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Escalation Architect Bemoans Label Of ‘Armchair General,' Claims Iraqi Deaths Are ‘Way Down'

Think Progress | August 27, 2007

This weekend on Washington D.C. ABC affiliate's Capital Sunday, Center for American Progress Iraq analyst Brian Katulis debated American Enterprise Institute's military analyst — and Iraq escalation architect — Fred Kagan.

“Right now, Iraq is in civil war. It's in fact in multiple civil wars,” Katulis said. “And I don't think that these military tactics that these armchair generals and the academics offer up fundamentally address the core issue — that Iraqis are in a vicious struggle for power.”

Taking issue with Katulis' description of him as an “armchair general,” Kagan complained that “you only get called an armchair general when you actually advocate doing anything.” Speaking as an armchair general, Kagan went on to claim “sectarian killings are way down,” despite an AP report that Iraqi deaths have doubled so far this year.

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Katulis rejected Kagan's assertion that Iraqi deaths are “way down”:

Sectarian killing is not down. If you look at the NIE, they say the places where Baghdad has become stabilized, it's because of sectarian cleansing . Baghdad used to be a 65 percent Sunni majority city. Now it's 75 percent [Shia], and we're standing there and watching this happen while the militias are right underneath our nose, infiltrated in the very security forces that we're supporting. And this raises big questions about what the heck we're doing over there.

Armchair general Fred Kagan has advocated escalation so the U.S. can militarily confront Syria and Iran in the future. He said of escalation last month, “Whatever you can say about the current strategy, it has not failed .”

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