Saturday, October 4, 2008

Linda Robinson

From Brian Lamb's C-SPAN interview with Linda Robinson, author of Tell Me How This Ends: General David Petraeus and the Search for a Way Out of Iraq:

BRIAN LAMB, HOST, Q&A: Linda Robinson, why did you want to write a book about David Petraeus?

LINDA ROBINSON, AUTHOR, ”TELL ME HOW THIS ENDS: GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS AND THE SEARCH FOR A WAY OUT OF IRAQ”: Well, I’d been spending, as you know, Brian, a lot of time in Iraq since the war began. And I’d met David Petraeus when he was writing the counterinsurgency manual – and in fact, even before that.

And retired General Barry McCaffrey said, ”This is an officer you need to take a good, hard look at.” He was very high on Barry McCaffrey, even though – I mean very high on David Petraeus – even though he was against the war.

So, I had numerous indications that Petraeus was one of the generals in the Army to take a good look at.

LAMB: Where did you get the title for your book, ”Tell Me How This Ends”?

ROBINSON: That, in fact, is his phrase. He said this to Rick Atkinson, who was an embedded journalist with him in the major combat phase at the outset of the war. And around about April, Petraeus turned to Rick and said, ”You tell me how this ends.”

And he began repeating that phrase to other journalists. It kind of showed his skepticism early on that this was going to be a quick war.

LAMB: Why did you compare General David Petraeus to General Matthew Ridgway?

ROBINSON: Well, there were two comparisons as we got started on this book project. One of them was the possibility that this war would go the way of Vietnam, and ”Abe” Abrams – Creighton Abrams – would be the general that Petraeus would most be compared to for having been a bright man with some good ideas, but coming along way too late to apply them successfully.

The other one, Ridgway, was, of course, one of Petraeus’ heroes, a fellow airborne soldier. But he was credited with getting the Korean War at least to a steady state, pushing the North Koreans back. And I think that was the closest historical parallel that some of the historians I talked to could find.
Read the complete interview transcript or watch the interview.

Learn more about Tell Me How This Ends : General David Petraeus and the Search for a Way Out of Iraq.

--Marshal Zeringue