No. In the name of God, Thor, Zeuss, Cthulhu and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, no. There are few people who personify the vapid, amoral fetid swamp of Washington politics and defense policy more than David Petraeus. Taking a huge part of the blame for propelling Petraeus from a solely military into an entirely political career is the Washington Post, which gave Petraeus a prime op-ed slot in September 2004, where he spewed wildly optimistic numbers on his accomplishments while training Iraqi troops. Petraeus further told us how victory was just around the corner, implying that if only Americans would re-elect George W. Bush, his plan would achieve full fruition. Active military personnel are not supposed to engage in politics, but Petraeus became political with that op-ed and Washington overlooked it, because that’s what Washington does and that’s what the Washington Post does.
Bush rewarded Petraeus for his role in the election by putting him in charge of US troops in Iraq. Petraeus didn’t impress his immediate superior, Admiral Fallon, who termed Petraeus an “ass-kissing little chickenshit” after their first meeting. Once in charge, Petraeus quickly established death squads. Things didn’t go all that well in Iraq, in part because everything Petraeus does fails miserably while he is busy explaining to us what a good job he is doing. By 2007, the Kagan brain-trust came up with the idea of the surge to “save” Iraq. Washington politics and defense policy prostitute Michael O’Hanlon was brought onto the job of helping to sell the surge. In the fall of 2007, an orchestrated Washington event, complete with a sideshow purchased in the New York Times for the “General Betrayus” ad, gave us Congressional hearings that resulted in approval for the surge. Completely overlooked at that time was the inconvenient fact that a major part of the Iraq plan moving forward from that point involved a total restart of training Iraqi troops because Petraeus failed spectacularly in his previous attempt at training. But Washington and the Washington Post did not call out Petraeus for that failure, because that’s what Washington and the Washington Post do.
Petraeus was next promoted by Bush in late 2008 to Fallon’s previous position in charge of CentCom. It was quite clear to Barack Obama once he took office that Petraeus had his sights set on becoming president, so Obama made a very interesting move when he sent Petraeus down in rank to take command in Afghanistan after Petraeus’ protege Stanley McChrystal was fired for insubordination in July of 2010. Because lying about training had worked in advancing his career in Iraq, it appears that fudging the numbers on ANSF capabilities was one of the first things Petraeus did once in charge in Afghanistan. He was caught in this by the GAO, who pointed out that criteria for ANSF readiness were being changed to increase the number of troops qualifying for the most advanced classification, but it appears that only SIGAR and I care about those lies. Washington and the Washington Post ignored those dishonest moves by Petraeus, because that’s what Washington and the Washington Post do.
After Petreaus had been in charge in Afghanistan for six months or so, political handlers stepped into the picture to try to burnish his image for a future run for president. Central figures in Vets for Freedom penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal stating that Petraeus should become the first five star general since Omar Bradley in 1950, preparing the way for him to follow Dwight Eisenhower who also was a five star general before he became president. Vets for Freedom brought us none other than Allen West in 2010, who put so much crazy into the Party of Crazy that his own party gerrymandered him into a district he could not win in 2012. The group did not appear to be active in 2012, and one of the op-ed authors, Pete Hegseth, failed very early in a Senate campaign in Minnesota in 2012 and the other, Wade Zirkle, seems fortunately for us to be fading from the scene. But the political connections for Petraeus continued, as he gave prominent desk space to the Kagan brain trust so that they could help oversee their Surge II from inside Afghanistan.
Petraeus had to have believed once he was nominated to run the CIA that his pathway to the presidency was becoming a virtual certainty. But then karma struck Petraeus in a most spectacular way. In launching his military career, Petraeus was not content with the advantage of merely graduating from West Point, so he married the West Point Commandant’s daughter. When Paula Broadwell lowered her standards, and then her pants, to engage in an affair with the man she thought that her glowing biography would help propel to the presidency, she instead brought his career and his presidential aspirations to a halt when the affair was exposed.
Remarkably, Holly Petraeus, as far as I know, did not pick up a spare bayonet and neuter David when he returned home. Even more remarkably, she didn’t pick up the telephone and engage a lawyer to separate him from his fiscal assets instead of removing his physical ones. She displayed a quiet grace and determination as the scandal unfolded. In my opinion, his every waking hour for the rest of his life should be spent begging her forgiveness.
But it appears that the Washington and Washington Post designated time for Petraeus to sit in the penalty box has been determined to be only five months. How can these fools believe Petraeus has already paid his debt when the FBI is still investigating how Broadwell came into possession of classified documents while he ran CIA? Despite all these failures by Petraeus, both professional and personal, Washington and the Washington Post now appear to be hell-bent on bringing Petraeus and his career out of the trash heap and so he has a new op-ed. The op-ed in today’s Post is co-authored by Michael O’Hanlon who has learned nothing from his lifetime of being wrong about war and those who promote it. There is no pretense in the op-ed of staying only within military policy, the piece reads like nothing less than a listing of positions by a candidate running for office. Petraeus has failed his country and his wife in spectacular fashion, but Washington and the Washington Post are gearing up to unleash him on the world once again, possibly as president. How many more countries will the US invade, with their cultures destroyed and hundreds of thousands of them dead needlessly and violently if this man comes back into the Washington conversation?
No. Just no. Do not listen to this man, he is poison.