defending David Petraeus without actually addressing the real problems with David Petraeus's record. And those are the fact that he manipulated the White House into escalating in Afghanistan; he ran a campaign in Iraq that was brutally savage, included arming the worst of the worst, Shiite death squads, Sunni militiamen; and then you go back to the training of the Iraqi army program that also had similar problems. So, for me, all the while, he's going around the country talking about honor and integrity.
Keeping the faith, by contrast, Cliff Kincaid of GOPUSA argues that Petraeus is being martyred by the Obama Administration in some mysterious fashion that includes blaming Rep. Eric Cantor for doing nothing with his tip from the originating FBI agent other than pass it on to the FBI head office:
" a national security scandal that could have stopped President Obama's re-election campaign dead in its tracks. But the potentially devastating "October Surprise" was hushed up by Republicans. Although all the details are not yet available and new disclosures are coming every day, it appears that the scandal involves the CIA director leaking classified information to his mistress and the FBI not holding David Petraeus accountable for his immoral and illegal conduct. In short, it is the worst scandal of the Obama Administration and makes the third-rate burglary in the Watergate scandal look minor by comparison.
How Badly Could Obama Feel About This Loss?
It's hard to see how President Obama could regret having a charismatic, ambitious, self-serving, independent rival like Petraeus taken off the board before his second term begins. But to conjure up a conspiracy theory in which the President plotted and schemed to oust his CIA chief would seem to require a belief that Obama is somehow a secret liberal, or something better.
The evidence seems clear that President Obama is devoted to the CIA's assassination-by-drone program and was very much in favor of Petraeus' plan for "the conversion of the CIA into even more of a paramilitary organization than it has ever been before," as Greenwald asserted.
This seems wholly consistent with the Petraeus record, of which some of the highlights have been:
- promoting ethnic cleansing in Iraq;
- using depleted uranium weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan;
- supporting the Patriot Act and other attacks on civil liberties;
- tolerating torture and other human rights violations in Iraq and Afghanistan;
- wounding and killing thousands of non-combatants in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Honor and War Crimes
David Petraeus has made major contributions to some of the most disastrous policies of the our recent past, and some of those contributions are war crimes. Or they would be war crimes if they were adjudicated, and they won't be. As a country, we have long since stopped holding our leaders accountable for doing what we condemn sometimes when others do it.