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Ricks: We've created a bunch of Saddams in Iraq

Tom Ricks was on Meet the Press this morning talking about his new book, The Gamble: General Petaeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 (excerpts here; profile of commanding Gen. Ray Odierno here).

Here's what he said about Iraq. It will raise the hair on the back of your neck:

And here's Ricks on Afghanistan:

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Biden the hardliner?

Over at her other home, War and Piece, The Cable's Laura Rozen has a pool report and the full transcript of Biden's speech today in Munich. The bottom line:

The speech was not interrupted by applause while the VP was speaking but got a warm response when it was over.

The NYT's Helene Cooper was there, and she thought the vice president took a hard line:

Mr. Biden’s speech was the highlight of a high-powered security conference that attracted a host of global leaders and diplomats, most of whom seemed primed to hear how the United States and its new leadership viewed the world. They erupted into spontaneous applause when Mr. Biden walked onto the stage.

But for all the talk of a new era in relations between the United States and the world, old sores remained, and with no sign of healing soon.

UPDATE: Craig Whitlock of WaPo saw the speech somewhat differently:

Vice President Joe Biden held out an olive branch Saturday to Iran and Russia, and reassured European allies that the Obama administration would treat them as equals but emphasized that "America will ask its partners to do more as well."

UPDATE II: Cooper's piece has been rewritten with a new focus. What seemed at first to be a hard line was actually well received in Moscow:

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Saturday that the United States will pursue a missile defense plan that has angered the Kremlin, but he also left open the possibility of compromise on the issue and struck a more conciliatory tone than the Bush administration on relations with Russia. 

Dan Drezner quips on Biden's line about not recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia, "This is Biden's example of a tough line? Well, whoa, blow me down!!"

 Photo: AFP/Getty Images