Thursday, June 23, 2011

Let’s hear from General Petraeus

for The Hill on 6/23/11

When we went to war at the beginning we were fully unprepared. We went from peace to war overnight. Our army under Tommy Frank and administration with Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush had no hands on experience and Congress was made up of peace time people concerned with housekeeping issues. Not until Secretary Robert Gates came to position did a steady hand come to policy in the Middle East conflicts. But General David Petraeus also brought stability and success to a mess he did not create. At his confirmation hearing today to become the next CIA director he should speak plainly about his assessment of the situation as we enter the post-Gates period.

Because President Obama can no longer be trusted on this issue. Drawing down 30,000 troops in opposition to the voice of his military advisers appears to politicize the situation to fit not the needs of the troops on the ground in harm’s way and our allies and friends abroad, but the upcoming presidential election. The wisdom of his recent Libya incursion is questionable as well.

I opposed the invasion from the first day because it was misguided, advanced by those who had never served in war but did in political influence groups, and because the Congress, including leading members then like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden acted out of weakness and expediency. But to leave too soon is as wrong and dangerous as it was to go into the wrong war in the wrong way.

Every historic period ends with a military general and a philosopher politician. Rightly so, as a military officer on the ticket symbolizes the first and foremost job of a president; to lead the armed forces. In our history, Jefferson/Washington, Lincoln/Grant, Roosevelt/Eisenhower. There is no reason why our time should be any different. It has been said that General Petraeus would like to seek the presidency and he could well be chosen as vice president in 2012 or 2016.

It has been ten years since 9/11 and we are ready now to listen to mature and honorable voices be they Dennis Kuchinich’s or Wesley Clark’s or Jim Webb’s. Americans tend to trust Gates and Petraeus, likely more than they do Congress or the press or the president today. Let’s hear what Petraeus has to say.

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