Exit Petraeus — and His Famous Military Doctrine

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Christopher Morris—VII for TIME

David Petraeus listens as President Obama addresses the nation on Afghanistan at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York on Dec. 1, 2009

The disgrace of David Petraeus has ended more than a great military career. It is also the symbolic end of a major chapter in American security strategy. The fall of the former Iraq and Afghanistan commander adds a tawdry exclamation point to the decline of counterinsurgency, the military theory for which Petraeus offered a heroic public face.

Flash back to the mid-2000s. The Iraq war was an unmitigated disaster, with no apparent hope in sight. Confronted with a potent insurgency, the occupying U.S. forces often fought back with a brute force that backfired, further alienating a hostile population. Along came the Princeton-educated Petraeus, preaching the gospel of counterinsurgency. Defeating an indigenous resistance, the thinking went, required a unique approach to warfare. To oversimplify, it was less about killing the enemy than winning over and protecting the local population; less about guns and bombs than about hearts and minds. That meant forging personal relationships, training local security forces and investing in expensive development projects. In short, it meant nation building. It was often described as the Petraeus Doctrine.

As Iraq began to stabilize in 2007 and ’08, counterinsurgency got much of the credit. Soon the theory caught fire in Washington: think tanks hired and the media spotlighted some of the doctrine’s many well-educated (and combat-tested) proponents. The U.S. military developed more counterinsurgency training programs for its troops, offering tips on things like making nice with village elders and knowing when to let the enemy escape rather than risk high civilian combat casualties. This was a form of warfare that even many liberals (perhaps misguidedly) saw as kinder and gentler enough than the usual shock and awe to tolerate.

Petraeus and the counterinsurgency he waged as George W. Bush’s top general in Iraq probably get too much credit for turning around that war. Other factors, including the way disgusted Sunni sheiks in Iraq’s Anbar province turned against al-Qaeda fighters, were at least as important. But plenty of people, including military and political leaders in Washington, wanted to believe that what Petraeus had done for Iraq could also be done in Afghanistan. Soon after Barack Obama took office, his commander there, General Stanley McChrystal, devised an ambitious counterinsurgency strategy for the country. The White House seemed to accept the idea. Later that year, Obama sent 30,000 more troops to the country — fewer than what McChrystal had requested, but perhaps close enough. When Obama dispatched Petraeus to replace McChrystal in 2010 after the latter’s firing, some people wondered if the Petraeus Doctrine might salvage another wrenching conflict.

It wasn’t to be. The final chapter of the Afghanistan war has yet to be written, but the U.S. seems to have run out of patience — both with that war and with the expensive and grinding work of counterinsurgency. In the 2012 election, Mitt Romney agreed with Obama that the U.S. should aspire to be out of the country by 2014. A few weeks ago, the New York Times published a long editorial calling for an even faster end to the war and warning against more such interventions. (“America’s global interests suffer when it is mired in unwinnable wars in distant regions,” the Times wrote.) In his third debate with Romney, Obama delivered a memorable sound bite that seemed to complete Washington’s abandonment of counterinsurgency: “What I think the American people recognize is that after a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation building here at home.”

Even before he was sworn in as CIA director in September 2011, Petraeus was bending the rules of his own doctrine in Afghanistan. He reversed McChrystal’s counterinsurgency-inspired limits on air strikes, which can cause heavy civilian casualties, and bombed the hell out of the Taliban. He also oversaw a steep increase in Special Forces raids and armed drone strikes. Petraeus brought that attitude to the CIA, fighting to expand the spy agency’s drone fleet so that it can more easily kill suspected terrorists from Pakistan to Yemen to North Africa.

Those sort of targeted assassinations aren’t quite the opposite of counterinsurgency. (That would be carpet bombing.) But they fly in the face of the doctrine in multiple ways. Drone strikes — which often kill unlucky civilians — enrage local populations in countries like Pakistan and Yemen and risk “damaging and counterproductive” effects for U.S. interests. At least one recent would-be terrorist who plotted to attack the U.S. said he was motivated by drone attacks in Pakistan. Counterinsurgency requires huge numbers of troops to protect and build relationships with local populations. Drone-based counterterrorism strategy requires few if any boots on the ground. Death is rained down anonymously, usually with no explanation or apology for collateral damage.

This is the new American strategy. Hearts and minds have been replaced by drones and SEALs. Working a tribal council is a less valuable skill than piloting a Predator. By the end of his career — in a country exhausted by war and slashing its budget — Petraeus had embraced that shift. He had lowered his profile too far to become the drone war’s public face. But to those watching closely, the Petraeus Doctrine had morphed into something different. Counterinsurgency was finished. Much like the general’s career.

MORE: Info Emerges About Second Woman in Petraeus Case

59 comments
MaryHalversonWagner
MaryHalversonWagner

Excellent point, Nhautamaki, and one that has been sugar-coated with pretty fairy tales for far too long.  

Ruby J Okoth
Ruby J Okoth

Humanistic approach to conflict resolution works best even in the military. An interesting analysis by Crowley

MaryHalversonWagner
MaryHalversonWagner

Is it any wonder why marriage is no longer taken seriously by so many young women today? 

kathy
kathy

Well this is weird.  I got two notifications that Benevolent Lawyer had replied to me, with the same quote - the first and only times I've gotten a reply emailed to me.  But I don't find the reply to me here in the thread they site.  Anybody else have this happen?  I was initially thrilled that we were really going to get notified about replies. 

apr2563
apr2563

Is there a way to edit one's remarks on the new format?

apr2563
apr2563

I am sadly not surprised there is sympathy for Petraeus and the loss to his career.  The media built his rep so now have to feel some empathy.  Not so much for his wife who also has a career that will suffer because of his lack of ethics.  I admire Tom Ricks as a reporter.  However, he was on CNN yesterday stating that the President should no have accepted the Patraeus resignination but encouraged him to make amends to his wife.  He suggested that the General do like Kobe Bryant and buy his wife a nice piece of jewelry.

Disgusting Mr. Ricks.

kathy
kathy

winner: scientific polling.  Though I'm going to be curious next election now that the electorate in general has been alerted to this.  What do the pundits do to create suspense?  Does the polling change the electorate because they think the conclusion is foregone?

kathy
kathy

Anybody else incredulous that Gen. Allen actually "exchanged" 20-30,000 emails with Jill Kelly over two years?  This would be a rate of 50 emails a day.  Not physically possible, though breathless pundits seem to think it's proof of something.  More likely this is 20-30,000 pages of attachments? weird in itself, or - it would seem to me most likely - that she was on a listserve that received emails written largely by an underling.

HiWhatsUp
HiWhatsUp

3 STEPS TO WIN A WAR AGAINST THE US: 1) Hire a bunch of private investigators who find out about the private live of the most brilliant military leaders of the US 2) Pull off a media campaign against these people3) US will be self-absorbed and will fire their most brilliant people. This vacuum of power is a good time to start a war, e.g. for the chinese to conquer Taiwan.

P.S. Ex german chancellor Gerhard Schröder was married 4 times. French primer Sakozy 3 times. Private life is much more respected in Europe. Results are more important...

NoorAlam
NoorAlam

ISLAMABAD: Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Monday told the National Assembly session that as many as 108 people became victim to targeted killings in Karachi, Geo News reported.Malik through a written reply during point of order told the house that those who had been killed in Karachi include workers of MQM, ANP, Jamat-e-Islami, People’s Aman Committee, PPP, Sunni Tehreek. Besides, people belonging to Shia sect also became victim of the targeted killings.He said that 124 suspects involved in targeted killings were also arrested in the city.MQM’s Wasim Akhtar urged the army leadership to look into the matter as certain elements were destroying the country.He said that Supreme Court orders regarding action against Taliban were not being implemented.Maulana Attaur Rehman demanded compensation for the families of the seminary students who had been killed in a firing incident in the city.Sahibzada Fazl Karim demanded action against Taliban in Karachi and said that Sohrab Goth area of the city had become epicenter of criminal activities.

AlexVallas
AlexVallas

There are too many occasions when Cantor has shown greater allegiance to Israel than the US

AlexVallas
AlexVallas

If there were no security breaches, everyone should butt out.  The General goofed just as many past high rankīng officials including several past presidents have.  No doubt there are many married members of Congress with lovers .  The General's distinguished service should not be deminished.  The indiscretion is between the spouses.

LRUSA
LRUSA

Counterinsurgency doctrine has been in existence in the military for decades. The problem, as a recent Rand study points out, is that the military rarely ever uses counterinsurgency doctrine in actual wars, conventional war proponents always end up winning over counterinsurgency advocates. Vietnam is the most famous example, where William Westmoreland, for example, told the Marines who had developed a fairly successful counterinsurgency program, that he wasn't interested in hearts and minds but was only interested in dead VC.

As for Afganistan, Obama has thrown the Afgan people under the bus. The Karzai government will last about as long as the Soviet puppet government did after the Soviets left. The Taliban will be back in force, and after them al-Qaeda, and then in Afganistan you will not have a single Malala Yousafzai, but hundreds of them, as it slips back into the dark ages.

SlurpyGoodness
SlurpyGoodness

Recall back to Petraeus's briefing about Israel hurting American foreign policy in the Middle East which made the neocons and AIPAC none too happy. Destroying someone's politcal/military career when speaking ill of Israel is their modus operandi. Enter Eric Cantor who gets contacted by an FBI employee who is labeled as a whistleblower. Eric Cantor is an agent of the Israeli govt. He doesn't give a shit about the United States. Cantor wants whistleblower status given to the FBI employee because he/she is a mole for Israel and Cantor wants to keep them there.

BruceS78
BruceS78

Don't think this is article is very accurate or meaningful.  Petraeus found a way to get us "gracefully" out of a war that none of us except a few Neocons and maybe the Bush family have any idea why we were in.  We keep forgetting history and what it tells us about wars, especially civil wars.  Once you are at war, don't blame the generals or the troops for the messes that occur.  They, in the end, are only the implementers of what is often bad policy.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mhastings/the-sins-of-general-david-petraeus

He’s more or less skated on that, including all the weapons he lost, the insane corruption, and the fact that he essentially armed and trained what later became known as “Iraqi death squads.” On his final Iraq tour, during the so-called Surge, he pulled off what is perhaps the most impressive con job in recent American history. He convinced the entire Washington establishment that we won the war.

MrObvious
MrObvious

There's a lot of speculation going on about why he resigned and who knows, but ultimately he did it.

I don't know if his time with CIA was well spent nor do I think what he did in Iraq was anymore more special than buying time by paying off different groups. But we're still out and they're still having issues. Maybe that's all we could hope for after Bush butchered the initial occupation of Iraq (or rather his political appointees) but I can't for the life of me find anything superb with Petraeus that can't be replaced by someone else. 

Maybe I'm missing how this is important and how invaluable he was.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Maybe this is the best place to put it (or it isn't?) but Happy Veteran's Day for any Veterans that post with us on Swampland.  Thank you for your service to this country and her people.

gftbrown
gftbrown

"The disgrace of David Petraeus has ended more than a great military career...Counterinsurgency was finished. Much like the general’s career."

General Petraeus was an American hero who deserves more than this snarky little summary.  Given a poor hand to play by the politicians (past and current) who were the real strategic failures, the general carried their water and made the best of their bad situations.  I don't agree with the substance of the article, but it is its tone that I find most disheartening.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

So Cantor knew about this weeks before the election, all the way back into October.  So much for crackpot theories about how this was some big cover-up for Benghazi, or that Obama held this off until after the election to save face.

ironyman2
ironyman2

This man is being praised for his track record as a commander. His sordid personal life aside, what he accomplished in the two wars he commanded is questional. Iraq has imploded, and his COIN strategy failed in Afghanistan. This man is a shameless self-promoter. Now he's getting the kind of publicity he has earned. He did it to himself. Let's allow him to fade into the sunset with (or without) his family and girlfriends. We don't need to see a seedy Clinton-style comeback from this man.

apr2563
apr2563

@kathy I didn't receive notification that you sent me a response to my question on the new format.  The old system did let us know.  The old system had flaws but this seems more limiting.  I wonder if the High Sheriffs are paying any attention.

kathy
kathy

the thread they cite. sigh

kathy
kathy

@apr2563 Alas, no.  I do not like this new format.  Can also not sort by most liked, etc.

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

@AlexVallas My point exactly. There is a fixation by the American media on people's sex lives. I guess that is why the Far Right always ties its self in knots over Women's Rights and Homosexuality in every friggin' electoral cycle.

I was struck by the same obsession with this man's adultery, as discussed on some Christian networks. I am an Evangelical Christian, and even though the Bible does not condone adultery, I do not think the Far Right talking heads should be vilifying this man under their FAKE so called Christian agenda. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Many Christian leaders do not exactly have a flawless record on faithfulness to spouses. Anyway, I digress.

Well, if it were just that Patreaus was the head of the CIA, and that is why there is so much noise about him, then it would be tolerable. However, because sex is involved, this matter is now the latest media drum beat. We can only PRAY that something else happens to break this exhausting news cycle. Is this a nation of voyeurs obsessed with other people's private lives???? Gosh. Enough already!!!

Piacevole
Piacevole

As someone in another venue noted, large consiracies are really hard to organize.  General Petraeus was indiscreet; the indiscretion was extended when he gave his biographer (!) access to his email, and she was totally indiscreet when she threatened another woman over the General.  It's like a series of pennies dropping, not aco-ordinated effort at anything.  Think "chaos theory," not architecture.

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

@PaulDirks I am glad he left. I knew he was corrupt and always wondered why he was still in the Obama administration. The article you shared was great. This part struck me, 

"But Petraeus’ crash is more significant than the latest nonsense sex scandal. As President Obama says, our decade of war is coming to an end. The reputations of the men who were intimately involved in these years of foreign misadventure, where we tortured and supported torture, armed death squads, conducted nightly assassinations, killed innocents, and enabled corruption on an unbelievable scale, lie in tatters."

I feel sorry for the Broadway woman. My sympathy for her is in part the reason I loathe the focus on this adultery, as the main issue in this matter. The main issue is the General's corruption. He had to go at some point. I wish there were more articles in the media, like this one from BuzzFeed. 

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

@PaulDirks Thanks for posting this. I read it over the week-end and think it has a lot of truth in it. Don't remember if it was this one or another one that mentioned Joe Klein as one of Petraeus' biggest fan boys. I seem to remember something Joe wrote after the ill-advised Move On Betray-us ad, that Joe thought was utterly beyond the pale, in spite of the fact the original use of that term came from his own troops.

outsider
outsider

@DonQuixotic 

Yes, because if Cantor thought something nefarious was up (beyond the obvious marital betrayal), he wouldn't have been quiet about it. 

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

@ironyman2 I totally agree. I wish the press would focus on this Petraeus man, ALONE. His personal life has always sickened me. This adultery is nothing new. It is not the first or last time there has been some rumbling about the General's indiscretions. The salacious nature of the reporting is causing many on the Far Right to continue concocting in their INSANE conspiracy theories. They have the attention of the salacious news loving media. IMO, the focus should rest on Petraeus, PERIOD.

Petraeus represents one of the remaining "vestiges" of "the Strong Arm--USA--THE Bully nation" Bush era. I have as little regard for him because he is as corrupt and DISLOYAL as the disgraced McChyrstal. 

Petraeus is gone!! The focus should be on his conduct under Bush, and not on his sex life.      

Coach63DH
Coach63DH

@ironyman2 I thought that ironyman might find it ironic that Petraeus seems to have been  brought down by sex rather than by his military positions.  So the Clinton comparison might be useful.  Only in America.

kathy
kathy

@ironyman2 Am curious about your choice of "sordid" and "seedy."  We really don't know the details of Petraeus's relationship with Mrs. Broadwell, nor will we.   What makes an affair sordid or seedy?  Is it automatically that?

Piacevole
Piacevole

I was pretty much "with you" until you threw in that snark about Clinton. 

In 2016, the Democratic party will have two ex-presidents to go on the hustings for their candidates.  In 2012, the Republicans basically wanted to pretend that Bush had never existed, and I don't think he's going to have any sort of comeback, ever.  Tell me: between Clinton and Bush, who did the real damage, and who is much better off in obscurity?  Who left the country in better shape? 

nhautamaki
nhautamaki

@apr2563, @kathy

It always notifies me by email when someone 'likes' a post, so one way to let someone know you responded to them is to 'like' their post first I guess.  If you are only responding because you actually hate their post and think it's dumb, you can always 'unlike' it later I guess.  Still seems like kind of a dumb workaround.  I suspect that there is a setting somewhere you can adjust to have it notify you for every response/mention though.  I just have a hell of a time navigating their menus/account stuff because it's ridiculously slow and laggy here in China, so I haven't bothered playing around with it.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@BenevolentLawyer @AlexVallas Actually, this really has nothing to do with adultery or sex as such. What this is about is the head of one of the nation's major intelligence agencies exercising such poor judgment as to make himself vulnerable to blackmail should anyone else have stumbled upon his "indiscretion." It's a weakness that can be exploited, and thus makes it a matter of national security.

The men and women who work in the agency he headed are held to rigorous standards of personal behavior for just this reason. Financial difficulties, sexual improprieties, drug and alcohol issues, etc., can be exploited by those working against the interests of this nation. If they're held to that standard, the man who leads them must also hold himself to it.

For once, this has nothing to do with this nation's prurient obsession with sex. It's about national security.

Fla4Me
Fla4Me

@Piacevole We'll have to see.  At least Cantor sat on the info when he, apparently, could not get the FBI to confirm the information leaked to him.  He could have leaked it himself to some right wing entertainment network in an attempt to alter the election.  Apparently the FBI could find no illegal activity on the general's part so they had nowhere to go with it.  The general had violated CIA policy but the general is the head of the CIA and probably is ultimately in charge of enforcing policy.  The FBI leaker should not have a rock to hide under.  Let see what's next.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@outsider2011 @DonQuixotic Ah, but, see, y'all are smart enough (and coherent enough) to put two and two together. Our conspiracy nuts (I'm looking at you, handy) just ain't that bright.

ironyman2
ironyman2

@BenevolentLawyer @ironyman2  Yep, I, too have heard that maybe Mrs. B. is not his first. That's why I wondered if the Senate Intelligence Committee has throroughly investigated him before confirming him for the CIA. Well, it's come back to bite them - and swallow him. Good enough. Aging white conservative men idolized Petraeus and have helped him craft a bigger-than-life image for himself. He's part of the McCain/Grahm/Chambliss old boys' club. They've declared him a war hero, and many have just gone along with this. When Afgahnistan became "Obama's War," media who love Obama fell in line and started heaping praises on Petraeus. The legend was created. What can you do?

ironyman2
ironyman2

@Coach63DH @ironyman2  You are right. The military is more complicated. Fewer people understand that so-called complex. But everyone understands sex. If people who get away from their indiscretions always carry them with them.

ironyman2
ironyman2

@kathy @ironyman2  Apparently Petraeus was flaunting Mrs. B. in Afghanistan, going for private runs with her, etc., and giving her her own room at headquarters and access to his plane.Understand, this is all taxpayer dollars. His entire career has been financed by us, including his West Point and 2-3 Princeton degrees and lots of leadership training. All the time, his wife has spent many yeara waiting on him and being loyal to him. According to the WSJ, the emails between Petraeus and his sweetie were explicit, pretty gamy. This is unbecoming of a four-star general and a very high-up senior government official. She is not blameless, but he is the big, famous, responsible official. Or was.

ironyman2
ironyman2

@Piacevole 

You know, you're right. I'm a news addict and have heard Clinton's name come up several times with the Petraeus issue. I don't approve of much Bush did, especially his wars, which, among other things, gave us Petraeus. The answer to your question, at least on the surface, is Clinton. Not defending Bush, but Clinton had the internet boom winds at his back. He did fail to answer the first WTC bombing in the 90s and the seeds of the current financial crisis began in his administration. Also, his obit is probably going to mention Monica Lewinsky in the first paragraph - if not the first sentence. Now he's a hail-fellow-well-met but Monica haunts.

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

@Sue_N   @BenevolentLawyer 

I do not agree. I think that sex is the issue main here, and it should not be a crux of this matter. Much as I think Petreaus should be left alone in this private matter (and I think it is utter hypocrisy to cast this whole matter in terms of the consequences of adultery with regard to his position in the CIA)--I would support an exposure of the General's questionable conduct regarding his role in the Bush administration.

General Petreaus is a known philanderer and adulterer, and I think that is a matter to be resolved between him and the woman, his wife, who continues to condone his conduct.

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

@DonQuixotic Cantor and other members of Congress are reminiscent of a modern day lynch mob. When I watched Rep Issa and his witch hunt of AG Holder during the Congressional hearings, I was utterly sickened by the conduct of the Republicans in that setting. 

Well, my point is that CANTOR STINKS. He has no moral compass and would have gone to the press MUCH EARLIER, with this salacious nonsense, outside of some major constraint.I think James Clapper told him to hold off on sharing this matter with the press, that's all. Cantor is no Choir boy. He is one of those Republicans who carry on their purist Conservative doctrines, despite the abundant evidence of the harm their actions cause their constituents.

Cantor is just one actor in this stupid effort by SORE LOSERS to make this a big distraction at the beginning of the second term of the Obama presidency. Petraeus STINKS. He is a Republican, and the ENTIRE adultery "OMG this is huge on Fox News"  trash, is chock full of Republican machinations, and their Karl Rove created spin machine.The Republican party, at least to me, is the face of the modern day lynch mob. Their laser focus on this issue is hardly surprising. This is more posturing from the party of failures and hate filled, dried out, and washed up crazies. 

The more I read about this, the more I am certain it is one of these "White Water--we gotcha--We hate Clinton and will destroy his legacy" efforts by the Far Right wing NUTS. 

I hope these Republican nut jobs including Cantor, the FBI agent that started this whole hoopla, Petraeus himself, and the rest of the Far Right lynch mob, use their long rope and hang themselves. Losers!!  

ironyman2
ironyman2

@BenevolentLawyer @ironyman2 

There was a time, about four years ago I saw Petraeus as a solid presidential candidate. He seemed brilliant but down to earth, of good character. The more I read and heard, and observed him, the more I saw his flaws. Some of them in regard to the wars loomed large. People like me reading about him realized he was about making himself look good. To me he became not just dishonest but immoral. Innocent people were being killed and displaced because of his strategies. The Operators by Michael Hastings is about the Afghan war, and mostly covers McChrystal's time there. But he also digs into Petraeus.  I think this link is an excerpt still active:

http://m.rollingstone.com/entry/view/id/21804/pn/all/p/0/KSID=37ecd1c9a4397210063d16a79550b86d

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

@ironyman2 I always wondered about the legend on this Petraeus man. I did not like his conduct in the war, during the Bush administration. When he was selected to lead the CIA, I figured the president felt he was more of an asset, despite his glaring liabilities. 

As for his extra marital affairs, the press, especially those that covered the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars, had long broached the issue of the General's well known propensity for marital infidelity. I have also been long convinced that his wife knows and approves of his cheating, and so I do not give a hoot, and neither do I want to read about their family drama. That is her choice, it is pathetic, but her choice nonetheless.Yes, he is head of CIA and  his adultery could have created many herculean national security issues, but it DID NOT. And now he is gone. Good Riddance to bad rubbish!!

Anyway, I hope this Petraeus fellow, and the Republican machine that is spinning this matter in this insane way to the media, will be outed. I am tired of the loss of focus in the media, once sex is involved. Petraeus stinks, and his record, especially under Bush, should be the focus of the media.

ironyman2
ironyman2

@Fla4Me @ironyman2 @Piacevole I would have voted for Hillary this year. I hope she runs in 2016, but it appears she may be weary of politics. At her stage in life, many people can see clearly what they want and what is important to them. Ambitions she had 30 years ago may not be as exciting now.

Fla4Me
Fla4Me

@ironyman2 @Piacevole Oh, I rate the chance of a Hillary run in 2016 pretty high.  She is an ambitions person with an eye on history...ending her career as the first female President would suit her very well.  The political climate will favor her also.  She has paid her penance for the Iraq War vote and the Dems will easily unite behind her now.  It is reported that she has also created many friends among Republicans over the last few years.  I see her winning against anyone the Republicans put up.  Beyond all that.....she would be a good President.  (I know that wasn't the main point of the discussion but wanted to share..)

ironyman2
ironyman2

@Piacevole 

You are correct about his reputation. He has tried to redeem himself. There are people I respect and those I don't, and he is in the "do not" column. Even his lazy redneck voice irritates me. In his administration, the government rekindled the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (Carter years) and made it easier for people to buy homes, without being discriminated against. You can Google this, and you get plenty of information.On the surface, it sounded fair, like a good idea. Bush would not have wanted to alter it, nor would any other president of that time. Another happening under Clinton was the derivatives were not closely regulated. The C. people were warned, but economic times were great. Fast forward to 2006, even before, and the housing bubble was beginning to grow.

As for Monica, she could still come back to bite Bill. She just won't bhe as close to him as she was when he was serving as our President. I doubt if Hillary will run. Am pretty sure Petraeus will not :)

ironyman2
ironyman2

@outsider2011 @ironyman2 I got that - thanks. (Lance A. is another story. In fact, someone called Petraeus the Lance Armstrong of the Military. As much as I dislike Petraeus, I don't agree with that.)

Piacevole
Piacevole

I'll try again.  the system disappeared my first effort.  I'm not sure I think this is better than DISQUS.

Anyhow, there was a trial, and imprisonment on miscreants for the first effort at the WTC, wasn't there?  I wouldn't say that went unanswered.

Next, if the seeds of the recession were actually sown during the Clinton administration - a proposition I don't really agree with - surely, in eight years, President Bush could have laid down a little herbicide, couldn't he?  Instead, Obama - and all of us - got to "reap the whirlwind."

Bill Clinton is going to have a doozy of an obit, particularly if his wife happens to run and get elected in 2016, a not-impossible idea.

If that happens, I don't think that Ms Lewinsky will rate mention in the first para of his memorium, although she will surely be there someplace.  She might not make it to the top of the fold, anyhow, because of the purely unprecedented nature of the Clinton marriage and its overall import.

outsider
outsider

@ironyman2 

What i mean is Armstrong was smart in general, and staying out of politics was smart as well. 

I didn't articulate that quite as well as i wanted to.. 

outsider
outsider

@ironyman2 

He was a great man (Armstrong) no question; but most people are just human. 

And for all Bills faults (and they're not secret), they didn't diminish his ability to do his job. At the end of the day that's all you can ask of elected officials; because they're all too human. 

Armstrong was smart and stayed out. But, he stayed out because he was smart, i think. 

Just not dishonest enough for a dirty profession like Politics - though he certainly would have garnered quite a lot of support, i believe. 

ironyman2
ironyman2

@outsider2011 @ironyman2 @Piacevole  Well, it depends on how long Wild Willie lasts. He is a smart man. I am too idealistic, I realize. My big hero was (and still is) Neil Armstrong. He wouldn't even enter politics and lived his life admired by millions and was scandal-free. Even his detractors like Buzz Aldrin said this was so. I admire discipline in people from all walks of life. It's a charcteristic people seldom discuss. It's just not considered sexy in a world of exhibitionists, but most genuinely successful people posseses it.

outsider
outsider

@ironyman2 @Piacevole 

Ironyman, this is two posts i'm almost with you. I appreciate the fact that you don't go all hardcore and disagree on principle. And that you articulate your points well. We're not used to having the other side be as civil or articulate here int he swamp (other side being right leaning regulars). And it's nice to have a discussion. 

Regarding Clinton, you're right about his Monica legacy, but i think that as time moves on, it becomes less relevant. 

Right now he's got the highest approval ratings he has ever had. I think while people know about Monica, it's kind of become less of a punchline or a harrowing than it once was. 

Of course you're right in stating that she'll make an appearance in his obit - but i hope you're wrong about it being in the first paragraph or sentence. But time will tell.