Picking Dave Petraeus to replace Casey is a solid choice. Petraeus doesn't shy from the nation-building role and since building Iraq from the army outward is the most feasible pathway of success, putting him in charge makes a lot of sense; he's got the most experience and has done the most thinking and revamping of doctrine on the more general topic of counter-insurgency. Plus, Dave's just a really good guy.
I had the real honor of spending time with him in Leavenworth in December of 2005: addressing his students, interviewing him at length for the "Monks of War" piece, and holding an informal roundtable with him and the famed "Jedi knights" of his schoolhouse there in Kansas. It was a most memorable time, because it's rare enough to meet someone of that talent and drive.
You know what, as long as I'm quoting Tom, I'll post a snippet of his opinion on Jimmy Carter's new book. I might have posted this before, but I'm too lazy to double-check:
It all boils down to this question: can anybody become a full citizen of your state? Or are they restricted by reasons of race and/or religion?Interesting stuff, no?
If any state's answer rationalizes the second choice, then there is a fundamental falsehood associated with the state's definition of liberty.
This isn't an argument won by rehashing the original rationale for the creation of Israel. That story also isn't particularly unique in its long tale of immense suffering--just the concentrated scale of murdering associated with it (and the amazing documentation of it). Look the world over, and you will find similarly sad tales of targeted ethnic cleansing leading to lengthy and often successful efforts at national self-determination (for example, does any nationality deserve its own nation right now more than the Kurds?).
Eventually France will have a north African-descent leader. Eventually Ireland will have a non-Irish one. Eventually Japan will have a non-Japanese one (after all, they gave Peru one). Soon enough America will have a Hispanic one.
And eventually Israel must have an Arab one, or it must chose to systematically prevent that pathway from emerging.
In all of these countries and in every country, many will argue that losing that original racial-religious core dominancy will "ruin" the country, because, in all such cases, the country began precisely to protect that identity.
Israel argues a special status for its case. I think that argument holds up well in the 20th century, but will get lost in the shuffle of the plethora of similar claims arising--the world over--in the 21st.
Also, to stray from politics a bit, how about those Wolves? Mark Blount has been an absolute offensive monster as of late, keeping my second-favorite rookie (Craig Smith) on the bench. Blount can't rebound, but his jumpshot is butter. I'm really excited for what will happen to this team once Rashad comes back - hopefully there will be enough minutes to spread around for our glut of talent at the SG position (Foye, McCants, Hassell, Wright, etc.). If you want the BEST Wolves analysis in town by a country mile, check out City Pages' Sports blog and Britt Robson's articles in the City Pages.