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Is Petraeus 'out of control?'

Adam Serwer is a staff writer at The American Prospect, where he writes his own blog.

Responding to Bryan Curtis' review of Bob Woodward's recent book on the Afghanistan strategy deliberations within the White House, Andrew Sullivan has some harsh words for Gen. David Petraeus:

The canonization of Petraeus has got to stop. He follows in the footsteps of Colin Powell who mastered the art of Beltway schmoozing and press management. But at least Powell won a war where Petraeus has so far lost two (can anyone now believe, as Iraq descends into political chaos and increasing violence, that the surge was simply a face-saver to get most, but not all, of the US troops out, after failing to achieve the original war goals?).

And the Palin meme - that somehow members of the military have some kind of special status in a civilian republic and their political views demand more respect than those of others - is just as repugnant.

If Woodward's book raises serious questions about the president's strategy in Afghanistan, it's also indicative of a problematic trend toward the militarization of American foreign policy. Woodward's book shows a president boxed in by his military advisers -- including his secretary of defense, Robert Gates -- who were unwilling to devote much time to giving the president military options beyond a long-term surge of 40,000 troops that would draw down in 2016. The president eventually developed his own compromise between the counterterrorism strategy urged by Vice President Joe Biden and the full-blown counterinsurgency his military advisers were pushing for -- more than 30,000 troops with a drawdown date in 2011.

What we've seen in practice, though, is that the players in the White House who were pushing for a more long-term escalation have been among those most ardent about insisting that the 2011 date is "conditions-based" which is read by those opposed to the escalation as telegraphing a longer-term commitment.

Sullivan writes that this indicates that Petraeus is "out of control," but I think this problem is much bigger than Petraeus. Petraeus's job was to give the president the best advice possible -- the larger issue is the fact that advice from generals is seen as somehow sacrosanct, when it's actually the president's job as commander-in-chief to make the larger strategic decisions.

The fact is that the military is more trusted by the American people as an institution than the civilian leadership, as Marc Ambinder pointed out last October:

But the biggest paradox represented by the poll is this: while Americans oppose Gen. Stanley McChrystal's proposal, they want U.S. generals to make the decisions when it comes to troop levels. A full 62 percent said they had more confidence in "the generals running operations in the country," while only 25 percent said they had more confidence in the president and the secretary of Defense, when it comes to troop decisions.

That's a disturbing poll result -- it's not the military's job to make troop decisions, it's the president's job. But because the military is popular and trusted while politicians are not, there's a political incentive for politicians to use the military against their political opponents. That further erodes trust in civilian leadership while entrenching the notion that the president's job is to rubber-stamp the decisions made by his military advisers.

The thing is, politicians aren't the only ones who worry about their image. To the extent that there's been a "canonization" of Petraeus I'd argue the media is more responsible than Petraeus himself. The incentives to find a central hero in a sprawling narrative of war, the media's own desire to align itself with a popular figure in a time of conflict, and the general trend towards shoehorning complex events into simple stories all contributed to the current circumstances. 

The administration bears its share of responsiblity for this dynamic as well. While Obama's firing of McChrystal was regarded as a strong decision reinforcing the notion of civilian control of the military, by picking Petraeus, as Tom Ricks wrote in the aftermath of the decision, Obama was bolstering the idea that "he is the only competent general we have." I don't really think it's Petraeus who is "out of control"--rather, his status is a reflection of other troubling trends in American political life. 

By Adam Serwer  | September 27, 2010; 10:40 AM ET
 
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Comments

No. Next question?

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 27, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Adam Serwer, of course, is a former member of journ-O-list (along with Greg Sargent and Ezra Klein ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 27, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I hate thread titles that end with question marks!

The General is not out of control, so why the need for such a ridiculous headline? Is it a headline designed more to create heat, and site traffic, rather than shed light on the situation?

Posted by: Liam-still | September 27, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Well, I guess that means that I now have to agree with Andres Sullivan: Gen. Betray-us is officially "out of control". As for the polling about only 25% who said they had more confidence in the president and the secretary of Defense, when it comes to troop decisions, I'd bet that would drop to less than 5% if you took the SecDef out of the polling question ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 27, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure people understand roles and the roles are often convoluted because our politics is so out of whack with everyone trying to prove who's the biggest patriot out there.

If a CIC goes to the DoD to solve a problem, the DoD gives them a solution that involves troops. If they go to the State Department, they give them a solution that combines diplomacy intertwined with covert ops specialists.

The only plan that is made public is the DoD solution and possibly the diplomatic State Department solution while the State Department covert ops solution is kept under wraps and only surfaces in the form of the secret CIA army stories we've been seeing lately.

The DoD option was selected to help give cover to the covert portion of the battle and simply for the fact it takes boots on the ground to clear and hold, which was deemed necessary to "succeed" in Afghanistan and vice versa. Succeed being Afghanistan being able to manage their own country to a degree of success that won't allow Al-Qaeda to take hold again and flourish.

So, I don't know what people are complaining about. Obama asked the DoD for a plan. They gave him their options on what they thought they needed to succeed. I'm assuming he took that into account along with what the State Department told him and along with his staff, made a decision.

And, I don't know when competing ideas became such a bad notion. Group think got us into Iraq. Group think got our eye off the ball in Afghanistan.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 27, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Guys, I meant to announced that Adam Serwer will be doing a post a day here, which is great news. Treat him well.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 27, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

It is correct that the top General sees things from his own perspective while the Pres has to take into account everything, not just other military and foreign policy concerns but such things as the economy and budget, ie whether we can afford all these wars. The Pres is the only one with the total picture, which is why he gets to make the final decision.

A huge problem with elevating the military is that it makes military policy like health care--the people making the decisions aren't the ones who have to foot the bills. This is very dangerous, as we are seeing in both arenas.

Posted by: Mimikatz | September 27, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Traditionally - Americans united "at water's edge"

Partisan politics were for domestic issues, and we were supposed to unite in foreign matters.

The democrats voted FOR IRAQ and then they decided to make a political issue out of it - that I find to be WRONG. There should NEVER BE A CONSTANT HARPING ABOUT A WAR.

A guy in a position like Harry Reid should not be making statement like "the war is lost" when men are fighting in the field.

All this became PARTISAN PARTISAN PARTISAN for the democrats - it REALLY was NEVER NEVER ABOUT "What is the best national security policy for the nation."


Curious that at some point in this discussion "backing up Obama's ego" enters into the debate.


The question should always be "What is the best for the national security of the nation"


Curious that suddenly the democrats are looking to defend the President's turf to make "strategic decisions" - they certainly were NOT arguing along those lines when Bush was in office - so all that seems to be partisan-motivated - not based on national security objectives.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 27, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone reasonably argue that the military should be making the decisions as to when to start a war and when to finish it and how? This is like letting the banksters decide on the rules for transferring public money into their own pockets.

No military honcho is going to opt for what's best for the country if it interferes with his own career and promotions. These guys aren't all that well screwed together in the first place (see story on the military members who think aliens have been landing and interfering with our nuclear weapons and the stories about the christianists who are trying to use the US military to "christianize" the world), so to allow them any serious decision making leeway is asking for trouble.

Posted by: dkmjr | September 27, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

The idea that OBAMA LIED during the 2008 campaign about Afghanistan - and then did something else once in office HAS TO BE CONSIDERED HERE.


One can say that if Obama got up in the debates and said he was going to start pulling troops out of Afghanistan - Obama would have NEVER been elected.


The Generals, in a sense, are DOING WHAT OBAMA SAID HE WOULD DO DURING THE CAMPAIGN.


Any democrat who comes out and starts touting that "the President makes the decisions" - should have been saying the SAME THING ABOUT BUSH.


Somehow, I just don't think that happened - so there is a deceptive tone here which simply does not help the discussion at all, does it?


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 27, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Obama said during the 2008 campaign that Afghanistan is the "good war" - and that he would fight the war to make sure that this nation would not get attacked again.


SO WHAT'S THE PROBLEM???


Apparently Obama LIED -


All of a sudden we have a deceptive person who is being held up as having better judgement than people with decades of military experience?


No one buys that.


The democrats do not pass the smell test - they are consantly trying these silly arguments - and they never get very far.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 27, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Everyone knows that Bill Clinton said that Saddam had "weapons of mass destruction" - so what was the actual issue?


The Congressional Declaration against Iraq - which the democrats voted FOR - included 22 CAUSES FOR THE WAR.


Somehow, the democrats have LIED about all of this.


The democrats have LONG AGO ceased to have a serious discussion on this topic.


ONE CAUSE centered on CHEMICAL WEAPONS - there was a concern that Saddam would transfer chemical weapons to terrorists for use in American cities.

It really was not about nuclear weapons.


Saddam MAY not have had direct links with al Queda - however he could have started them - AND what about all the OTHER TERRORIST GROUPS THAT SADDAM WAS INVOLVED WITH ???


The position of the democrats NEVER holds up under any analysis - however at left wing meetings which became ECHO CHAMBERS - reason RARELY entered into the discussions.


This is the BASIC PROBLEM - the left has CEASED TO LISTEN TO REASON

Even on this blog, there are efforts to ignore conservatives - even when reason is at hand.


To be honest, I haven't seen one conservative say - Im going to scroll past this person - but the leftists say that in the blog - they aren't just doing it themselves - they are posting that intention to DISCOURAGE OPPOSING VIEWS.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 27, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I would like to point out one thing about Patraeus


I know he is in the book - however at some point he transferred from his post in Iraq to head up the Central Command in Tampa


When the McChrystal thing broke - Petraeus was asking to go to Afghanistan.


IF Petraeus didn't want to get in the middle of the Afghan mess, he could have asked Obama to keep him at Central Command in Tampa (which still had responsibility for Afghanistan - but is Central Command in Tampa, Florida)


AND the people who are making comments about Petraeus - appear wholly unfamiliar with Petraeus's counter-terrorism strategies - and how those are extremely important for national security.


Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 27, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"That's a disturbing poll result -- it's not the military's job to make troop decisions, it's the president's job"

No, as mentioned earlier, "it's actually the president's job as commander-in-chief to make the larger strategic decisions"--i.e., should we be going to war with Afghanistan or Iraq. Troop levels, bombing targets, troop movements . . . should not be the presidents decision, in the end, because he's really no more qualified to make them than I am. It's this a war to win or a military action? That's a presidential decision. How many tropps are needed to accomplish said objective should be up the the generals. Don't want them in charge of how many troops are needed for a war? Then don't go to war. Done and done.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 27, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I used to visit the daily dish regularly. Then Mr Sullivan decided that the only thing that mattered to him, and therefore to the entire universe, was gay rights.

Yet another liberal in conservative clothing. So Mr Serwer's contribution to the blog is a repeat of Mr Sullivan's rant. How so very amusing and uninformative.

Now let's look at this:
======================
Can anyone reasonably argue that the military should be making the decisions as to when to start a war and when to finish it and how? This is like letting the banksters decide on the rules for transferring public money into their own pockets.

No military honcho is going to opt for what's best for the country if it interferes with his own career and promotions. These guys aren't all that well screwed together in the first place (see story on the military members who think aliens have been landing and interfering with our nuclear weapons and the stories about the christianists who are trying to use the US military to "christianize" the world), so to allow them any serious decision making leeway is asking for trouble
==========================

I believe that the above captures the liberal view of the US Military very well. It has just the right mixture of arrogance and condescencion that so many liberals here seek to achieve.

Nice that this guy can insult the warrior caste. Thanks for showing us how liberals really feel.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | September 27, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

An idea that came out of the Pentagon 7 or 8 years ago -

Al Queda was out there - in the Middle East - and it had some momentum.


The idea was - fight the war over there or fight it in American cities.

IN a sense, that idea worked - al Queda was drawn into Iraq - and the fight was there in the Sunni areas of Iraq.


ALL the Al Queda that went to Iraq could have INSTEAD been trying to get into the US - and attacking US cities.


YOU THINK IT IS THAT HARD TO GET INTO THE US FROM CANADA OR MEXICO???


I really take issue with the democrats who would rather dismiss these threat completely - so a SERIOUS discussion is not possible with these people.

LOOK at Obama - "We can absorb another attack" -


It sure seems like Obama is willing to "wait and see" - let our GUARD DOWN - see if the war stops - and then take it from there.


Most Americans believe that policy will only lead to thousands of Americans dead on the street - and us BACK in the Middle East.

I CONSTANTLY get the feeling that Obama was NOT AROUND ON 9/11 - like he was on some COCAINE BINGE ON 9/11 - and he came in a few days later and said "What happened?"

Obama just DOESN'T feel the same way about 9/11 as other Americans do - maybe he thinks that American deserved it for some reason.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 27, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

This post is a prime example of how STRF is ruining threads. I registered simply to say I won't be reading comments anymore because of the signal/noise ratio here, primarily because of this user. He needs to go.

Posted by: uid0 | September 27, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"That's a disturbing poll result -- it's not the military's job to make troop decisions, it's the president's job"

----

I keep waiting for the moment when Obama borrows a helmet from Mike Dukakis and starts riding around in a tank.

Posted by: Brigade | September 27, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing28 at 12:21 PM


I agree with you.


The liberals would have a different attitude about the Generals if they were NOT handling the terrorist threats so well.


CONGRESS decides when to start a war - no one says otherwise - the liberals are attempting to make an issue where there is none.


The liberals are making these statements in order to advance their PARTISAN MOTIVES.


If the liberals were basing ANY of this on sound views of NATIONAL SECURITY - stating that they believe this nation is SAFER with this policy or that policy - then I would have some more respect for them.


All this is just partisan talk - and they are covering themselves in thses silly statements about what the President's responsibilities are.


You NEVER heard them say any such thing when Bush was in office - so the liberals can NOT be taken seriously.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 27, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

This post is a prime example of how STRF is ruining threads. I registered simply to say I won't be reading comments anymore because of the signal/noise ratio here, primarily because of this user. He needs to go.

Posted by: uid0 | September 27, 2010 12:31 PM
----

Don't let the door hit you in the backside.

Posted by: Brigade | September 27, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

uid0 at 12:31 PM


There are many aspects to this issue - no one is ruining any thread.

The next thread already opened up - you could go there.


If you don't like opposing views, perhaps you should move to a nation which only allows one view on every issue.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 27, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"No military honcho is going to opt for what's best for the country if it interferes with his own career and promotions."

Are you talking about military honchos or the politicians who actually do make the decisions? I think you might be confused. Not too many people enlist in the military because they want to be rich or powerful.

-------

"These guys aren't all that well screwed together in the first place."

Now I KNOW you're talking about politicians. Has anyone seen those flags the astronauts left on Mars? Has Guam capsized yet?

Posted by: Brigade | September 27, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

yes, STRF, many of today's liberalisms are just re heats of the viet nam era rhetoric. Its the same nonsense set to a different beat. But it is still the same nonsense. A visit to the international ANSWER website will no doubt display all the talking points our liberal comrades here rely upon.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | September 27, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Willis at 12:20 writes

How many tropps are needed to accomplish said objective should be up the the generals. Don't want them in charge of how many troops are needed for a war?

_____________________________________

Well this hits the issue exactly.


Obama CHANGED THE OBJECTIVE.


The objective of Afghanistan is to PREVENT terrorist attacks here in the US, in US cities - Obama said as much in the 2008 debates, and in his West Point speech.


However, Obama has now placed "pulling out" ahead of "PROTECTING US CITIES FROM TERRORISM"

Bob Woodward put the issue CLEARLY in the book - and Obama said "WE CAN ABSORB ANOTHER ATTACK"


Well - that is the statement of someone who believes that pulling out of Afghanistan and INCREASING THE RISK OF ATTACSK IN US CITIES is the policy.


It certainly appears that there was a CAUSE AND EFFECT ON THE TABLE - The troops get pulled, that INCREASES the risks to US cities.


Obama comes RIGHT OUT AND SAYS, FINE LET'S INCREASE THE RISK TO US CITIES.


The liberals should be clear on this issue - that is the NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE AT HAND.


If the liberals want to be mature enough to talk about national security, then deal with the issues - in the past "Bush Lied" substituted for ALL RATIONAL DISCUSSION on national security issues.


Do we hear the liberals ACTUALLY DISCUSSING the terrorism RISKS - and what should be done about them ???


The liberals really are NOT backing up Obama on this TRADE-OFF ISSUE


And that is the ONLY serious discussion out there - Do we pull our troops out and LEAVE US CITIES MORE VULERNABLE???

I fear that the day terrorists use a chemical weapon in a US city is the day that "weapons of mass destruction" issue ends. Why do we need such an attack to have EVERYONE agree that such a risk exists ???

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 27, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

How many tropps are needed to accomplish said objective should be up the the generals. Don't want them in charge of how many troops are needed for a war? Then don't go to war. Done and done.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 27, 2010 12:20 PM | R

...................

The White House under Bush/Cheney, and with their lapdog, Rumsfeld, did the exact opposite to how you say it is supposed to be handled.

Does the name Shinseki ring a bell?

Posted by: Liam-still | September 27, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing28 at 12:49 PM


Yea, I know - alot of these people are the EXACT SAME PEOPLE - they went out got jobs, raising a family, now the kids are out of college and they are looking for something to do.

So they start showing up a political meetings.


The funny thing is : for them, the politics of the 80s and 90s never happened - they are stepping from from the early 70s into a political meeting.


It is unbelievable - they start talking about the 70s like those issues are relevant today.


The views of these people haven't changed It is all Johnson and Nixon all over again -


Everyone else really doesn't know how to begin with these people - but they are wiling to write big checks so they are always getting the invites back.


The out-of-touch situation is glaring.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 27, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I think that some liberals in the blogs are looking for a villian in the Pentagon - in order to draw attention away from Obama's horrible management style


It is Obama's performance that has to be evaluated.


The lies from the campaign trail, which caused confusion among the Generals about what the policy is.

AND the idea that INCREASING the terrorist risk to US cities is somehow a POLICY OPTION.


The public never discussed this during the campaign - this is Obama being deceptive and FORCING his own idea on the rest of the country.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 27, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I was STUNNED by Woodward's account of Obama typing up his own six-page WAR MEMO - and passing it out to the Generals.


For months, the Generals - who had decades of experience - were giving Obama policy options.


Instead Obama typed up his own policy options - then DEMANDED THAT THE GENERALS AGREE WITH HIM.


NOT good management style - this smacks of micromanagement - and insisting on doing highly technical things which are beyond one's expertise. Way beyond.


Obama was never in the military - but somehow Obama is qualified to draw up policy options? I don't think so.


What is WORSE- Obama appears to have shut down further discussions - so there is NO ONGOING REVIEW OF HOW WELL THE POLICY IS GOING.


Again, smacks of disaster.


It appears that Obama seems to be imposing the "liberal version of reality" on the Generals -


Is the problem the policy options OR REALITY ITSELF?


Is Obama trying to get his own liberal philosophy to bend reality ?


These are important questions of national security - and American lives are at stake.


Obama seems to be willing to sacrifice the lives of 3,000 Americans in American cities to get his liberal war policies in place - HOW DOES THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FEEL ABOUT THAT?


Apparently the Generals do NOT AGREE - but Obama is forcing them to say they do AGREE.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 27, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

This is probably a waste of time since as one poster pointed out STRF has again carpet bombed this thread into oblivion.

In addition with the exception of 3 posters it's full of folks who are unable to have the first critical thought...who accept the MIC pablum as adult food for thought and who are afraid to read books like the new one from retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich.."Washington Rules America's Path to Permanent War".

They then stupidly post name calling insults referring to the Vietnam era. Yeah how did that war turn out for us?
I was there, was any other poster on this thread?

Body counts cannot win wars..especially wars predicated on Petraues' COIN strategy aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the people. Our country has demonstrated a hatred of these people. They are Muslims and a large % of our population believes we are at war with Islam. Just how do you geniuses plan to win the hearts and minds of people when we want to burn their holy books and refuse to even let them build houses of worship...when there are demonstrations vilifying them...not just in NYC but across the nation? Can someone explain just how we are going to win the hearts and minds of people when we vilify them?

Not one of you faux patriots...you chicken hawks can tell me the first terrorist attack stopped by the 101st Airborne...a unit with which I proudly served in 1969.
They are taking causalities as we speak along the border with Pakistan. If you watched the 60minutes report last night from the 101st's position..INDEED you would have said Vietnam. The only difference was the foilage..no jungle. However the 101's current position is just like Khe Sanh or any of a dozen other firebases in the Vietnam War. The commanding officer said he's responsible for about 300 square kilometers...he controls about 15-20square miles..the Taliban has the rest.

Anyone who asks a General about what is needed in a war is wasting their time. I can give you the answer that is ALWAYS THE SAME...has been probably since before the time of Alexander the Great...certainly has been throughout our history...ask a General what is needed...more troops and more money.

It's the same as wasting your time asking a Republican what is needed to solve all of our problems. Cut taxes.

So there you go stop wasting time...Generals will always say...more troops more money...Republicans will always say...cut taxes.

Hope I double spaced enough to make you defenders of that miserable loser STRF happy. The only thing more rude or odious than STRF's constant carpet bombing of our threads are the losers who defend him.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 27, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

This is probably a waste of time since as one poster pointed out STRF has again carpet bombed this thread into oblivion.

In addition with the exception of 3 posters it's full of folks who are unable to have the first critical thought...who accept the MIC pablum as adult food for thought and who are afraid to read books like the new one from retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich.."Washington Rules America's Path to Permanent War".

They then stupidly post name calling insults referring to the Vietnam era. Yeah how did that war turn out for us?
I was there, was any other poster on this thread?

Body counts cannot win wars..especially wars predicated on Petraues' COIN strategy aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the people. Our country has demonstrated a hatred of these people. They are Muslims and a large % of our population believes we are at war with Islam. Just how do you geniuses plan to win the hearts and minds of people when we want to burn their holy books and refuse to even let them build houses of worship...when there are demonstrations vilifying them...not just in NYC but across the nation? Can someone explain just how we are going to win the hearts and minds of people when we vilify them?

Not one of you faux patriots...you chicken hawks can tell me the first terrorist attack stopped by the 101st Airborne...a unit with which I proudly served in 1969.
They are taking causalities as we speak along the border with Pakistan. If you watched the 60minutes report last night from the 101st's position..INDEED you would have said Vietnam. The only difference was the foilage..no jungle. However the 101's current position is just like Khe Sanh or any of a dozen other firebases in the Vietnam War. The commanding officer said he's responsible for about 300 square kilometers...he controls about 15-20square miles..the Taliban has the rest.

Anyone who asks a General about what is needed in a war is wasting their time. I can give you the answer that is ALWAYS THE SAME...has been probably since before the time of Alexander the Great...certainly has been throughout our history...ask a General what is needed...more troops and more money.

It's the same as wasting your time asking a Republican what is needed to solve all of our problems. Cut taxes.

So there you go stop wasting time...Generals will always say...more troops more money...Republicans will always say...cut taxes.

Hope I double spaced enough to make you defenders of that miserable loser STRF happy. The only thing more rude or odious than STRF's constant carpet bombing of our threads are the losers who defend him.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 27, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

You can't expect the military to support decisions based on political considerations. Their goal is to win and protect the lives of the troops. Obama's goal is to appease the left and if that's not possible, deflect the blame onto the military.


Posted by: wave41 | September 27, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

How many tropps are needed to accomplish said objective should be up the the generals. Don't want them in charge of how many troops are needed for a war? Then don't go to war. Done and done.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 27, 2010 12:20 PM | R

...................

The White House under Bush/Cheney, and with their lapdog, Rumsfeld, did the exact opposite to how you say it is supposed to be handled.

Does the name Shinseki ring a bell?

Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld forced the Generals To Agree, or else they were forced to resign.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 27, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

yeah, how did Viet Nam work out for America? And for the citizens of south viet nam, laos and cambodia?

America lost because America lost the will to carry on the fight. And America lost that will because of an uprising on the left. International ANSWER was part of the scene then just as it is part of the scene now.

so let's talk about Viet Nam, but let's include the whole picture. Like the millions dead after we left. That's the real legacy of the American left. If we're going to talk about losers, let's not omit the boys and girls who caused that great loss and almost caused another great loss in Iraq and will probably be happy with a loss in A stan.

I read all this venom about Bush and Cheney, yet I think that folks like Medea Benjamin and those who defend her are far more damaging to America.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | September 27, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

America lost nothing. It was not theircountry, and Vietnam had never done anything hostile toward the USA. We had no business interfering in their rights to establish their own post French Colonial nation and identity.

You can not have it both ways. You can not go around invading other nations, that have not attacked us, and on the other hand complain about when countries such as Russia, Iraq, N. Korea, etc invade other nations.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 27, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

CONSERVATIVES are re-fighting THE COLD WAR using the same CORPORATE FUNDED FOREIGN POLICY LIES that are well documented in several books on the CIA's history, the history of our numerous IMPERIALIST AND NEOFASCIST occupations of THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES for the financial gain of companies such as ITT, Anaconda copper, UNITED FRUIT, and several others. If we want to keep being the nation of dicks who just dance to whatever tune our multinationals are playing, WE CAN KEEP FOLLOWING THE MUSSOLINI-BUSH-REAGAN-REPUBLICAN PLAN and be a nation of dicks.
There, now I'm as smart and conservative sounding as monkeys from the rainforest and the Bi-gayde simply by randomly capitalizing chunks of text and being vituperative. Yippy skippy.
Terrorists will never be as dangerous to this nation as our own home grown ignorance, greed, and anti-social tendencies, expressed at home as "conservatism" and abroad as "foreign policy." I think going forward the Stryker brigade at joint base McChord is going to be the image the world remembers, along with Abu Ghraib, as what being the beneficiaries of "conservative" and wimpy Democrat collusion with multinationals generates in terms of liberty and justice for all.

Posted by: sparkplug1 | September 27, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Petraeus said he likes homosexuals.

He got evicted from the human rights range of Oregon Superstate.

He was demoted.

Oregon lesbians are not homosexuals

Petraeus is the GENERAL OF THE HOMOSEXUALS.

In 2002, I saved Europe from the godless commies, why didn't Bob write about that?

Are you Skull & Bones, Bob?

Posted by: leouna | September 28, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

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