Transcript of yesterday's remarks by Gen. Petraeus. Excerpt: "Today, members of al Qaeda, extremist militias and Sunni insurgent groups seek to destroy what Iraqi leaders are trying to build. Political parties with ethnosectarian interests, limited governmental capacity, and corruption add additional challenges, and exceedingly unhelpful activities by Iran and Syria, especially those by Iran, about which we have learned a great deal in the past month, compound the enormous problems facing the new Iraq."
Josh Marshall's take on the big picture in Iraq: "We can't explain who we're fighting because this isn't a war, like most, where the existence of a particular enemy or specific danger dictates your need to fight. We're occupying Iraq because continuing to do so allows us to pretend that the initial plan wasn't completely misguided and a mistake. If we continue to run the place a bit longer, the reasoning goes, we'll root out this or that problem that is preventing our original predictions from coming to pass. And of course the longer the occupation continues we generate more and more embittered foes to frame this rationalization around, thus creating an perpetual feedback loop of calamity and self-justification."