Recently, Gen. David Petraeus testified before Congress and told it exactly what President Bush wanted it to hear: we are making progress in Iraq, the surge is working, and all we need to do is “stay the course” to achieve victory.

Once again, President Bush and his minions are counting on Americans to blindly and uncritically accept the word of men with stars on their shoulders as a basis for continuing this terrible war. Most of Petraeus’ assertions were provably false, and some were based on a grimly selective use of statistics. For example, no car bomb fatalities were considered in calculating the number of deaths, and only persons shot through the back of the head, as opposed to the front, were counted as casualties of the sectarian violence, according to published reports.

The war in Iraq is an intractable religious conflict with roots that go back for thousands of years. We cannot hope to bring any semblance of order to the Iraq that we broke when we invaded, and President Bush knows it. He is only pressing the “surge” to keep the war going, until he is no longer president and it’s no longer his problem.

It is hard to imagine a more cynical and dishonest plan, or one that is more harmful to the brave men and women who are in Iraq. I believe President Bush doesn’t really care how many more Americans are killed in Iraq between now and January of 2009. Is this supporting the troops?

Paul F. Macri, Auburn

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