Trump Ponders Petraeus for Senior Job

Exclusive: President-elect Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington seems forgotten — like so many political promises — as he meets with swamp creatures, such as disgraced Gen. David Petraeus, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

The news that President-elect Donald Trump called in disgraced retired Gen. David Petraeus for a job interview as possible Secretary of State tests whether Trump’s experience in hosting “The Celebrity Apprentice” honed his skills for spotting an incompetent phony or not.

Does Trump need more data than the continuing bedlam in Iraq and Afghanistan to understand that one can earn a Princeton PhD by writing erudite-sounding drivel about “counterinsurgency” and still flunk war? Granted, the shambles in which Petraeus left Iraq and Afghanistan were probably more a result of his overweening careerism and political ambition than his misapplication of military strategy. But does that make it any more excusable?

Gen. David Petraeus in a photo with his biographer/mistress Paula Broadwell. (U.S. government photo)

Gen. David Petraeus in a photo with his biographer/mistress Paula Broadwell. (U.S. government photo)

In 2007, Adm. William Fallon, commander of CENTCOM with four decades of active-duty experience behind him, quickly took the measure of Petraeus, who was one of his subordinates while implementing a “surge” of over 30,000 U.S. troops into Iraq.

Several sources reported that Fallon was sickened by Petraeus’s unctuous pandering to ingratiate himself. Fallon is said to have been so turned off by all the accolades in the flowery introduction given him by Petraeus that he called him to his face “an ass-kissing little chickenshit,” adding, “I hate people like that.” Sadly, Petraeus’s sycophancy is not uncommon among general officers. Uncommon was Fallon’s outspoken candor.

The past decade has shown that obsequiousness to those above him and callousness toward others are two of Petraeus’s most notable character traits. They go along with his lack of military acumen and his dishonesty as revealed in his lying to the FBI about handing over top-secret notebooks to his biographer/lover, an “indiscretion” that would have landed a less well-connected person in jail but instead got him only a mild slap on the wrist (via a misdemeanor guilty plea).

Indeed, Petraeus, the epitome of a “political general,” represents some of the slimiest depths of the Washington “swamp” that President-elect Trump has vowed to drain. Petraeus cares desperately about the feelings of his fellow elites but shows shocking disdain for the suffering of other human beings who are not so important.

In early 2011 in Afghanistan, Petraeus shocked aides to then-President Hamid Karzai after many children were burned to death in a “coalition” attack in northeastern Afghanistan by suggesting that Afghan parents may have burned their own children to exaggerate their claims of civilian casualties and discredit the U.S., reported The Washington Post, citing two participants at the meeting.

“Killing 60 people, and then blaming the killing on those same people, rather than apologizing for any deaths? This is inhuman,” one Afghan official said. “This is a really terrible situation.”

Yet, on other occasions, the politically savvy Petraeus can be a paragon of sensitivity – like when he is in danger of getting crosswise with the Israel Lobby.

Never did Petraeus’s fawning shine through with more brilliance, than when an (unintentionally disclosed) email exchange showed him groveling before arch-neocon Max Boot, beseeching Boot’s help in fending off charges that Petraeus was “anti-Israel” because his prepared testimony to a congressional committee included the no-brainer observations that Israeli-Palestinian hostility presents “distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests” and that “this conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. … Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support.”

So, telling the truth (perhaps accidentally in prepared testimony) made Petraeus squirm with fear about offending the powerful Israel Lobby, but he apparently didn’t hesitate to lie to FBI agents when he was caught in a tight spot for sharing highly sensitive intelligence with Paula Broadwell, his mistress/biographer. But, again, Petraeus realized that it helps to have influential friends. A court gave him a slap on the wrist with a sentence of two years probation and a fine of $100,000 – which is less than he usually makes for a single speaking engagement.

Military Incompetent Without Parallel

And, if President-elect Trump isn’t repulsed by the stench of hypocrisy – if he ignores Petraeus’s reckless handling of classified material after Trump lambasted Hillary Clinton for her own careless behavior in that regard – there is also the grim truth behind Petraeus’s glitzy image.

David Petraeus, a two-star general during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, with Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace.

David Petraeus, a two-star general during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, with Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace.

As a military strategist or even a trainer of troops, Petraeus has been an unparalleled disaster. Yes, the corporate media always runs interference for Official Washington’s favorite general. But that does not equate with genuine success.

The Iraq “surge,” which Petraeus oversaw, was misrepresented in the corporate media as a huge victory – because it was credited with a brief dip in the level of violence at the cost of some 1,000 American lives (and those of many more Iraqis) – but the “surge” failed its principal goal of buying time to heal the rift between Shiites and Sunnis, a division that ultimately led to the emergence of the Islamic State (or ISIS).

Then, in early 2014, the crackerjack Iraqi troops whom Petraeus bragged about training ran away from Mosul, leaving their modern U.S.-provided weapons behind for the Islamic State’s jihadists to play with.

In part because of that collapse – with Iraqi forces only now beginning to chip away at ISIS control of Mosul – the Obama administration was dragged into another Mideast war, spilling across Iraq and Syria and adding to the droves of refugees pouring into Europe, a crisis that is now destabilizing the European Union.

You might have thought that the combination of military failures and scandalous behavior would have ended David Petraeus’s “government service,” but he has never lost his skill at putting his finger to the wind.

During the presidential campaign, the windsock Petraeus was circumspect, which was understandable given the uncertainty regarding which way the wind was blowing.

However, on Sept. 1, 2015, amid calls from the mainstream U.S. media and establishment think tanks for President Obama to escalate the U.S. proxy war to overthrow the Syrian government, Petraeus spoke out in favor of giving more weapons to “moderate” Syrian rebels, despite the widespread recognition that U.S.-supplied guns and rockets were ending up in the hands of Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

The new harebrained scheme – favored by Petraeus and other neocons – fantasized about Al Qaeda possibly joining the fight against the Islamic State, although ISIS sprang from Al Qaeda and splintered largely over tactical issues, such as how quickly to declare a jihadist state, not over fundamental fundamentalist goals.

But more miscalculations in the Middle East would be right up Petraeus’s alley. He played an important role in facilitating the emergence of the Islamic State by his too-clever-by-half policy of co-opting some Sunni tribes with promises of shared power in Baghdad and with lots of money, and then simply looking the other way as the U.S.-installed Shia government in Baghdad ditched the promises.

Surge? Or Splurge With Lives

The so-called “surges” of troops into Iraq and Afghanistan are particularly gross examples of the way American soldiers have been used as expendable pawns by ambitious generals like Petraeus and ambitious politicians like former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Former CIA Director (and later Defense Secretary) Robert Gates.

Former CIA Director (and later Defense Secretary) Robert Gates.

The problem is that overweening personal ambition can end up getting a lot of people killed. In the speciously glorified first “surge,” President George W. Bush sent more than 30,000 additional troops into Iraq in early 2007. During the period of the “surge,” about 1,000 U.S. troops died.

There was a similar American death toll during President Barack Obama’s “surge” of another 30,000 troops into Afghanistan in early 2010, a shift toward a counterinsurgency strategy that had been pressed on Obama by Petraeus, Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Despite the loss of those 1,000 additional U.S. soldiers, the counterinsurgency “surge” had little effect on the course of the Afghan War.

The bloody chaos that continues in Iraq today and in the never-ending war in Afghanistan was entirely predictable. Indeed, it was predicted by those of us able to spread some truth around via the Internet, while being blacklisted by the fawning corporate media, which cheered on the “surges” and their chief architect, David Petraeus.

But the truth is not something that thrives in either U.S. politics or media these days. Campaigning early this year in New Hampshire, then-presidential aspirant Jeb Bush gave a short partial-history lesson about his big brother’s attack on Iraq. Referring to the so-called Islamic State, Bush said, “ISIS didn’t exist when my brother was president. ‘Al Qaeda in Iraq’ was wiped out … the surge created a fragile but stable Iraq. …”

Jeb Bush is partially right about ISIS; it didn’t exist when his brother George attacked Iraq. Indeed, Al Qaeda didn’t exist in Iraq until after the U.S. invasion when it emerged as “Al Qaeda in Iraq” and it wasn’t eliminated by the “surge.”

With huge sums of U.S. cash going to Sunni tribes in Anbar province, Al Qaeda in Iraq just pulled back and regrouped. Its top leaders came from the ranks of angry Sunnis who had been officers in Saddam Hussein’s army and – when the “surge” failed to achieve reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites – the U.S. cash proved useful in expanding Sunni resistance to Baghdad’s Shiite government. From the failed “surge” strategy emerged the rebranded “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” the Islamic State.

So, despite Jeb Bush’s attempted spin, the reality is that his brother’s aggressive war in Iraq created both “Al Qaeda in Iraq” and its new incarnation, Islamic State.

The mess was made worse by subsequent U.S. strategy – beginning under Bush and expanding under President Obama – of supporting insurgents in Syria. By supplying money, guns and rockets to “moderate” Sunni rebels, that strategy has allowed the materiel to quickly fall into the hands of Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Nusra Front, and its jihadist allies, Ahrar al-Sham.

In other words, U.S. strategy – much of it guided by David Petraeus – continues to strengthen Al Qaeda, which – through its Nusra affiliate and its Islamic State spin-off – now occupies large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

Escaping a ‘Lost War’

All this is among the fateful consequences of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq 13 years ago – made worse (not better) by the “surge” in 2007, which contributed significantly to this decade’s Sunni-Shia violence. The real reason for Bush’s “surge” seems to have been to buy time so that he and Vice President Dick Cheney could leave office without having a lost war on their résumés.

President George W. Bush pauses for applause during his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, when he made a fraudulent case for invading Iraq. Seated behind him are Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. (White House photo)

President George W. Bush pauses for applause during his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, when he made a fraudulent case for invading Iraq. Seated behind him are Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. (White House photo)

As author Steve Coll has put it, “The decision [to surge] at a minimum guaranteed that his [Bush’s] presidency would not end with a defeat in history’s eyes. By committing to the surge [the President] was certain to at least achieve a stalemate.”

According to Bob Woodward, Bush told key Republicans in late 2005 that he would not withdraw from Iraq, “even if Laura and [first-dog] Barney are the only ones supporting me.” Woodward made it clear that Bush was well aware in fall 2006 that the U.S. was losing.

Indeed, by fall 2006, it had become unavoidably clear that a new course had to be chosen and implemented in Iraq, and virtually every sober thinker seemed opposed to sending more troops.

The senior military, especially CENTCOM commander Gen. John Abizaid and his man on the ground in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, emphasized that sending still more U.S. troops to Iraq would simply reassure leading Iraqi politicians that they could relax and continue to take forever to get their act together.

Here, for example, is Gen. Abizaid’s answer at the Senate Armed Services Committee on Nov. 15, 2006, to Sen. John McCain, who had long been pressing vigorously for sending 20,000 more troops to Iraq:

”Senator McCain, I met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the corps commander, General Dempsey, we all talked together. And I said, ‘in your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq?’ And they all said no.

“And the reason is because we want the Iraqis to do more. It is easy for the Iraqis to rely upon us do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future.”

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, sent a classified cable to Washington warning that “proposals to send more U.S. forces to Iraq would not produce a long-term solution and would make our policy less, not more, sustainable,” according to a New York Times retrospective on the “surge” published on Aug. 31, 2008. Khalilzad was arguing, unsuccessfully, for authority to negotiate a political solution with the Iraqis.

There was also the establishment-heavy Iraq Study Group, created by Congress and led by Republican stalwart James Baker and Democrat Lee Hamilton (with Robert Gates as a member although he quit before the review was competed). After months of policy review, the Iraq Study Group issued a final report on Dec. 6, 2006, that began with the ominous sentence “The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating.”

It called for: “A change in the primary mission of U.S. Forces in Iraq that will enable the United States to begin to move its combat forces out of Iraq responsibly… By the first quarter of 2008…all combat brigades not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq.”

Rumsfeld’s Known-Knowns

The little-understood story behind Bush’s decision to catapult Robert Gates into the post of Defense Secretary was the astonishing fact that Donald Rumsfeld, of all people, was pulling a Robert McNamara; that is, he was going wobbly on a war based largely on his own hubris-laden, misguided advice.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a press briefing with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers. (State Department photo)

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a press briefing with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers. (State Department photo)

In the fall of 2006 Rumsfeld was having a reality attack. In Rumsfeld-speak, he had come face to face with a “known known.”

On Nov. 6, 2006, a day before the mid-term elections, Rumsfeld sent a memo to the White House, in which he acknowledged, “Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough.” The rest of his memo sounded very much like the emerging troop-drawdown conclusions of the Iraq Study Group.

The first 80 percent of Rumsfeld’s memo addressed “Illustrative Options,” including his preferred – or “above the line” – options such as “an accelerated drawdown of U.S. bases … to five by July 2007” and withdrawal of U.S. forces “from vulnerable positions — cities, patrolling, etc. … so the Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country.”

Finally, Rumsfeld had begun to listen to his generals and others who knew which end was up.?The hurdle? Bush and Cheney were not about to follow Rumsfeld’s example in “going wobbly.” Like Robert McNamara at a similar juncture during Vietnam, Rumsfeld had to be let go before he caused a President to “lose a war.”

Waiting in the wings, though, was Robert Gates, who had been CIA director under President George H. W. Bush, spent four years as president of Texas A&M, and had returned to the Washington stage as a member of the Iraq Study Group. While on the ISG, he evidenced no disagreement with its emerging conclusions – at least not until Bush asked him to become Secretary of Defense in early November 2006.

It was awkward. Right up to the week before the mid-term elections on Nov. 7, 2006, President Bush had insisted that he intended to keep Rumsfeld in place for the next two years. Suddenly, the President had to deal with Rumsfeld’s apostasy on Iraq.?Rumsfeld had let reality get to him, together with the very strong anti-surge protestations by all senior uniformed officers save one — the ambitious David Petraeus, who had jumped onboard for the “surge” escalation, which guaranteed another star on his lapel.

All Hail Petraeus

With the bemedaled Petraeus in the wings and guidance on strategy from arch-neocons, such as retired General Jack Keane and think-tank analyst Frederick Kagan, the White House completed the coup against the generals by replacing Rumsfeld with Gates and recalling Casey and Abizaid and elevating Petraeus.

Gen. David Petraeus posing before the U.S. Capitol with Kimberly Kagan, founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War. (Photo credit: ISW’s 2011 Annual Report)

Gen. David Petraeus posing before the U.S. Capitol with Kimberly Kagan, founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War, the wife of Frederick Kagan. (Photo credit: ISW’s 2011 Annual Report)

Amid the mainstream media’s hosannas for Petraeus and Gates, the significance of the shakeup was widely misunderstood, with key senators, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, buying the false narrative that the changes presaged a drawdown in the war rather than an escalation.

So relieved were the senators to be rid of the hated-but-feared Rumsfeld that the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Dec. 5, 2006, on Gates’s nomination had the feel of a pajama party (I was there). Gates told them bedtime stories – and vowed to show “great deference to the judgment of generals.”

With unanimous Democratic support and only two conservative Republicans opposed, Gates was confirmed by the full Senate on Dec. 6, 2006.

On Jan. 10, 2007, Bush formally unveiled the bait-and-switch, announcing the “surge” of 30,000 additional troops, a mission that would be overseen by Gates and Petraeus. Bush did acknowledge that there would be considerable loss of life in the year ahead as U.S. troops were assigned to create enough stability for Iraq’s Shiite and Sunni factions to reach an accommodation.

At least, he got the loss-of-life part right. Around 1,000 U.S. troops died during the “surge” along with many more Iraqis. But Bush, Cheney, Petraeus, and Gates apparently deemed that cost a small price to pay for enabling them to blame a successor administration for the inevitable withdrawal from America’s failed war of aggression.

The gambit worked especially well for Gates and Petraeus. Amid glowing mainstream media press clippings about the “successful surge” and “victory at last” in Iraq, Gates was hailed as a new “wise man” and Petraeus was the military genius who pulled victory from the jaws of defeat. Their reputations were such that President Obama concluded that he had no choice but to keep them on, Gates as Defense Secretary and Petraeus as Obama’s top general in the Middle East.

Petraeus then oversaw the “surge” in Afghanistan and landed the job of CIA director, where Petraeus reportedly played a major role in arming up the Syrian rebels in pursuit of another “regime change,” this time in Syria.

Although Petraeus’s CIA tenure ended in disgrace in November 2012 when his dangerous liaison with Paula Broadwell was disclosed, his many allies in Official Washington’s powerful neocon community are now pushing him on President-elect Trump as the man to serve as Secretary of State.

Petraeus is known as a master of flattery, something that seemingly can turn Trump’s head. But the President-elect should have learned from his days hosting “The Celebrity Apprentice” that the winning contender should not be the one most adept at sucking up to the boss.

(Now, with the whole Middle East in turmoil, I find some relief in this brief parody by comedienne Connie Bryan of Petraeus’s performance in training Iraqi troops.)

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then as a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years, from the administration of John Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush.  He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

30 comments for “Trump Ponders Petraeus for Senior Job

  1. Zachary Smith
    December 5, 2016 at 13:36

    Headline: “Snowden: Petraeus disclosed more ‘highly classified’ information than I did”

    Probably correct, for all it’s worth. Petraeus will continue to prosper while Snowden will almost certainly never be forgiven.

  2. Coleen Rowley
    December 1, 2016 at 22:31

    Great summary of Petraeus’ constant and deadly fiascos. Trump has apparently narrowed down his candidates for Secretary of State to four or five: 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker, former CIA Director David Petraeus, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, who is meeting with Trump on Wednesday. I don’t know anything about the retired General but the others seem in Petraeus league.

  3. bluto
    December 1, 2016 at 17:09

    When the ‘Anbar Awakening’ was really the deliberate ‘Creation of the ISIS’

    The creation of the Islamic State as Boot/Petraeus strategy

    Max Boot and Petraeus created ISIS out of the Sunni Awakening in order to address Max’s Clean Break objectives in Iran, Syria and again in Iraq

    Basically the plan was to create a fresh Magic Army (like Al Qaeda in Afghanistan) to overthrow all the Muslims in the Middle East that Israel and the Israeli Lobby wanted – they darn near got Syria and what’s left of Iraq as well

    Now that the Clean Break Dream Plan has perished in Aleppo – in addition to the collapse of the Israeli Apartheid state – things ain’t looking good for Max and David

    ‘Sunni Crescent Awakening Grand Plan’- brought to us by ‘Max Boot, Petreaus, and the REST of the Israeli/Israeli Lobby Flex Net’

    ‘Sunni Crescent Awakening Grand Plan’= ‘The Clean Break Dream’ – by way of creating the ‘Clean Break Al Qaeda’

    The Surge worked allright – it was the creation of the ‘Clean Break Al Qaeda’

    ‘The Sunni Awakening of Al Qaeda’ – directed by and paid by Israel, the Lobby, and Saudi Arabia to take out Iran and Assad – paid for by the US taxpayer and Saudi Arabia

    Even worse – setting ISIS loose on Europe to punish Europe and the US as necessary, in order to try to enlist support to take out Syria

    Israel’s false flag Magic ISIS Army – it’s always doing exactly what Israel wants

  4. bluto
    December 1, 2016 at 16:53

    Upcoming Lecture:

    ‘The End of Political Judaism and 1P1V1S’

    WHEN: Dec 17 2016, Saturday, 2:00 – 3:15 pm
    WHERE: Otay Branch San Diego Public Library,
    3003 Coronado Ave, San Diego, Ca 92154
    WHO: Dr Lance Dale


    ‘Obama’s Greenlighting of the UN Sec Co Resolution against Israel and the Palestine Annexation Law/(Amona)’

    The 3 Existential Events (and seen as such by Israel itself) for the Collapse of Israeli Apartheid:
    The Iran Nuclear Deal, UN Sec Co Resolution against Israel, and the ICC

    ‘The Dismantling of Israeli Apartheid – the Diskin/CLS UN Chapter 7 Plan’

    ‘The 3rd Israeli Generals Revolt(CIS) and the Kahanist Israeli Settler/Right Wing’
    The Commanders for Israeli Security (CIS)

    The Israeli Civil War:
    ‘Obama and the CIS vs Bibi, Adelson, and the Settlers’

    ‘Political Kahanism: Settlers, Kahanist Alt Right, and the Israel Lobby/Jewish Lobby’s Kahanist Islamophobia cottage industry’

    1P1V1S (– One Person One Vote One State)
    Marwan Barghouti and 1P1V1S from the River to Shining Sea

    ‘How the Israeli/Israeli Lobby ‘Clean Break Dream’ perished in Aleppo’

    Questions and answer after the talk.

  5. Abe
    December 1, 2016 at 16:05

    Petraeus’ BFF, Max Boot has sterling neocon bona fides.

    John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s controversial 2007 book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy named Boot as a neo-conservative ‘pundit’ that represented the Israeli lobby’s positions, notably within the Council of Foreign Relations. The authors argued that Boot and other figures dishonestly warp American foreign policy away from its national interest.

    Boot served as a foreign policy adviser to John McCain in 2008, having stated in an editorial in World Affairs Journal that he saw strong parallels between Theodore Roosevelt and McCain.

    Boot praised President Obama’s decision to appoint General David Petraeus as the ground commander of the Afghanistan campaign, and he said that the conflict is winnable. He also mentioned that he has served as a civilian adviser to both Petraeus and his predecessor Stanley McChrystal.

    Boot wrote for the Council through 2010 and 2011 for various publications such as Newsweek, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and The Weekly Standard among others. He particularly argued that President Obama’s health care plans made maintaining the U.S.’ superpower status harder, that withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq occurred prematurely while making another war there more likely, and that the initial U.S. victory in Afghanistan had been undone by government complacency though forces could still pull off a victory. He also wrote op-eds criticizing planned budget austerity measures in both the U.S. and the U.K. as hurting their national security interests.

    In September 2012, Boot co-wrote with Brookings Institution senior fellow Michael Doran a New York Times op-ed titled “5 Reasons to Intervene in Syria Now”, advocating U.S military force to create a countrywide no-fly zone reminiscent of NATO’s role in the Kosovo War. He stated first and second that “American intervention would diminish Iran’s influence in the Arab world” and that “a more muscular American policy could keep the conflict from spreading” with “sectarian strife in Lebanon and Iraq”. Third, Boot argued that “training and equipping reliable partners within Syria’s internal opposition” could help “create a bulwark against extremist groups like Al Qaeda”. He concluded that “American leadership on Syria could improve relations with key allies like Turkey and Qatar” as well as “end a terrible human-rights disaster”.

    While celebrating the catastrophes that Petraeus’ CIA had orchestrating in Libya and Syria, Boot was serving as defense policy adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

  6. Abe
    December 1, 2016 at 15:57

    The forces that “nobody does it better” Petraeus trained and equipped in Iraq performed exactly as directed.

    Over the past decade, Petraeus was been involved at key stages of the destruction of the Iraqi, Syrian and Libyan civil societies.

    In June 2004, Petraeus was promoted to lieutenant general and became the first commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq in June 2004.

    This newly created command had responsibility for training, equipping, and mentoring Iraq’s growing army, police, and other security forces as well as developing Iraq’s security institutions and building associated infrastructure.

    Acclaimed as a counter insurgency expert, Petraeus “built relationships and got cooperation” by training and equipping the Iraqi ministries of Defense and Interior. These units became notorious for their secret prisons, torture centers and mass killings.

    Training and weapons distribution was haphazard, rushed, and did not follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005 when security training was led by Petraeus. When Iraq’s security forces began to see combat, the results were predictable.

    Petraeus continued to fail upwards. In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced that Petraeus would succeed Gen. George Casey as commanding general of Multi-National Force-Iraq.

    Based on the Petraeus Doctrine that “more terror is better,” the good General implemented a massive security crackdown in Baghdad combined with the infamous “surge” in coalition troop strength.

    Petraeus’ “surge” was credited for a reduction in the death rate for coalition troops. The Iraqi Ministry of Interior reported similar reductions for civilian deaths.

    However, a September 2007 report by an independent military commission headed by General James Jones found that the decrease in violence may have been due to areas being overrun by either Shias or Sunnis. In addition, in August 2007, the International Organization for Migration and the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization indicated that more Iraqis had fled since the troop increase.

    In short, Petraeus’ vaunted counter insurgency strategy to “secure the population” had succeeded by further depopulating and ethnically polarizing Iraq.

    Thus Petraeus was instrumental in advancing the US plan to effectively divide Iraq into three states: a Sunni state across wide swaths of central Iraq and Syria, a Shi’ite state in the south, and a Kurdish state in the north.

    Where monumental failure was the goal, Petraeus kept succeeding brilliantly.

    After serving as CENTCOM commander (2008-2010), commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan in Afghanistan (2010-2011), Petraeus was nominated by Obama to become the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2011-2012).

    As CIA Director, Petraeus helped train and equip Al-Qaeda terrorist forces.

    Recommended reading:

    The CIA, Qatar and the Creation of Jahbat Al Nusra
    By Phil Greaves

  7. F. G. Sanford
    December 1, 2016 at 06:56

    Leadership qualities may include insightful interpretations of human character flaws. It is not improbable that, given the proper incentive, such failings may be harnessed in an effective strategy to accommodate otherwise detestable human flaws. Sycophantic types may be predictably brought to accommodation and useful cooperation through appropriate guidance and direction. They may thus become not only productive collaborators, but also loyal and reverential supporters when transactional imperatives require utmost nuance and discretion. Enhanced interpersonal relationship strategies flexibly adapted may produce astounding results, as illustrated in the brief training video below:

  8. exiled off mainstreet
    December 1, 2016 at 04:53

    The evidence is there. He is a toady, a war criminal and a fraud. His appointment would be a disgrace.

    • Peter Loeb
      December 1, 2016 at 08:13


      Ray McGovern has provided us in his article an excellent example of
      the role those of us who are critics must now play, We must carefully
      and thoroughly analyze many aspects of the Trump administration (which
      despite lame cries in the wilderness, we WILL get!).

      Petraeus is not yet nominated but we need the kind of background
      provided in this essay for a adequate assessment.

      An important point to remember, is that Donald Trump is in
      need of syncophants and Petraeus seems to be a prime prime.
      candidate. Note his past. Trump is unlikely to appoint a Secretary of
      State who will cruise the world and dominate the corporate media and
      be a possible candidate either against Trump himself or against the Republican

      It is for those of us who are able to highlight and
      summarize what is going on. (The insane
      probability of those such as Jill Stein of the Green Party
      or even Bernie Sanders who in my mind could
      NOT have won a national election and could
      never have won and could never have governed as chief executives).

      We must document…and document again and again.


      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      • Bill Bodden
        December 1, 2016 at 13:49

        The insane probability of those such as Jill Stein of the Green Party … who in my mind could
        NOT have won a national election and could never have won and could never have governed as chief executives

        Very few, if any, people, including Jill Stein, thought she would win. You are right that she would not have been able to govern if some miracle put her in the White House. The oligarchs of the Republican and Democratic parties would have seen to that just as they ambushed Jimmy Carter. However, Jill Stein’s name on the ballot was a chance for voters to say they wanted what she stood for. Instead, more than 120 million voters headed in the opposite direction and said one or the other of the two worst candidates in living memory was acceptable to them.

        Presumably, the old analogy about the frog getting used to hot water applies. The American people apparently have become so completely inured to the corruption in the Washington cesspool that they believe this situation is normal and we should continue business as usual.

  9. December 1, 2016 at 03:09

    Another excellent article for Consortium News by Ray McGovern as I saw the following one via the @FoxNews Twitter account as well:

    US investigating leak related to Petraeus case:

    See following article from UK New Statesman:

    General Petraeus leaked emails about Israel:

    And following article from as well:

    Broadwell scandal not 1st time Petraeus sloppy with email scheming with neocon Max Boot (see first comment via link at bottom):

    President Petraeus: The Neocons’ Choice:

    Neocon warmonger Max Boot (whom Petraeus schemed with) mentioned in following article as well:

    Whose War (Israel’s war!)?:

    Scroll to George Washington’s ‘Farewell Address’ warning at bottom of if interested further!

  10. Bill Bodden
    December 1, 2016 at 00:37

    What does this exercise in delusion say about the armed services commitees?

  11. Litchfield
    November 30, 2016 at 21:27

    Amidst all the learned comments here I can’t help but think that the appointment of Petraeus would make Trump and the USA a new laughingstock. I can see the jokes and sniggers pouring forth already on stages and in videos around the world, ridiculing both Petraeus and his “diplomatic” brief.

  12. Frank Mintz
    November 30, 2016 at 20:54

    You are right! Appointing Petraeus to Secretary of State would undercut the strictures against Hillary. Both should be governed by the same regulations and standards. It is said that his paramour had a top secret clearance, but she was not actually a colleague, but an outside party with whom he was having an affair. The FBI has actually produced an extensive docudrama for ordinary Federal employees to watch that specifically condemns the sharing of any classified material with a lover. Hardly anyone, left or right, has brought this subject up. Re: his relationship with the neo-cons, he may be playing both sides of the street since he
    has been known to be highly critical of Israel.

  13. elmerfudzie
    November 30, 2016 at 20:43

    Ray points out a few character weaknesses that tend to promote those every-day sins such as anger, intolerance, callousness, adultery or equivocating. These human weaknesses should not be central to the POTUS selection processes. Nor should it take CONSORTIUMNEWS readers by surprise, that a “Son of Cain”, formally trained in the black art of warfare, would dare and shrug off another example of “collateral damage”. Most Americans now suspect or believe that president elect Trump will not hesitate to issue a PAL permission for using battlefield nukes. Thus, the full weight of going nuclear, will rest on the shoulders of that particular theater, field commander, as it presently does for submarine captains. My point is this, we need a cigar smoking, easy going but crafty three star, loaded down with experience and education…Not unlike that retired Marine General, Joseph P. Hoar. I’d go a step further, in the middle east theater, Trump needs a few “Hippie” Three star generals who’d do everything in their power NOT to order up those nasty 155 mm nuke shells shot from tanks (provided here, as an example only) What’s wrong with a little retreating from the front lines or active battle engagements? especially if you can whistle up a few sorties of B-52’s brimming with fuel air bombs from Diego Garcia? After all, what’s the hurry? it provides lag time for last minute negotiation between the warring parties. I don’t want a Petraeus type out there, filled with piss and vinegar, giving commands to use the Bomb just because there’s an option to do so (issued by the WH). In hot spots like the Syrian conflict, every warmongering devise and ranking officer, requires that they have a slow fuse built in and possess absolutely NO Artificial Intelligence (AI) software in missiles or in any weapon, capable of countermanding human decision making by a computer chip! Anything quick, anything on automatic, will have the most dire consequences! The very last thing I want to hear from the Pentagon JCS or the new POTUS is, that comedian, Flip Wilson’s quip “the devil made me do it”

  14. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    November 30, 2016 at 20:19

    Ray worked for a disgraced organization called “CIA”…………that overthrew democratically elected governments for the sake of the American Empire……..nice try.

  15. Jean Maria Arrigo, PhD
    November 30, 2016 at 19:11

    With McGovern at least, CIA analytic expertise and historical knowledge works for the welfare of the citizenry.

  16. Abe
    November 30, 2016 at 18:55

    Petraeus, then Commander of CENTCOM, received the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Military Leadership Award in 2009.

    The surge of terrorism in Syria since 2011 is Petraeus’ bloody legacy. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Al-Qaeda re-boot, rapidly expanded during Petraeus’ tenure as CIA Director (September 6, 2011 – November 9, 2012).

    Shifting from CENTCOM to the International Security Assistance Force to Central Intelligence, Petraeus was well-positioned to coordinate a “new way forward” in Syria.

    Jihadists who had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan were recruited to overthrow Gadhafi in Libya. Weapons had been shipped to these forces through Qatar with American approval. Petraeus made frequent visits to Turkey in the spring of 2012 to coordinate the attack on Syria. According to multiple anonymous sources, the diplomatic mission in Benghazi was used by CIA as a cover to smuggle weapons from Libya to anti-Assad rebels in Syria.

    Seymour Hersh cited a source among intelligence officials, saying that the consulate had no real political role and that its sole mission was to provide cover for the transfer of arms. The attack allegedly brought end to active US involvement, but did not stop the smuggling.

    The September 11-12, 2012 attack on this hub of CIA activity demonstrated the volatility of U.S. intelligence operations throughout the Middle East.

    Petraeus joined the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Council in April 2016.

    In an October 2016 interview with NBC news, Petraeus compared Syria to “Humpty Dumpty”. He remains a vocal advocate of partitioning both Syria and Iraq.

    In a November 2016 interview with the Atlantic Council, Petraeus insisted that a no-fly zone in Syria is “doable”. Petraeus’ advice to Donald Trump: “There is going to have to be a reassurance of our Gulf state partners and also of our ally in that region—Israel.”

  17. November 30, 2016 at 18:05

    Thank you so much for giving me such ample confirmation that my donation to this non-fake news website was worth it.

  18. Zachary Smith
    November 30, 2016 at 17:48

    …ass-kissing little chickenshit…

    What a wonderful quote. And descriptive, too!

    Trump or his political people are almost certainly playing with us or the Corporate Media with this one. After all the fully justified dumping on Hillary for her careless arrogance, he can hardly afford to select somebody the FBI director says was worse than Hillary.

    In Clinton’s case, the FBI found 110 emails with classified information on her server, eight of which were designated top secret. Comey, in a July 5 news conference, said there was no evidence of Clinton or her staff intending to violate the law. But he also said Clinton should have known that her handling of the emails was inappropriate, and that her behavior was “extremely reckless” because outsiders could hack her server.

    The FBI director was asked about the Clinton-Petraeus comparison during his July 7 appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

    “Do you agree with the claim that General Petraeus, and I quote, ‘Got in trouble for far less,’ end of quote? Do you agree with that statement?” asked Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-MD.

    “No, it’s the reverse,” the FBI director said.

  19. Hugh Beaumont
    November 30, 2016 at 16:59

    Who couldn’t kick this guy’s ass?

  20. profesw
    November 30, 2016 at 16:53

    The general is so shy, he really isn’t up to public service, i.e/ accountability, see:
    David Petraeus Caught At Bilderberg 2016, Runs Away After Questions by danny f quest 6 12 16
    In this Video Luke Rudkowski and fellow journalist spot former CIA head David Petraeus outside of the 2016 Bilderberg conference and decide to ask him some questions about what happens at this secretive meeting. David responded well in typical fashion and started running when he was faced with questions.

  21. November 30, 2016 at 16:42

    LOL….sometimes they get it right!! “Fallon is said to have been so turned off by all the accolades in the flowery introduction given him by Petraeus that he called him to his face “an ass-kissing little chickenshit,” adding, “I hate people like that.”

  22. col from oz
    November 30, 2016 at 16:29

    Simply “Brilliant”.

    • Joe Tedesky
      December 1, 2016 at 01:17

      Yes, brilliant.

      • col from oz
        December 1, 2016 at 07:50

        The comment was about Ray’s brilliant journalism.

        • Joe Tedesky
          December 1, 2016 at 08:53

          I know, Ray wrote a brilliant article.

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