General David Petraeus, the almost holy man that every member of congress in hearings recently paid homage to and sucked up to royally may not be nearly as apolitical as sycophantically suggested by his right wing and Dem admirers say.
Patrick Cockburn, writing in Counterpunch, reports,
US commander in Iraq Gen David Petraeus expressed long-term interest in running for the US presidency when he was stationed in Baghdad three years ago according to a senior Iraqi official who knew him at that time.
Sabah Khadim, then a senior adviser and spokesman at the Iraqi Interior Ministry, says that Gen Petraeus discussed with him his long term ambition to be president when the general was head of training and recruitment of the Iraqi army in 2004-5.
“I asked him if he was planning to run in 2008 and he said ‘no, that would be too soon,” said Mr Khadim who now lives in London.
Gen Petraeus has a reputation in the US army for being a man of great ambition. If he succeeds in reversing America’s apparent failure in Iraq he would be a natural candidate for the White House in the presidential election in 2012 or beyond.
His able defence of the ‘surge’ in US troop numbers in Iraq as a success before Congress this week has made Gen Petraeus the best known active soldier in America, An articulate, intelligent and energetic man he has always shown skill in managing the media and impressing politicians.
But Cockburn suggests that in light of Petraeus' expressed interest in a political future, it "may lead critics to suggest that his own political ambitions have influenced him in putting an optimistic gloss on the US military position in Iraq."
Another problem Petraeus may have is explaining the way huge sums of money and equipment disappear under his watch. Cockburn reports,
For a soldier whose military abilities and experience are so lauded by the White House Gen Petraeus has had a surprisingly controversial career during the war in Iraq. His critics hold him at least partly responsible for three important debacles: The capture of Mosul by the insurgents in 2004, the failure to train an effective Iraqi army and the theft of the entire Iraqi arms procurement budget in 2004-5.
In Mosul, Cockburn reports,
The 7,000 police trained and recruited by Gen Petraeus changed sides or went home, 30 police stations were captured by the anti-US resistance, 11,000 assault rifles were lost and $41 million worth of military equipment disappeared. Iraqi army units also abandoned their bases.
I'm not one to routinely agree with Moveon, which all too often sides with the centrists, selling out progressives, but in this case, where they called the man "General Betray Us," it looks like they were on the money. (Double entendre not intended.)