Wednesday, August 17, 2011
By Bernie Quigley
For The Hill on 8/17/11
Felt that Massachusetts senator John Kerry lost his presidential campaign – and I campaigned relentlessly for him in New Hampshire in 2004 after Wes Clark dropped out – because he was successful as a soldier and proud of it. Had he strode resolutely to the podium with a metal leg and a cane when General Wesley Clark introduced him at the Democratic Convention, he might have had it. Success meaning just that: Like Arjuna in battle, he saw the eye of the enemy and hit the target. Not to cast aspersions but so many who fought honorably and were later successful in politics – Jack Kennedy, H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, and McCain – would not have met the Arjuna standard or those of Tom Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff.” To those who flew fighters out of Southeast Asia and remained alive to talk about it today on the History channel, the only course was to hit the target or die trying. Nothing else matters to samurai. We love our military, especially those who sank the boat, were gunned down or crashed the plane. I take this to mean that we love our military but are afraid of them. Until everything gets unraveled and then we call them up. But when we do it maybe brings clarity of the heart. Eisenhower, for example, brought America to accept the conquest. The war was over. We won. Let’s build on the confidence and success which comes with victory.
We will have that moment as well with this war and soon and when we do I suggest we will look to General David Petraeus, recently installed Director of the CIA.
Michael Brenner, Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations; Professor of International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh, seemed to suggest yesterday in the Huffington Post (“I Petraeus”) that Petraeus may be tempted by higher office:
“Petraeus, as CIA Director, is operating in a foreign policy environment that leaves much room for individual initiative. His counterpart at the Pentagon, Leon Panetta, is known less for his subtlety and bureaucratic skills than his heavy-handed use of the hammer. He has none of Robert Gates' suave manner and gravitas. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is vocal on a selective basis, travels relentlessly, but lacks both a coherent strategic vision and diplomatic finesse. As for the National Security Council apparatus, it is the marked by weak leadership, thin expertise and a view of the country's external relations shaped by domestic political considerations. That leaves President Obama. His recent abject performance on the debt ceiling issue underscores the distinguishing traits of his person and his presidency. He is indecisive, yields to the pressure of those more willful than he, and has few pronounced views on any matter other than an all-consuming desire to occupy the White House until January 2017. Within 48 hours of the dramatic surrender to the Tea Party, and its profound consequences hitting home, he was prowling the moneyed precincts of Chicago and Hollywood on the hunt for big bucks from fat cat contributors. . . . For a man of ambition like Petraeus, it is a tempting -- irresistible? -- opportunity.”
Petraeus would be a good fit for VP in a Rick Perry administration. It would enhance the states’ rights position which Perry emphasizes in his book, “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington.”
A President’s first job is to run the military. She or he must also secure the borders and deliver the mail. The rest is up for grabs.