Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

September 13, 2007

President Petraeus?

It's interesting to watch the Republicans' manufactured outrage over MoveOn's ad about their much revered General Petraeus. That they want to condemn this ad via Congressional resolution shows their weak hand and how desperately they want to divert an angry public's attention from their thorough mangling of the unjustified Iraq war.

I don't agree with MoveOn's use of the "General Betray Us" rhetoric, but unless the Republicans are ready to officially condemn the character assassination of John Kerry, Jack Murtha and Jimmy Carter, all former military officers who were accused of everything from being cowards to traitors because of their opposition to the Iraq war, there's nothing to discuss.

Now Patrick Cockburn at the Independent reports this new tidbit about the general:

Sabah Khadim, then a senior adviser at Iraq's Interior Ministry, says General Petraeus discussed with him his ambition when the general was head of training and recruitment of the Iraqi army in 2004-05.

"I asked him if he was planning to run in 2008 and he said, 'No, that would be too soon'," Mr Khadim, who now lives in London, said.
Mr. Khadim, who now lives in London, was at the time an adviser to the Iraqi Interior Ministry under then Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. Take this with a grain of salt considering the single sourcing and his unknown motives, even though the Bush Administration considers such low standards sufficient to invade Iraq (remember Curveball?).

As Bruce pointed out, Petraeus' superior, CENTCOM Chief Admiral William Fallon thinks him a sycophant, to put it mildly. Note that Fallon didn't come with Petraeus during his congressional testimony; that's a stark contrast to the united front of their predecessors, Generals John Abizaid and George Casey, which prompted Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) to suggest that Fallon be asked to testify.

Consider also how Petraeus carried water for the Bush Administration for years, including this 2004 Washington Post op ed where he tauted the training of the Iraqi forces:

Nonetheless, there are reasons for optimism... Training is on track and increasing in capacity. Infrastructure is being repaired. Command and control structures and institutions are being reestablished.
Three years later, that assessment turned out to be false, or at the very least misleading.

Now consider this info from Joe Klein, about how Petraeus redefined his "I don't know" answer to whether the Iraq war makes us safe after an apparent phone call from the White House.

Matthews: Let me ask you Joe, what's your estimate of the statement by Gen. Petraeus yesterday, some people call it honesty, candor, whatever you call it when he was asked is this war and this blood and treasure that we're losing in Iraq making us safer at home, he said "I don't know." I can't imagine Ike having said that at D-Day.

Klein: Well you know what? It was the truth, it's what he really believed. And then a very funny thing happened - I was in the room. They went into recess and clearly someone from the White House called him up and said "Are you kidding me?!" And when he came back he was asked another question by a Senator and he went back to that statement and he corrected himself and said he hadn't thought it through or whatever. I think that both Crocker and Petraeus...

Matthews: Well that's sort of like Charlie McCarthyism isn't it? Are they using this guy as their puppet? They said he's talking independently and the minute he gets off the talking points they fix him.
And lastly, these attempts at meme-spreading by the right wing New York Sun (h/t Jay Stevens), the National Review and the Weekly Standard (h/t Think Progress).

Given all that, is there a possibility that Petraeus is shilling for the Bush Administration to further his political ambitions? You decide.

posted at 5:30 PM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
(Dare to Know)
-- Epistularum Liber Primus, Horace

Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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