THE ACTING GENERAL

Who is Petraeus?

Who is Petraeus?

He’s George W’s new man in Iraq, of course, the army general designated not only to be the latest U.S. commander of that woeful war, but also touted by Bush as someone much grander – an independent, straight-shooting military man the American public can trust. After his September report to congress, in which he claimed that “progress” was being made and that our troops should stay in Iraq’s civil war for the foreseeable future, Petraeus was hailed in the media as some combination of John Wayne and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

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But wait – the Wayne and Smith characters were actors… and so is David Petraeus. He’s long been an ambitious partisan player, using his uniform to be a loyal pitchman for Bush’s war. Though he’s a general, he’d never even seen combat until he went to Iraq – and he wasn’t very good at the actual military side of generaling.

For example, Petraeus was made head of the Security Transition Command, charged with training a new Iraqi army that could steadily take over from our troops. What he produced is a giant SNAFU – an army that is notoriously inept, untrustworthy, and corrupt. It’s so bad that Bush had to resort to sending an extra 30,000 American troops to do what Petraeus’s Iraqi army was supposed to do.

Yet, Petraeus, dutifully acting as partisan pitchman, wrote an article in the Washington Post just before the 2004 presidential election painting a rosy picture of success for his training effort and for Bush’s war strategy, assuring voters that everything was “on track” in Iraq. So it’s no surprise that the cinematic army general was trusted by Bush and Cheney to be their frontman for extending the war.

Did I mention that Petraeus is also politically ambitious? He confided to a senior Iraqi official that he hopes to come home and run for president, possibly in 2012.

“President Petraeus? Iraqi Official Recalls the Day US General Revealed Ambition,” www.truthout.org, September 13, 2007

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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