Petraeus A ‘Happy’ Participant In Pentagon Spin Effort

Petraeus cake-cutting in 2004 The Wonk Room reports that a Pentagon document dump reveals that Gen. David Petraeus was a “happy” participant in its military analyst propaganda program, at the behest of Pentagon political appointees. When asked by Bryan Whitman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, to contact several retired generals scheduled to appear on “several Sunday Shows” in August 2005, Petraeus wrote back:

will do

Donald Rumsfeld’s spokesman Larry Di Rita complained to “Dave” that “some of these retired military analysts are trying to have it both ways,” by supporting generals like Petraeus but criticizing the “secdef” — Donald Rumsfeld — and “his supposed bad plans”:


In his calls, Petraeus evidently painted a rosy picture of his mission to train Iraqi forces. Many of these generals blindly trusted his word, going on TV and asserting that American troops would be able to start coming home as Iraqi forces stepped up. As Gen. Montgomery Meigs told Tim Russert on Meet the Press on August 28, 2005:

And when I ask senior Army officials who are longtime friends who aren’t going to give me a BS answer how we’re doing, “Are we winning or losing?” they’re saying, “We’re winning.”

Read the full report here.