Friday, January 05, 2007
God can infest you with maggots, my son:
I first met Lieutenant General David Petraeus a year ago, at Fort Leavenworth, where Petraeus runs the Combined Arms Center. All I'll say about our conversation is that you should believe the hype. There wasn't a single question I could pose to him that he hadn't thought through, and thought through thoroughly. Woe to any journalist who gets assigned the hit-piece on Petraeus now that Bush is sending him to replace General Casey in Baghdad. I suppose you can write it. But you'll feel extremely dirty afterward.

Petraeus was the only senior officer to leave Iraq with his stature enhanced. His success in Mosul -- putting people to work, and quickly; an emphasis on public safety -- was perfectly suited to the 2003-4 moment, and it evaporated as soon as Petraeus left to command the training mission for Iraqi security forces in 2004-5. In that effort, it's an open question as to whether Petraeus failed, or whether the mission ever had any chance of success.

At this point, Petraeus is in a horrible dilemma. He has no plausible way of refusing this assignment. Yet Iraq is beyond repair. Bush is using Petraeus -- the only symbol of wisdom and, indeed, success that the military has left -- as a human shield. He has no problem putting Petraeus through the agony of Iraq if it means a more "dramatic" move on Wednesday. If there's any irony here, it's that the arrival of Petraeus in Baghdad will make it harder for anyone to argue that the war was lost on the home front, since now it's in the hands of the wisest general in the U.S. Army.
--Spencer Ackerman
Here's your first hit piece:
Shorter version: after you subtract the cloud of rhetoric, what successes do you see?
Blogger Jim | 6:37 PM

I think Abizaid is pretty cool but he couldn't do anything with Iraq.
Blogger stress | 1:30 PM

Roger that on Patraeus, but what about ADM Fallon? I work with a bunch of retired o-5 level guys, a couple who just came from PACOM, and they all tell me they hate Fallon, as does everyone who had to work for him. A complete bastard.
Blogger N.D. Burnside | 7:57 PM