Claiming steady, albeit slow, military and political progress, Petraeus said the "many, many challenges" would not be resolved "in a year or even two years." Similar counterinsurgency operations, he said, citing Britain's experience in Northern Ireland, "have gone at least nine or 10 years."
To be fair, General Petraeus was probably discussing specific counterinsurgency investigations, which the Brits would pursue to the ends of space and timne itself. It's one of the reasons they're so very good at catching terrorists now.
But now that we've been fair, let us proceed to mock this statement. Allow me to don my County Roscommon accent and wave my Grandfather's shillelagh about -- yes, yes, good heft -- okay then ...
Well that's encouraging!
No, seriously. Now at least we have a working model. The whole problem up to this point was the weird operating procedure in which the Bush Administration ignored every historical precedent for nation building and insurgency fighting. Facts, reason, and historical context .. thats atheist thinkin' right thar, pardner.
The only question is:
Does Petraeus mean "the nine or ten years" right after the Potato Famine in 1849 when a million or so died primarily not from famine but from asinine foreign administration, and millions more fled the country? (Hmm, there is a comparison ...) Granted, it was a full thirty years later Fenians blew up Scotland Yard and nearly nabbed the Queen at Jubilee, but after that there was nary a peep, really 'til --
-- the"nine or ten years" after those wee troubles on Easter 1916 (hey, partition! we can try that too). After that there things really settled down to --
-- the "nine or ten years" later, the late 40's into the early 50's, when the S-Plan brought Irish bombers onto British soil for the first time. (I don't know about you, but I'm sure looking forward to that historical parallel catching up with us.) But ignoring the bombings during the 50's in the border territories, maybe he means --
-- the "nine or ten years' of the 60's! In 1962 the government of the Republic of Ireland officially refuted terrorism as a means of gaining reunification -- after a scant forty odd years of terrorism. Once the Maliki -- er -- Republic government refutes terrorism, then plainly there can be no further Troubles ... whoops, looks like the British Troops are sent back in in 1969. Oh. But maybe he means --
-- the "nine or ten years' of the Swingin' Seventies! Once you got Bloody Sunday, The Coach Bombing, the House of Parliament bombings, the Birmingham Pub bombings, and the assassination of Lord Mountbatten (remember, most of that's just the fun happening on British soil) out of the way, Petraeus is perfectly right to say those "nine or ten years" resolved things, as the --
-- "nine or ten years" of the 80's was positively tranquil. Except for when they got Tynan Abbey and blew up a hotel to kill Maggie Thatcher. And the dozens of other smaller scale bits of nastiness. That said, it's not like the next --
-- "nine or ten years" of the 90's weren't, finally, dead quiet. Particularly dead quiet for Ian Gow, the people of London, Manchester, Warrington, and positively catatonic at 10 Downing Street when the mortar shells landed in the back garden.
What have we learned by following General Petraeus' illustrative path into the radiant garden of comprehension?
Well, first we may now understand why the Brits didn't lose their bottle after the 7/7 bombings and generally regarded us with scorn as we wept and gnashed our teeth in sympathy.
Second, at least now we know what we can look forward to. Knowledge is always our friend. Bet you never anticipated Bush's "South Korea" model for Iraq would be the good version, eh?
Only fifty years? We'd be getting off lucky.
Note: The first idiot who attempts to use this history to explain why we need to stay in Iraq to stop al-queda must then proceed through three distinct steps.
a.) Explain how Sunni al-queda will somehow create a "Caliphate" in Shiite-ruled Iraq. Because the massive Shiite majority is gonna be psyched to fold under an oppressive Sunni minority again. They can't wait.
b.) Explain away the fact that the only success we've really had in Iraq against the local AQ franchise is when we cut loose the highly competitive Sunni tribal leaders who see them as interlopers. The Sunnis deal with AQI ... quickly.
c.) Get punched in the neck, by me, for being a fucking ignorant memechimp.
Oh, and dibs on "memechimp."