to the article, training was on track and increasing in capacity, more than 200,000 Iraqis were performing a wide variety of security missions, 45 Iraqi National Guard battalions and six regular Iraqi army battalions were conducting operations on a daily basis, and six additional regular army battalions and six Iraqi Intervention Force battalions would become operational by the end of November 2004. The Bush administration's policy at that time was, "We will stand down when they stand up." General Petraeus' article, accordingly, had the effect of telling the electorate that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

The op-ed was patently false and misleading, but that was not the worst part. If General Petraeus wrote and published the article on his own initiative, he was injecting himself improperly into a political campaign. If he was encouraged (or even authorized) to do so by his civilian superiors, they were abusing military professionalism for partisan political purposes.

- Lawrence J. Korb, in Foreign Affairs

The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that the United States has a $1.5 trillion backlog of infrastructure projects. But this number should be taken with a grain of salt, as it merely sums the wish lists of more than a dozen different interest groups. Efforts to fulfill these wishes would become pork fests providing absolutely no assurance that money will be spent where it is really needed.

The problem is not inadequate funding. The real problem with deteriorating bridges and highways is a ponderous transportation planning process under which it takes decades to do anything.

- Randal O'Toole, in The American Spectator

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