Will Dir. Petraeus Betray Us or Hooray Us?
posted at 7:38 pm on April 28, 2011 by Dafydd ab Hugh
With the news that President Barack H. Obama intends to name Gen. David Petraeus Director of the Central Intelligence Agency — after current top spook Leon Panetta, who spent a couple of years in the Army, shifts to being Secretary of Defense — we are left with a series of known (and unknown) unknowns. After all, Petraeus has been in the Army for decades and could not thus enunciate his own political positions and opinions; he could only support the policy of the Commander in Chief under whom he served, whether that was Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, or Obama.
Given that tabula rasa, we must identify at least a few of the conundrums:
- Most urgently, can Petraeus actually master an out-of-control, leak-crazy, internationalist progressivist CIA… or at least render it somewhat less anti-American?
- Does the appointment mean that the CIA will actually become more like it’s “predecessor,” the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in World War II? That is, will the CIA show more interest in furthering America’s military aims and less in trying to pick the next president?
- Does the appointment mean that David Petraeus is interested in heading into electoral politics next?
- Does it show Petraeus is going to “come out” as a Democrat to run against the Republican incumbent in 2016?
- Does it mean Obama has changed his mind about the need for the United States to have a strong and vigorous intelligence community to further American goals… or does it mean Petraeus has grown in office and now supports Obamunism, full and stark?
What will happen to the Afghanistan war effort as Petraeus withdraws, ushering in Marine Lt.Gen. John R. Allen as Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) — a man who has no Afghanistan experience whatsoever? Though Gen. Allen certainly does have battlefield experience in the War Against Radical Islamism: He was Deputy Commanding General in al-Anbar province, Iraq, during the Iraq war.
But what type of commander is he? Is he like Petraeus, with a deep understanding of contemporary counterinsurgency strategy? Or is he more akin to the Shinseki-ites devoted to the Powell Doctrine of endlessly refighting WWII in all the dorky, little countries found in what Thomas P.M. Barnett, author of the Pentagon’s New Map, aptly calls the “Non-Integrating Gap?”
I doubt anyone can answer these questions authoritatively at this juncture in time, as Nixon was wont to say; but they are indeed critical queries.
And here is the last and most pregnant:
- Will the appointment receive vigorous examination during Senate confirmation hearings, in order to answer some of these unknowns, among others? Or will Republicans and Democrats alike give the war hero a pass — the former because he is a war hero; the latter because he will have been appointed by the Obamacle, whom all Democrats must prop up and buttress in every imaginable way for the 2012 election?
At the moment, President B.O.’s deft and crafty move has handed us a Petraeus in a poke.
Cross-posted on Big Lizards…