NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18: Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus walks the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to ring the Opening Bell as...
Spencer Platt

Petraeus keeps telling the right what it doesn’t want to hear

Last week, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called on President Obama to fire his entire national security team – including military leaders like Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Who would McCain prefer? The senator wants David Petraeus back.
 
Petraeus, of course, was a four-star Army general who led U.S. forces during the 2007 surge. In 2010, Obama appointed him the head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and a year later, the president put Petraeus in charge of the CIA. He resigned a year later following an adulterous affair.
 
And now, at least some Republicans like the idea of bringing Petraeus out of retirement. At the risk of raining on the GOP’s parade, it’s probably worth remembering that the retired general doesn’t actually agree with them.
…Petraeus is at odds with former admirers, who say that immediate military action is necessary to stabilize the country.
 
The retired general warned Wednesday that the political conditions now in Iraq mean that military intervention would falter because both sides would perceive the United States as favoring one religious faction against another rather than as squashing terrorism alone.
 
“This cannot be the United States being the air force for Shia militias, or a Shia on Sunni Arab fight,” he said at a London conference.
 
That aligns with President Barack Obama’s assessment that any military engagement must be conditioned on a political plan that would form a national unity government aimed at healing long-standing wounds between the clashing sectarian groups.
This isn’t the first time Petraeus has disagreed with his most enthusiastic conservative admirers.
 
David Petraeus endorsed negotiating and cutting deals with terrorists. Republicans now condemn such activities.
 
David Petraeus agrees with Obama about the importance of closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Republicans, including some who used to agree with Obama and Petraeus, now believe the prison must remain open indefinitely, regardless of the cost or consequences.
 
David Petraeus has, more than once, rejected Republican conspiracy theories surrounding Benghazi, to the occasional consternation of GOP lawmakers.
 
Maybe Republicans should find a new hero? Whatever Petraeus’ partisan or ideological beliefs, he seems to be siding with President Obama an awful lot on the questions that matter most to the GOP.
 

David Petraeus, Foreign Policy, Iraq and John McCain

Petraeus keeps telling the right what it doesn't want to hear