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An intellectual surge

Thinking up the surge, "winning" the war in Iraq, and rethinking America's military strategy. David Petraeus is a worthy pick for Prospect's public intellectual of 2008

By James Crabtree   January 2009

Earlier this year Prospect teamed up with Foreign Policy to list the world’s 100 greatest living public intellectuals, a contest won (after some sharp-elbowed campaigning) by the Turkish cleric Fetullah Gülen. But who has had the most impact in 2008? We gathered an all-star judging panel (see opposite) from the worlds of policy, media and ideas to find out.

The concept of “public intellectual” remains satisfyingly vague. Nonetheless, we instructed our panel to weigh up the field on three criteria: novelty, real-world impact, and intellectual pizzazz. Internal debate, along with soundings on our blog, First Drafts, created a shortlist of…

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