Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, has repeatedly said that the United States must wait until September to assess the success of the President’s escalation policy in Iraq. Last month, Petraeus said it was “premature right now” to discuss the way forward in Iraq.
But yesterday on C-SPAN, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), who recently returned from a trip to Iraq, suggested that those comments aren’t Petraeus’s real views. Rather, he is shilling for the administration. “I got the impression from Gen. Petraeus that he wasn’t waiting” until September to reassess the Iraq policy. “Now he might be overruled by people in the White House and, you know, wait until September. But he seemed very eager to come forward as quickly as possible with a new direction and policy.” Watch it:
The Bush administration has consistently used Petraeus as a “political prop,” as Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) has noted. Bush has mentioned Petraeus “at least 150 times this year in his speeches, interviews and news conferences.” In May, the White House used Petraeus as a PR flack to promote its war czar.
Today the Washington Post notes that some members of the military are worried that “the general is being set up by the Bush administration as a scapegoat if conditions in Iraq fail to improve. ‘The danger is that Petraeus will now be painted as failing to live up to expectations and become the fall guy for the administration,’ one retired four-star officer said.”
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