Good news is, Petraeus knows how to do the job

On the one hand, it’s a great shame for someone who by many accounts is a fine officer to lose his job. Insubordination is insubordination, but it’s not a happy day for America when the president has to bust the top guy in a war zone where things haven’t been going well.

On the other hand, at least we know Gen. Petraeus knows how to get the job done if anyone can. He is literally the man who wrote the book on counterinsurgency, and he showed he could put his theories into effective practice by saving the mission in Iraq.

Frankly, I sort of hated to seem him bumped upstairs to MacDill, leaving implementation of his plans to subordinates. As hairy as things are in Afghanistan, it’s good to know it will be run, on the scene, by the guy who knows how to turn things around.

Other thoughts?

16 thoughts on “Good news is, Petraeus knows how to do the job

  1. Brad

    Another thought on this: I think President Obama showed great perspicacity on this one, as a politician and more importantly as commander in chief.

    As CINC, he could not brook such insubordination (not that the insubordination was so severe, but was so careless). But by choosing Petraeus, he made the ONE move that could actually improve the military situation on the ground — and, almost just as importantly, American morale. He turned a potentially devastating morale problem into a plus. Which is no mean feat.

  2. Brad

    Dugout Doug isn’t here at the moment. He faded away or something. But he said he’d be back…

    Yeah, Burl. I’m much comforted that now we’ll have a guy over there who believes in winning.

  3. Pat

    Petraeus himself would not have tolerated such insubordination, so he expected his dismissal/resignation. A leader leads by example; he had to go to maintain military discipline. He was in a much too high of a position to not have had more self control than that. Worse still, his inner circle felt so free to talk and say such things. The President handled it appropriately.

  4. Burl Burlingame

    I wonder that McChrystal didn’t deliberately set this in motion. Lost in the snarky comments about his commanders were some plaintive thoughts by McChrystal about the futility of the Afghan mission. Better to be relieved by Obama and become a hero to his winger buddies rather than be the guy who turned off the lights in Kabul.

  5. Brad

    I haven’t had time to watch all of this yet, but what I have seen of this video impressed me. It’s John McCain, Joe Lieberman and our own Lindsey Graham reacting to the news. All that I heard I agreed with. But then, when those three guys agree on something, I usually agree with all three of them.

  6. Pat

    Brad, I watched the video. I was impressed all the way through. Moreover, I am proud of the manner in which Sen. Graham represents us. In fact, it gives me a sense of comfort that we have at least some real leadership in Washington.

  7. Burl Burlingame

    Can you imagine our own fathers talking smack about President Johnson? Of course. Can you imagine them doing it in front of the on-the-record press, the eyes and ears of the American public? Not unless they wanted civvy suits in a hurry.
    There are already bunches of people whining about how the president should get out of the way of the generals who are waging war. Sorry, we don’t live in that country.
    It’s not as if he were trying to get some hidden truth out. To deliberately sow disharmony in the chain of command is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. That’s why what McChrystal did is listed as a potential courts-martial offense. He got off light.

  8. bud

    Just because a mission has been declared a success by any number of second-rate journalists doesn’t make it so. With political chaos and continued suicide bombings Iraq is still a quagmire. This is nothing new of course but the pro-war folks have to continue to roll out their alternative version of history to justify their sorry logic for “staying the course”.

  9. Phillip

    Exactly, Burl. McChrystal complained about Eikenberry covering his posterior when the history of this episode is written, but he was doing exactly the same thing here. Given the continuing fiscal crisis at home, I think the Afghanistan mission is in its final months, save for some intel guys and drone missiles hanging around to try to contain and pick off a few terrorists.

  10. Bart


    I agree with you. McChrystal and his staff are not incompetents and with the understanding that Rolling Stone is not a conservative publication, what else can one deduct from their actions and words?

    Get out before it becomes a total failure, let someone else shoulder the blame. Then again, if this was his strategy, to save his own skin and reputation, what are we to think of his character when it counts? Go down with the ship or save face?

    His replacement is the perfect choice. Time will tell.

  11. Kristin Sinclair

    Being, someone who was opposed to the war in Afganistan from the beginning I feel very much compassion for the military personnel who are trying to carry out a very huge mission. A task which has factors which people from our culture would have great difficulty completely understanding.
    The British, spent precious human life, as well as their countries hard earned funds in the area, the Soviet Union spent precious human
    life, as well as their countries hard earned funds in the area.
    Long before we sent our precious human life and our hard earned dollars into these lands which have a totally different compass which guides how right and wrong, and just and unjust are determined.
    I am not certain that either of those countries could tell us, that the human toll was worth the end result.
    My compassion is deep felt for any commander who is trying to find a way to bring about something that could be positive from this conflict which has lasted so long….By now, we have a whole new generation of people who have viewed our involvement in their country and their tribal area, and their families through a lense, that was not even considered as a point of view to warrant to much energy initially. Revenge is such a powerful force it can do an awful lot to cloud thinking skills.
    To not, be given enough thought, to not have listened to the military personnel that told our former commander in chief not to begin this war. Is something that, now requires more in depth thinking. When we first began our portion of this war we as a country were angry. We rarely make wise decisions during times of angry or weak government leader ship.
    My compassion goes out to those who are trying to find workable solutions to this situation.

  12. j

    Burl – Thanks for your two posts. I thought that was one of the Gen’s motivations from the start of this story.

  13. Rob Evans

    The elements of “saving the mission in Iraq” are:

    1. News blackout (due to laziness on the part of reporters more than any sort of actual plan). There’s plenty of devastation still going on, but reporters mostly don’t pay attention to it.

    2. The ethnic cleansing that was going on is mostly finished. Once a population has been driven out of an area, there’s no longer a population to attack.

    3. Payoffs to our enemies. Large amounts of protection money were paid and are still being paid to insurgent groups to keep them from attacking. That sort of thing works, but I’m not exactly sure it’s a good long-term approach. Petraeus’s experience with paying protection money makes him the right guy to continue the Afghanistan strategy, which consists in large part of payoffs to the Taliban.

    If orchestrating the coverup of the circumstances of Pat Tillman’s death makes McChrystal a fine officer, then OK hes a fine officer. I would have thought truthfulness and integrity were indispensable characteristics of a fine officer, but maybe that’s just me.

Comments are closed.