Saturday, April 26, 2008

Promoting Petraeus

David Petraeus is a general almost universally respected, and even many of the war's critics believe him an impressive commander. However, I doubt it is his expertise that landed Petraeus the spot running CENTCOM after the resignation of Admiral Fallon. Instead it was his effectiveness as a surrogate for the administration, dutifully talking about progress and radiating a sense of optimism in hearings before congress, then (ridiculously) blaming everything on Iran when things went wrong.
During the travesty of the recent ABC Democratic debate, one question of the only substantive questions was whether the candidates would still pull out if their commanders told them that it would lead to chaos. Both candidates said that they would continue with there plan.
In my opinion, the promotion is a masterstroke by the Bushies. I think it's clear that if Petraeus challenged the Democrats pullout plan, he would become even more beloved by the media than he already is. Colin Powell became among the most popular figures in the country after a lot of public, high-profile fights with the Clinton administration. In the past, Petraeus has shown he is willing to be a player in domestic political disputes. I doubt it will be any different if Petraeus is kept by the next administration.
Like Bush's Supreme Court picks, this is a way to extend Bushist policies beyond the end of his administration.
(Posted by Ewan)

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