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So if Petraeus isn't a political general, why is he thinking of running for President?


Missed this one, alas. The Independent:

The US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, expressed long-term interest in running for the US presidency when he was stationed in Baghdad, according to a senior Iraqi official who knew him at that time.

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.

"Too soon"? Funny, you'd think that Petraeus would want to be President in 2008, since he could clean up the Iraq mess better as President than he could as a mere General.

Unless, well, unless cleaning up the Iraq mess isn't something Petraeus is interested in doing?

Let's look at the record:

For a soldier whose military abilities and experience are so lauded by the White House, General Petraeus has had a surprisingly controversial career in Iraq. His critics hold him at least partly responsible for three debacles: the capture of Mosul by the insurgents in 2004; the failure to train an effective Iraqi army and the theft of the entire Iraqi arms procurement budget in 2004-05.

So, pre-oppo researchers: Better get this together now before the record gets scrubbed:

General Petraeus went to Iraq during the invasion of 2003 as commander of the 101st Airborne Division and had not previously seen combat. He first became prominent when the 101st was based in [1] Mosul, in northern Iraq, where he pursued a more conciliatory line toward former Baathists and Iraqi army officers than the stated US policy.

His efforts were deemed successful. ... Although Mosul remained quiet for some months after, the US suffered one of its worse setbacks of the war in November 2004 when insurgents captured most of the city. The 7,000 police recruited by General Petraeus either changed sides or went home. Thirty police stations were captured, 11,000 assault rifles were lost and $41m (£20m) worth of military equipment disappeared. Iraqi army units abandoned their bases.

The general's next job was to oversee the training of a new Iraqi army [Failing upward! A classic loyal Bushie!]. As head of the Multinational Security Transition Command, General Petraeus claimed that his efforts were proving successful. In an article in The Washington Post in September 2004, he wrote: "Training is on track and increasing in capacity. Infrastructure is being repaired. Command and control structures and institutions are being re-established." This optimism turned out be misleading; three years later the Iraqi army is notoriously ineffective and corrupt.

General Petraeus was in charge of [3] the Security Transition Command at the time that the Iraqi procurement budget of $1.2bn was stolen. "It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history," Iraq's Finance Minister, Ali Allawi, said. "Huge amounts of money disappeared. In return we got nothing but scraps of metal."

So, there you have it. A classic tale of a loyal Bushie, turning everything he touches to shit, failing upward, and being teabagged by an extremely complaisant press. We know the drill.

In fact, it looks to me like a telegenic presence and his cool name, "Petraeus. ("On this rock I will build my Iraq policy kick the can down the road.") Which means that Move-On's sonic riff, "Betray Us," was 100% on target, which is why the Republicans howled so loud when they got hit with it.

So, by any conventional metric, Petraeus's record has been a miserable failure (except, as I say, on the teebee).

But what if .... What if there were a world through the looking glass

1. A collapsed Iraqi police force

2. An untrained Iraqi army

3. $1.2 billion lost with nothing to show for it

and most importantly:

4. Getting away clean, as shown by the hearings*

are all metrics of success?

If creating chaos in Iraq is indeed part of The Plan by the contractors and mercenaries to profit on war for years to come**, and the Conservative politicians and the VRWC who use war to win elections with, then Petraeus has done an excellent job for them, and deserves his promotion. He has been an excellent political general (or, in the vulgate, a chickenshit little asshole).

Of course, if that's really the way the world works, that would entail a staggering amount of corruption, corruption of all kinds: intellectual, financial, legal, even spiritual.... Oh, wait...

NOTE * Getting away clean would be key to getting away clean, because only in that way can the confidence game continue. Therefore, the role of our famously free press is not peripheral, but central.

NOTE ** Here the worldviews of the Plutocrats and the Christianists dovetail neatly. The Plutocrats want chaos to profit from; the Christianists want chaos to bring on the Rapture. Both are willing to do whatever it takes the achieve their goals.

UPDATE I notice that Petraeus still has not insisted that Tooliani pull the ad using his name. Shit, at this rate, I'm gonna start thinking Petraeus is a made man, a full-fledged Repblican operative. That would explain the chickenshit part, wouldn't it?

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chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

but you do a much better job of it. he's a loyal bushie alright, and only a loyal bushie living in a bubble of unreality would believe that there is a future in that sort of political orientation.

it's telling that he understands how the unreal narrative of his glory will be created for him in the media. it'll take them four-six years to rehabilitate him. that's saying a lot about what he believes they can do, and how he expects iraq to be in the future.

Submitted by lambert on

I'd be insulted by the whole Petraeus Bubble if I didn't know it was "just business."

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on


nd, well looky-here the Manual on CounterInsurgency by Petraeus et al says...

1-85. In almost every case, the counterinsurgent faces a populace containing an active minority supporting a government and a similar militant faction opposing it. To be successful, the government must be accepted as legitimate by most of that uncommitted middle, which also includes passive supporters of both sides. Because of the ease of sowing disorder, it is usually not enough for a counterinsurgent to get 51 percent of popular support; a solid majority is often essential.
- Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual (Pg 24 or 242)

Which means that by their own "Manual" in Anbar WE ARE FUCKED!

In a survey conducted Aug. 17-24 for ABC News, the BBC and NHK, the Japanese broadcaster, among a random national sample of 2,212 Iraqis, 72 percent in Anbar expressed no confidence whatsoever in United States forces. Seventy-six percent said the United States should withdraw now — up from 49 percent when we polled there in March, and far above the national average.

Withdrawal timetable aside, every Anbar respondent in our survey opposed the presence of American forces in Iraq — 69 percent “strongly” so. Every Anbar respondent called attacks on coalition forces “acceptable,” far more than anywhere else in the country. All called the United States-led invasion wrong, including 68 percent who called it “absolutely wrong.” No wonder: Anbar, in western Iraq, is almost entirely populated by Sunni Arabs, long protected by Saddam Hussein and dispossessed by his overthrow.

And it's not like the population there supports the local authorities either:
Anbar’s tribal leaders may have any number of motivations for their alliance with the United States. It’s been reported that the United States government has provided them arms, matériel and money, as well as undertaking more than $700 million in reconstruction projects in the province.

But it seems clear that popular sentiment in Anbar is another matter entirely. Indeed, one other result from our poll may be of particular interest to Anbar’s tribal leaders and the United States military alike: Just 23 percent in Anbar expressed confidence in their “local leaders”; 77 percent had little or none. That’s better than it was in March — but still nearly the lowest level of confidence in local leaders we measured anywhere in Iraq.

Confidence in local leaders, as it happens, is lower only in Diyala — the other province Mr. Bush mentioned in his speech as a focal point of progress in Iraq.

It would be nice if a few enterprising reporters (as opposed to us wild-eyed crazy fuckin' bloggers) would compare the Counterinsurgency Manual Petraeus is said to have written and the actual dynamics of Iraq -- other than say Michael Ware.

so much for the "miracle of anbar."