Petraeus a Sycophant? Where's Senate now?

October 03, 2007 by susan
Petraeus in gear

From the Pensito Review. Too good to miss. (H-T randi)

American Conservative Mag Mocks Petraeus As ‘Sycophant Savoir’ - Will Congress Condemn It Like They Did the Ad?

The cover of the October 8, 2007, issue of Pat Buchanan’s magazine, American Conservative, shows a photo of Gen. David Petraeus under the headline, “Sycophant Savior.” The cover story is subheaded, “General Petraeus wins a battle in Washington — if not in Baghdad.” It's all here.

Beyond the headline, the American Conservative article is harshly critical of the general and the partisan political role he has chosen to play. The writer, Andrew J. Bacevich, describes Petraeus as a “politcal general of the worst kind — one who indulges in the politics of accommodation that is Washington’s bread and butter but has thereby deferred a far more urgent political imperative, namely, bringing our military policies into harmony with our political purposes.”

Bacevich accuses Petraeus of deploying a strategy in Iraq that is designed to succeed politically in Washington, not militarily in Iraq:

"Petraeus has chosen a middle course, carefully crafted to cause the least amount of consternation among various Washington constituencies he is eager to accommodate. This is the politics of give and take, of horse trading, of putting lipstick on a pig. Ultimately, it is the politics of avoidance."

Petraeus’ critics make a good case, says Bacevich, when they accuse him of “…relying on dubious statistics, with ignoring facts that he finds inconvenient, and with discovering trends where none exist. They question whether to credit the much-touted progress in Anbar province to American shrewdness or to the vagaries of Iraqi sectarian and tribal politics. They cite the pathetic performance of the corrupt and dysfunctional Iraqi government. They note the disparity between the Petraeus assessment and those offered by the intelligence community, by the Government Accountability Office, and by congressionally appointed blue-ribbon commissions. They point out that other highly qualified and well-informed senior military officers — notably, Gen. George Casey, the army chief of staff, and Adm. William Fallon, commander of United States Central Commad –have publicly expressed views notably at odds with those of General Petraeus.”

If the surge is working, as Petraeus claimed in his congressional testimony, a strong military leader would exploit the opportunities provided by the increased security by pouring in resources to bring the enemy to bay. Instead, Petraeus recommends ending the surge by reducing forces. The only reason for acting in such a counter-military way, Bacevich suggests, is politics. The strategy has nothing to do with “victory” in Iraq, and everything to do with appeasing Petraeus’ interest groups in Washington, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, moderate Republicans in Congress (as well as the Democrats) and even Pres. Bush.

Bacevich concludes:

"Politically, it qualifies as a brilliant maneuver. The general’s relationships with official Washington remain intact. Yet he has broken faith with the soldiers he commands and the Army to which he has devoted his life. He has failed his country. History will not judge him kindly."

When criticized Petraeus for many of these same reasons in its much vilified ad with the headline, “General Petraeus or General Betray Us? Cooking the books for the White House,” the Senate passed a resolution condemning the liberal group that read:

To express the sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.

We’ll be waiting (but not holding our breath) to see if anyone drafts a similar measure condemning the American Conservative magazine.

Posted in


Perhansa (not verified) | October 4, 2007 - 11:05am

Why are we worrying about petty things like this when our city is being taken over by a "mob" of egregious, lawbreaking, narcistic, tyrannical bicyclists exercising their right to non-violent civil disobedience? At least that's the state of the city according to K. Kersten in today's Strib.

Holy S***! Fear hath no bounds! Bicyclists no less...what has the state of urban terrorism evolved to? How could this transpire right under our very noses?

They call themselves Critical Mass and they bring disruption and desecration to people's lives by making them late for the last few minutes of their kid's soccer game or late for a favorite play at the theatre all because they are self-absorbed nihilists and spoiled "liberal" troublemakers with too much time and money on their hands. And want some serious attention paid to them to feel worthwhile.

Forget the bloodbath in Iraq. Forget the Middle East, Russia, Darfur, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Syria, Iran, we got serious troubles right here in River City. And top notch journalists and thinkers in our mass media to bring it to our attention.

Get in your cars and trucks and SUV's and combat these misguided thugs.

There oughta be law!

Can life get anymore absurd? And our leading paper has the temerity to print this infantile sh** as worthy of our attention?

This is the state of affairs we find ourselves in. No wonder we can't dig ourselves out. I'm not blaming myself for the poor judgment of the local press and their shrill, neofacist columnist. It simply points to the overwhelmingness of the hurdle we think we can overcome. And, we're reduced to bickering over whose ad betrays the "GENERAL" more and who should condemn whom. And whether we come up with the funds to insure kids (or adults). We got needs in the military industrial complex! And don't tell me the Dems aren't playing politics with the SCHIPS.

Whoa is me...


barbara aka babs (not verified) | October 4, 2007 - 2:32pm

>>>This is required reading via LeftyMN.

It is time for every one of us to demand -- yes, DEMAND -- that impeachment proceedings begin for Bush, Cheney and any other slithery beings that populate the White House, cabinet, DOJ and DOD.

I don't care if impeachment is inconvenient. I don't care if it may not be consummated.

It is time for the toughest tool to come out of its tool belt. Admittedly, there is no blue dress. What there is, however, is the most reprehensible, immoral, dangerous, loose cannon administration in this country's history. As I told LeftyMN, America was vastly better off under the tyrrany of the first King George than under this addicted mewling, puking, faux Christian boy child with anger and morality problems.

Help me out here. What must we do next? Because I'm telling you that sitting on our asses doesn't cut it any more, if indeed it ever did.

If impeachment proceedings are not brought against Cheney and Bush, we set a precedent so terrifying most of us don't want to live to see the outcome. Failure to prosecute is the ultimate act of complicity. It is, in effect, condoning the acts of BushCo, because we can talk, talk, talk all day long. But time for that is past.

We have a medical situation in our household at the moment so here I am, just like everyone else, talking, talking, talking.

It is time to form a coalition of the outraged. How now?


perhansa (not verified) | October 4, 2007 - 5:09pm

We couldn't even send Scooter Libby to jail--it ain't gonna happen. If you don't have an office on K Street, you're opinion doesn't count. If you don't have the power you don't make the rules. The media is neutered. The well-informed citizenry doesn't exist. Might as well hope the icebergs reverse their slow melt in Antarctica.

We're in Iraq to stay because we have to protect the oil that drives our economy and most of the western world and anyone who f***s with us better watch out (i.e., Iran). The August Petraeus drama was pure Shakespearean theatre--the decisions had already been made and Congress was toothless and ball-less. Anyone see Harry or Nancy or Russ or anyone else taking up a hunger strike until we end the war?

They're all too invested and have too much too lose. Power always beats truth in the end. The truth may set us free but it doesn't put food on the table or sages on the throne.


susan | October 4, 2007 - 3:10pm

Whoo hoo! Perhansa, where you been? Missed you. I've been pondering Ms. Kersten's bicycle nightmare all day. I hate it when they "cork" the traffic. Just the other day I was running late to my pilates class, and a frickin' funeral went through the intersection and, get this, the cops were actually the ones who corked the intersection! I was livid. We all had to just sit there, and watch this whole loonnng line of cars run red lights. They have a right to attend their funeral or the grave or whatever, but I draw the line at not respecting the rules the rest of us have to live (get it?) by just because they're in mourning.


susan | October 4, 2007 - 8:46pm

Dammit, the rest of my comment didn't make it in and now I don't remember it. I said that there were, gasp, city council members in the mob, and um, I don't really go to Pilates, but I do ride my bike on as many errands as possible and that it's a sad day when you read your daily newspaper and think it's the Onion. And that I wasn't serious about the funerals.


Poet (not verified) | October 6, 2007 - 11:23am

The reaction to Critical Mass is just more proof of how "non-negotiable" our way of life is.

I appologize for my multiple posts in the previous entry--an accident and not deliberate I assure all.


susan | October 9, 2007 - 4:19pm

No problemo. We push a delete button. I apologize for our absence. I fled to Michigan (My name is Susan, and I'm an addict. Hooked on this place.) and Barb is looking after an under-the-weather mate. When in Michigan, I go into other space. Which is the whole point.
Keep talking to us, we love it.