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The Bad Judgment of Gen. David Petraeus

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Gen. David Petraeus is a good man and a great soldier with a track record of almost complete failure in his previous tours of duty in Iraq

Fact: After the initial phase of fighting, in the areas under his command, sectarian warfare ultimately escalated and his efforts for political agreements, while worthy, failed.

Fact: In his tour of duty commanding the training of the Iraqi military, his training results were a dismal failure, and all subsequent training programs have been to redo his failed efforts and undo the damage done during that tour of duty.

Fact: There have been major disappearances, losses and/or misplacement of large amounts of Iraqi weapons that were grossly mismanaged (at best) under his command. Almost certainly those weapons were ultimately sold on the Iraqi black market with some landing in the hands of criminals, insurgents and al Qaeda terrorists who used them to kill Americans and Iraqis…

Fact: Shortly before the 2004 presidential election Petraeus did something that active-duty commanders should not do. In late September he wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post obviously as a favor to the Bush campaign, in which he applauded what he called major progress by the Iraqi military, Iraqi police and Iraqi leadership.

It is bad enough that the general, a smart guy who knew what he was doing, interfered in the 2004 presidential election, in effect advocating the position of the Republican candidate, the incumbent, on the number-one issue of the campaign, only weeks before the vote…

We now learn the “Petraeus Report” was never the Petraeus Report; it was to be a report he drafted, to be rewritten and released with the language, forecasts and recommendations not of Petraeus, but the White House that has a long history of misrepresentation on matters regarding Iraq.

Even worse, we now learn that there will be no written report from Petraeus or the White House…

Members of Congress should read this and judge for themselves. In my humble opinion, [the Petraeus op-ed], written three years ago almost to the day, is a compendium of misjudgment and analysis and forecasts that a reasonable person might call delusional, and even the most charitable person would call disastrously wrong, with disastrous consequences for those who served during the three years after this op-ed was written…
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Brent Budowsky is a regular columnist on He served as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen, responsible for commerce and intelligence matters, including one of the core drafters of the CIA Identities Law. Served (more...)

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