Good Riddance Mr. Petraeus

Enjoy your strawberries David

Today America and the world received the news of the resignation of the much vaunted General David Petraeus and now former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  We would like to add… “David, don’t let the door hit you in the butt!”

For years we have maintained now Mr. Petraeus was overrated as a general, pushed a failed military strategy, got many killed by not clearing fire support to troops on the ground, was an arrogant pre-Madonna, and played politics with people’s lives.  This is karma and he got what he deserved.

First, let’s put out the affair allegedly happened while still in military command so that means either the background investigation was improperly done or the affair was overlooked and only brought up as an excuse to walk him.  The allegedly woman (Paula Broadwell) that Mr. Petraeus had the affair with was married, as was Mr. Petraeus, and a reserve officer meaning that Mr. Petraeus violated at least two Articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice to include adultery and fraternization.  Both of these crimes are very serious in the military and should have led to his court martial.  Further, ramifications of this affair mean he was extremely vulnerable to blackmail and “lied” to background investigators, which is “another” criminal offense he should be charged for.  Mr. Petraeus held the second most sensitive position in our entire government and put our entire country at risk for political gain.  This has to be hammered home to the public.  An affair is a classic way to blackmail someone in the political as well as intelligence worlds and with his access and knowledge, there is no telling what may have been divulged by Mr. Petraeus.  A counter-intelligence investigation must be demanded to make sure no national security secrets were jeopardized.

The next issue major issue resonating is the timing of Mr. Petraeus’ resignation.  It was only “after” the election it suddenly emerges, which is all too convenient before he is to testify before Congress on Libya.  Any analyst knows that timing is everything when assessing events.  For that reason alone, one would be justified in noting this has the trappings of President Obama cleaning up loose ends that could bring trouble for the Administration during the next four years.  If Mr. Petraeus is truly kept from testifying in the capacity as the Director of the CIA, this points strongly to protecting the CIA and the Administration and supports the circling rumors of a cover-up.  Nonetheless, secretly firing someone that may have sensitive information on a cover-up is not normally the best way to keep one silent so it appears there is much more to the story.

In fact, there is good reason to believe the bigger reason is not an affair, national security, or a cover-up, but a purely political reason.  Specifically, President Obama cunningly appointed Mr. Petraeus to the CIA to keep him from running against him for the presidency and or endorsing the Republican candidate.  Less one forget, there was a lot of grassroots support to run then General Petraeus for president and at the time he was “untouchable.”  This would have been a HUGE threat to President Obama’s re-election bid and perhaps is the one person that could have called out President Obama and his failing foreign policy.  Once Director Petraeus was no longer a campaign threat (post-election), President Obama cut him.

Respective of policy, there has also been a lot of quiet disagreement internally over major issues ranging from Afghanistan and Iran to overt disagreements like what happened in Libya. Don’t think for a second President Obama wasn’t furious the CIA pointed the finger back at the Administration respective of what went wrong in Benghazi.  This may have been the last straw and President Obama was just waiting for after the election and a good excuse to remove him.  Remember, Mr. Petraeus “unlike” Attorney General Holder (respective of Fast and Furious), didn’t firewall the Administration from criticism. Just like with former General McChrystal, the President isn’t going to tolerate this internal dissent.

Respective of the on-going war in Afghanistan, one must say with the clarity of hindsight that General Petraeus’ strategy failed.  At no point during his command(s) did U.S/NATO casualties decrease or the Taliban actions decrease or the deaths of civilians drop.  In fact, they skyrocketed.  The Taliban and Al Qaeda are not defeated, but resurgent and arguably more powerful than they were on Sept 11, 2001.  Afghanistan is not secure, the border is not secure, the Taliban continue to reconstitute and expand their influence, and Al Qaeda has now spread throughout North Africa and claimed the life of our ambassador.  At best the war got worse.  At the worst, one can say we already lost the war in Afghanistan.  When you were in command of this war, you cannot claim to be successful.  Respective of Iraq, the confluence of factors that led to some stabilization and our ability to pull-out were not a result of his policies.  Rather, he got lucky and was in the right place at the right time to reinforce organic events happening on the ground in Iraq that the military cannot claim credit for creating.  Nonetheless, he was in charge when things turned so can claim that much, but nothing more.  Further, the U.S./NATO forces have failed to achieve decisive gains or any type of sustainable security inside Afghanistan proving that his counterinsurgency strategy was not only unworkable, but failed.  Now, even the most optimistic of generals are saying the war is futile, we can’t win, and we should leave.  As a final act, the DOD is quietly running away from his COIN strategies and erasing the doctrine from existence.

Expanding the failure of his leadership in the military and CIA current and former employees for the most part despise him.  Of course this does not follow the official narrative provided by pundits and political appointees, but then, they aren’t working for him.  On the military side, this was a general that sat down safely in his command centers in Florida or Kabul and denied fire support to soldiers and Marines pinned down and dying so that he could make President Karzai happy citing the potential for collateral damage, where no risk existed.  Further, outside of a command center, Mr. Petraeus had no actual first hand combat experience unless one counts getting shot in the chest by one of his troops during a training exercise in the U.S.  Respective of his role as the Director of the CIA, all one needs to know is that his proclivity to freak out on his staff if his strawberries were not sliced at just the right angle is legendary.

In conclusion, we would all like to once again take the time to revel in the departure of one of the greatest snake oil salesmen ever to wear the uniform.  Karma can be so cruel.  Good-bye David and please never return!

By Guiles Hendrik