Petraeus Complicates McCain Talking Points on Afghanistan

Spencer Ackerman reports that no less a figure than David Petraeus himself, talking at the Heritage Foundation, was publicly casting some doubt on John McCain’s notion that we can just export “surge” tactics and Petraeus awesomeness from Iraq into Afghanistan. And then there’s this:

Petraeus also came out unambiguously in his talk at Heritage for opening communications with America’s adversaries, a position McCain is attacking Obama for endorsing. Citing his Iraq experience, Petraeus said, “You have to talk to enemies.” He added that it was necessary to have a particular goal for discussion and to perform advance work to understand the motivations of his interlocutors.

In part, Petraeus is just calling it like he sees it. But in part, my guess is that he reads the same polling numbers everyone else reads. It’s worth recalling that before he became the darling of the conservative movement, Petraeus was actually an important source for a lot of the Bush administration’s critics in the press, so the general is clearly someone who’s comfortable allying himself with all different kinds of folks and by no means a slavish adherent of the right-wing.