Jewish World Review Victor Davis Hanson March 15, 2007
The verdict on four years of fighting in Iraq hinges on the events of the next few months.
With the U.S. public and many politicians intensely skeptical that a changed military strategy can salvage the war, the U.S.’s new commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, must win them all over — and fast.
Petraeus takes over on the heels of the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the departures from Iraq of Gens. John Abizaid and George Casey, and the electoral gains of anti-war Democrats.
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But has a single commander ever made much of a difference in almost instantly turning around an entire theater?
In fact, yes. The once relatively unknown Gens. Ulysses S. Grant, Curtis LeMay and George S. Patton all found renown only after replacing their failed predecessors. Indeed, in almost every war, on occasion a single general can so radically change the pulse of the battlefield that a political victory becomes possible where once the public thought it was utterly improbable.
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