Saturday, January 20, 2007
lip sync apology, lip sync salutations:
It's not escalation. It's not even a surge. It's not Bush's war. This is the Dawning of the Age of Petraeus. (Yes, it would help if "Petraeus" had another syllable. But bear with me.)

The Weekly Standard has nowhere to go with the Iraq war. In Kristol and Fred Kagan's editorial this week, their big knock-out punch to the Democrats is that they might believe the Iraq war is... lost. Well, guess what.

So what's left? One option is to cloak themselves in a hero -- namely, General David Petraeus. In that editorial, K & FK hug Petraeus closely: "There is one man who should be recommending the size of American forces in Iraq, and that is the incoming commander, General Petraeus." (Somewhat ironic, given that they've been opining on troop levels for four years, but hey.) In the same issue, Tom Donnelly ejaculates all over the general, without revealing anything in particular about Petraeus.

It's not hard to see what's at work here. Petraeus is an American hero, as his nomination hearing next week will prove. There's nothing to gain by keeping a failed president as the public face of the war. As a result, those implicated in the war, like the Standard, have everything to gain by becoming Petraeus's best friends and closest allies. When he fails, they will say that, like Creighton Abrams, alas, Petraeus's predecessors had fucked things up in such a way that even a hero like Petraeus could not unfuck them. It's a line that will have the virtue of being true. And if Petraeus ever desires to um, enter politics, perhaps he'll remember who his closest allies back home were.
--Spencer Ackerman