He Doesn’t Know

Iraq War

Petraeus Doesn’t Know if His Strategy Makes America Safer

Update: Watch for yourself.

As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s not up to the generals — even the ones on the ground — to decide why we’re in Iraq or whether we should be in Iraq. That’s the job of civilian political leadership. It’s the job of generals to take the mission they are given and try to accomplish it. Bush has been hiding behind Petraeus and other generals. Somebody ought to take Senator Warner’s question and beat Bush over the head with it.

Update 2: See also “Anti-War Minister Is Attacked, Gets Leg Broken for Trying to Enter Petraeus Hearing.”

Share Button


  1. paradoctor  •  Sep 11, 2007 @5:48 pm

    All he needs is twenty more Friedman Units to be sure.

  2. Swami  •  Sep 11, 2007 @8:22 pm

    What does he mean he doesn’t know?…Freedom’s on the march..and anytime Freedom’s on the march America is safer. Sheesh.

    Seems Bush decided that he’s going to withdraw 30,000 troops from Iraq by next summer.
    It might appear that Petraeus made the decision on withdrawl, but actually the decider decided on the decision to decide the withdrawl, and Petraeus only decided to suggest to the decider about the decision to withdraw. So it was the deciders decision all along. Right?

  3. erinyes  •  Sep 11, 2007 @10:03 pm

    Chatlie nails it with this one!

  4. Doug Hughes  •  Sep 11, 2007 @11:03 pm

    “When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s easy to forget you came here to drain the swamp.”

    The main thrust (and argument) is counting the alligators pre-surge & post-surge. The report needs to be specifics on how the hell you can (or can’t) drain the swamp. What IS the mission???!!

    Counting alligators (or dead insurgetns or civilian victims ) is NOT the point. Getting the WMD, no Deposoing the Tyrant, noSeting up a puppet governemnt, I mean democracy.. what was the durn mission again?

  5. k  •  Sep 12, 2007 @12:18 am

    Thanks for the discernment Maha. This whole show represents a lack of discernment. Biden this evening said the whole thing was ridiculous and that Bush’s purpose was to drag it out and hand it over to the next president to clean up the mess and take the blame for ‘defeat’. I think he’s got it right. Bush has shamelessly as usual hid behind the generals( as if he wasn’t the decider) and paraded in front of the troops( he did again the other day). Of course the media never takes on this obvious fallacy and gives Bush more cover once again.

  6. Swami  •  Sep 12, 2007 @1:17 am
  7. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 12, 2007 @6:42 am

    He doesn’t know?
    He doesn’t know!
    How will David Broder paint this? Freidman?
    Petreus’s answer, to justify the horror and death we have caused, and the damage to our reputation and our right’s, should have been, “Yes, Sir!”
    ‘I don’t know,’ speak’s volumes. You don’t have to read between the lines to know that this whole misadventure has been a lie based on lies.
    ‘I don’t know…’ WTF!!!

  8. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 12, 2007 @6:49 am

    Please don’t misunderstand the previous post.
    I don’t blame Petraeus. His, are the first word’s of truth we’ve heard from anyone associated with the Bush Crime Family since 2001.
    My WTF is not directed at the General. It is directed at Washington.
    Washington, WTF are you going to do about all of this?
    Wake Up! IMPEACH!!!

  9. Lynne  •  Sep 12, 2007 @6:56 am

    Finally, some honest words.

  10. We Are The 801  •  Sep 12, 2007 @9:14 am

    Maha, your update #2 link worked last night, but now its seems to have gone bad. Here it is (I fuess the URL changed?):


    Y’all really ought to see this (there is also video of the incident).
    I shudder to thnk what would’ve happened had not so many other people had been around when this happened.

    The reverend was stopped because of a pin saying “I love the people of Iraq.” I mean, doesn’t W. “love the people of Iraq?” Isn’t that why were spreading all our democracy all over them?

  11. We Are The 801  •  Sep 12, 2007 @9:17 am

    OK, sometimes the link works & sometimes it doesn’t. Weird. Never mind me! LOL

  12. Pat  •  Sep 12, 2007 @7:46 pm

    I traded posts with someone who claimed that :

    “It is not General Petraus’ job to determine, or even have an opinion on, whether the Iraq stabilization will make America safer. If he had an opinion on this topic, it would not be relevant to his current job.”

    Very few fit the mold of an automaton so completely that they don’t invest their sense of patriotism and morality into their work. In fact that might have been what drew them to it in the first place.

    Let’s hope that we do have some Generals left with a sense of moral outrage that trumps their need for self-promotion.

    It was encouraging that Patraeus’s superior officer had some things to say to Patraeus along these lines. From the Inter Press News Agency:

    In sharp contrast to the lionisation of Gen. David Petraeus by members of the U.S. Congress during his testimony this week, Petraeus’s superior, Admiral William Fallon, chief of the Central Command (CENTCOM), derided Petraeus as a sycophant during their first meeting in Baghdad last March, according to Pentagon sources familiar with reports of the meeting.

    Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be “an ass-kissing little chickenshit” and added, “I hate people like that”, the sources say. That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior.

  13. sam  •  Sep 16, 2007 @5:50 pm


    Professional soldiers are required to agree with their orders. Disagreeing with their orders, or expressing discontent with them, is essentially mutiny. They are not free to do so. Therefore, it should not surprise (or interest) anyone that General Petreaus agrees with his orders, and justifies them in public. That is what he is required to do by his political masters.

    If Bush thinks he can divine what to do next by asking senior soldiers what they think of their orders (which he gave them as their leader and which they are therefore required to agree with), he might as well go yell at himself in an echo chamber.