Lord knows I’ve never had any real regard for David Petreaus; have regarded him as much more of a politician than a general. And you all know by now how I feel about politicians.
He wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post just before the 2004 election which was an undisguised advocacy for the reelection of George Bush; a move which is unconscionable in a serving officer and should have gotten him fired. It got him promoted, by Bush of course.
I watched him testifying to Congress about missing weapons in Iraq and telling them how his command was "so desperate to distribute weapons" that they were "literally kicking them out the doors" of helicopters at hot landing zones. It was clear to me that he was either incompetent or lying at that point. Since when do you throw weapons out of helicopters when you don't know which side will pick them up? Not to mention that, given the amount of weapons that were missing, something like 3500 helicopters would have been required to carry them. Congress, of course, lapped it up and thanked him for his service.
The missing weapons were arguably sold on the black market to the insurgency during his command, and a senior colonel named Ted Westhusing committed suicide and left a message accusing Petreaus of failing to properly supervise his command. It was covered up, so we will never know the truth of the matter, and Petreaus was again promoted.
He commanded a staff which rewrote the counterinsurgency manual, put his name on it and took full credit for the work of his staff. He then took credit for the work of his predecessors in Iraq who had enrolled the Sunni tribes in fighting against al-Queda and became known as author of the “surge,” which had nothing to do with anything, and savior of the war in Iraq.
Pertinent to more recent events, any serving officer who allows a “journalist” to follow him around for months for the purpose of writing a biography about him is a self-seeking publicity hound and is utterly beneath contempt.
All of that being said, that he is summarily removed from command of the CIA, either by himself or by Obama, for something so trivial as an extramarital affair with a woman not under his authority strikes me as absurd beyond belief.
We have members of Congress who engage in prolonged affairs with their own staff members, and not only are they not removed from office, but Congress does not even discipline or admonish them, and when they run for an additional term they are reelected. We have a Senator who drove one of his extramarital affairs off a bridge and drowned her, and he served another four decades in the Senate, being reelected six times. We have a president not only engaging in extramarital affairs, but doing so in the damned oval office, and we reelected him and regard him as one of the nation’s greatest statesmen even today.
But for some reason, Petreaus boinks a journalist and he is gone with not even one day’s notice. The mind utterly boggles.
Good post. I especially like the part alluding to the liberal lion (as I have heard him called).ReplyDelete
I never though much of Petreaus either but there is something more to his resignation than what is being reported.
I never had much regard for Ted Kennedy, but that's another story.ReplyDelete
Petraeus as head of the CIA can be fired. Politicians can only be voted out. And you know how that goes in this country. Technically they can be impeached, but that's rare to the point of nullity.
Congress can censure or admonish its members in the ethics committe, or can do so as a body. They can also refuse to admit elected members and can eject members whom they deem unfit to serve, requiring the district or state to elect a new member. That has been done, in fact, but I don't believe it has been done in the past hundred years or so.ReplyDelete
Read what Arthur Silber has to say about Petraeus:ReplyDelete