Skip to comments.Petraeus: New Prez Pushing Ill-Advised Withdrawal Could Replace Me
Posted on 03/16/2008 6:20:30 AM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest
David Petraeus was diplomatic in his choice of words, and careful to honor the primacy of civilian authority over the military. But the commanding general of multi-lateral forces in Iraq has left little doubt that if a new president wanted to withdraw from Iraq faster than would reflect Petraeus's considered military opinion, he'd be happy to go home to his family.
ABC's Bill Weir interviewed the Gen. Petraeus as part of a Good Morning America special today marking the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq. The opening segment focused almost exclusively on the costs of the war. Some producer had apparently calculated that the war has cost 19 times the annual budget of Los Angeles. Who knew? But a subsequent segment did highlight some of the progress that has been made, notably in terms of former insurgents now come over to the multi-lateral side. Then came the Petraeus interview, which ended with this exchange.
BILL WEIR: You serve at the pleasure of the president. If our new president, a year from now, says general, I want out of here in a year. What do you say? Is that even feasible?
(Excerpt) Read more at newsbusters.org ...
Petraeus happy to be replaced if new prez ignores his advice. Ping to Today show list.
I don't think "happy" is quite accurate. "Content" might do it, in the sense of "respectfully disagreeing, and willing to follow orders, or resign if he can't do so in good conscience". General Petraeus is a man of honor and integrity.
what a class act, compare that to Wesley Clark
God bless that man.
Fair enough, and I’ve gone back and reworded the original NewsBusters item.
“But the commanding general of multi-lateral forces in Iraq has left little doubt that if a new president wanted to withdraw from Iraq faster than would reflect Petraeus’s considered military opinion, he’d be happy to go home to his family.”
Whatever you think of Gen. Petraeus, or the war in Iraq, this is a worrisome development when our general staff feels free to go on TV and start saying things like this.
It’s the third-world generalissimo sort of behavior that coup d’etat’s are made of. The general should be invited to go home sooner rather than later if this is truly his opinion, and he’s so confident that he is willing to trumpet it to the media.
Not sure what you find objectionable. He’s saying he’d be happy to be replaced and go home if the president preferred another general’s advice. I’d encourage you to go to NewsBusters and view the video and see if that affects your opinion.
“what a class act, compare that to Wesley Clark”
It’s not proper for a general to say this to the media. It’s fairly outrageous, really.
He’s acting like a modern-day MacArthur.
“Not sure what you find objectionable.”
by saying that in a public forum, he not only is showing disdain for civilian control, but he is demoralizing the troops under his command - should he be replaced.
It’s fairly outrageous officership. You can be sure the president whoever that may be next year knows quite well that the general serves at their pleasure. It’s and obvious that need not be said.
At this point in time, he is already my choice for president in 2012 if the country survives that long with Obama or a Hillary presidency. Petraeus, unlike 99% of our politicians, is an intelligent and honorable man. He could be the one to pick up the pieces in 2012.
Oh, I wasn't correcting your post, I was opining that General Petraeus was being overly diplomatic in -his- use of "happy". I can't believe that he would be genuinely pleased by such an outcome. But it is his nature to be diplomatic in situations such as that interview.
He is NOT Douglas MacArthur. Truman, as much as I disagree with his actions on many things, did exactly the right thing in relieving MacArthur of his command.
I think what he said is perfectly reasonable...
I disagree with that thought RFE, Patreaus is trying to make it clear that “another” (see Democrat)would cut and run from Iraq, he is trying to make it clear that would happen.
What the Gen is doing is putting his own personal integrity on the line for people to consider as well as trying to save the mission, if this is the same General that Moveon screamed “Betrayus” in that NYT ad who later is credited for turning the War around, people should consider where he would stand if Cut and Run were to be implemented.
I’d vote for him for sure.
“I disagree with that thought RFE, Patreaus is trying to make it clear that another (see Democrat)would cut and run from Iraq, he is trying to make it clear that would happen.”
You’ve articulated the problem in a nutshell. The Gen. Petraeus should not be expressing any views of a political nature. It is not proper for a General to do this.
If his personal views are not consistent with what he is asked to do as a General, then he always has the option of resigning, but for him to say “we better do X or I quit” is improper and beyond that worrisome.
“I think what he said is perfectly reasonable...”
It’s not reasonable when you are a General on active duty.
I disagree completely.
I read the entirety of his remarks, and there was nothing offensive at all there.
I do not see where that hurts the morale of the troops, most of whom probably respect him, and all of whom can likely relate to his “deployment cycle” which is far more extensive than many of theirs have been, albeit sans the element of danger present for many of them.
He CLEARLY does not foster the attitude that he is above the civilian control of the military (as Gen. Douglas MacArthur CLEARLY did).
I think you are overreacting on this.
Here is a quote from the interview:
“if at any time someone wanted someone else’s best professional military advice, I’d be happy to allow that to happen. “
His use of the word “Allow” bothers me a great deal.
Under civilian control of the military, it is not his choice to allow or disallow anything. For a general to say this is problematic. Maybe he meant something else, but this is not right.
This is what an intelligent and honourable General says when he knows he is right about military strategy, when he knows that choosing the opposite strategy would be a disaster.
And it is no longer a WAR. We won the war on April 9th, 2003. This is just running a country who’s population is too dumb and too Islamic to know what is good for them.
What he is saying is that it is completely up to civilian control to replace him if they do not want to follow his professional advice.
While he serves at the pleasure of the Commander in Chief, he can resign his commission at any time if he feels he is being ill used. That is HIS choice.
“I think you are overreacting on this.”
Maybe, but I’m not so sure. When I was commissioned, it was fairly clear to me that this sort of discussion was not proper.
I think he is venturing into the political realm, and that is not an acceptable role for an active duty general.
“While he serves at the pleasure of the Commander in Chief, he can resign his commission at any time if he feels he is being ill used. That is HIS choice.”
This is a point that while obvious, has no place in a media interview of a general officer. “I will quit if I am asked to do this” is not the right sort of discussion for a general officer to have with media.
He’s crossing a line he should know better than to cross.
This particular assignment is completely intertwined with the political, as the repeated forays in front of committees of Washington politicians to justify and explain things clearly show.
Having lived a good deal of my life in a military environment, I am probably as steeped in the chain of command and behavior as a military member as you are, but I understand that your experience as a commissioned officer may color your opinion on this issue with a different brush than it does for me. I can respect that.
I can agree to disagree with you on this.
I am proud of Gen. Petraeus, he is a no nonesense man and leader. He is not saying anything he is not alloweed to say and he is doing it in a very diplomatic way. It truly shows how dedicated he is for our and his troops. He has to know how the military felt under the Clinton’s when they were in power it was horrible and being under Obama will be no different.
“I can agree to disagree with you on this.”
Fair enough. Thanks for the exchange.
I'm contemplating the options in my mind, comparing them to Hillbama or McCain accelerating the invasion on the southern border and expanding socialized government still further. So far, Petraeus keeps coming out on top. I like Gen. Pace, too. Both are more likely to be GWashington types than any other politicians we know. . . But don't rush me, I'm still thinking.
“So far, Petraeus keeps coming out on top. I like Gen. Pace, too. Both are more likely to be GWashington types than any other politicians we know. . . But don’t rush me, I’m still thinking.”
If he retires, he’d make a fine candidate, I agree.
Seems to me to be the smartest thing he could say, and what an honorable man would say. He is just saying that he will stand for what he thinks is right. Why should he stay in Iraq carrying out a policy which he doesn’t believe in. How can you be a good commander if you don’t have the flexibility to make decisions. He is also popular so it puts pressure on the new president to stay the course.
The statement isn’t that bad. Not even close. But it is more than obvious and not as insightful as it might be.
if at any time someone wanted someone elses best professional military advice, Id be happy to allow that to happen. Under civilian control of the military, it is not his choice to allow or disallow anything. For a general to say this is problematic. Maybe he meant something else, but this is not right.
As much as I sympathize with the general, I clearly see your point.
How does the history of the "General Betray Us" hearing of a few months ago - and the hostile questioning of the general by Senator Clinton - affect this?
Do we cut him a little slack for the maximally public rudeness of the senator?
“Do we cut him a little slack for the maximally public rudeness of the senator?”
Senators can tend to be rude. I am sure Petraeus was unfazed by that.
I’d cut him slack for that comment because it doesn’t matter what he might think he allows or disallows. But it does cause me to wonder what he was thinking.
What I am prone to cut less slack over is the demoralizing effect of his message on the troops. What he is effectively saying is “my way is the only way, and you (the troops) will have a bozo yes-man leading you after I quit if I don’t get my way”.
He is undermining the war effort, should the next president choose a path that Petraeus does not prefer. He should remain silent - offer his best advice, and if he is unable to accept his orders he can resign. No media necessary.
What I am prone to cut less slack over is the demoralizing effect of his message on the troops. What he is effectively saying is my way is the only way, and you (the troops) will have a bozo yes-man leading you after I quit if I dont get my way.
. . . which unfortunately does, IMHO, have the "merit" of being true.
Which is why I consider it to be a questionable decision to enlist to serve under a Democratic president. Imagine serving under John Kerry! Or under Bill Clinton with Les Aspen as SecDef, or under Jimmy Carter, or Lyndon Johnson, or under "Bay of Pigs" Kennedy.
‘Imagine serving under Bill Clinton with Les Aspen as SecDef, or under Jimmy Carter’
Ain’t no imagining, it did suck.