Wednesday, May 27, 2009


The Opinionator at the New York Times site flags a couple of posts about General Petraeus -- who has clearly decided that he really, really doesn't want to be the Republican candidate for president:

Huffington Post: Sam Stein surfaces an interview with Gen. David Petraeus aired on Radio Free Europe over the weekend, in which he addressed Gitmo and torture:

[Closing Guantanamo] in a responsible manner, I think, sends an important message to the world, as does the commitment of the United States to observe the Geneva Convention when it comes to the treatment of detainees.

Guardian: Michael Tomasky on the Petraeus interview: "This is a pretty big deal. Gen. David Petraeus chooses Obama over Cheney."

So there you go. Anti-torture and pro-closing Gitmo. What makes this interesting, of course, is that one hears Petraeus's name mentioned as a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2012. I bet we won't be hearing it much anymore once it sinks in on conservatives that he's just another girly-man who believes that half measures that keep us half free are just fine.

Tomasky's right -- Petraeus doesn't have a chance in the Republican primaries three years from now.

Which brings to mind a thought I've had recently. What would have happened if the Bush administration had resisted the Petraeus-era approach to Iraq until the bitter end ... and then Obama or another Democratic president, or perhaps a President Kerry after the '04 elections, had tried to adopt it? Can you imagine the hue and cry from the right?

Outreach to Sunni insurgents who'd previously killed American troops? Nation-building and increased cultural awareness? The notion that "some of the best weapons do not shoot"? Even if it was all (quite literally) textbook Army counterinsurgency strategy, wouldn't the right have been using it all as an excuse to bash a Democratic president who endorsed this approach, decrying that president as a limp-wristed relativist who just didn't understand that we're at war, dammit?

So I'd say Petraeus is kinda lucky he got to do what he did for a couple of years under Bush. Now, though, he's headed for pariah status on the right.

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