David Petraeus

The Military Legacy of David Petraeus

When David Petraeus retires from the Army at the end of this month to take the helm at the CIA, he’ll leave behind a radically different fighting force from what existed even a decade ago. As Joe writes in this week’s issue of TIME, Petraeus, the intellectual force behind the counter-insurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaves a …

Petraeus and Obama

Mark Benjamin landed a good zing on General David Petraeus yesterday by flagging the 450-word cloud that resulted when the general was asked during Senate testimony whether he supports Obama’s troop-withdrawal decision. It was …

Shorter Version: “No.”

At a Senate confirmation hearing for his new gig atop the CIA, David Petraeus was asked Thursday if he supported President Obama’s drawdown timetable for Afghanistan. Mark Benjamin parses¬†the thicket of words¬†and argues that Petraeus’ windiness says everything you need to know about the decorated general’s opinion.

In the Arena In the Arena

What’s Happening in Afghanistan?

Dexter Filkins has a fascinating, if confusing, piece today about the negotiations that have begun between the Karzai government and high-level elements of the Taliban…but not including the highest-level element, Mullah Omar. What is unclear is whether Omar–who has been “cut out” of the negotiations–has authorized his deputies to …

In the Arena In the Arena

Afghanistan: A New Balance

The long-awaited battle for Kandahar Province has begun and Time’s Jason Motlagh is there, at the heart of the fight in the same Zhari district where I embedded last April. There is a larger story here, about a change in emphasis by General David Petraeus, from counterinsurgency toward counterterrorism, that Fred Kaplan laid out here

In the Arena In the Arena

Petraeus Power

Amazing how David Petraeus can just crash through impasses and get his way. He’s even able to do get Hamid Karzai, who has boggled every other American who has dealt with him, to do something he doesn’t want to do–set up a system of local militias in rural Afghanistan. Karzai’s concerns are legitimate: the local militias would be more …

In the Arena In the Arena

Foxman on Petraeus?

Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League has, according to Andrew Sullivan, indirectly accused General David Petraeus of “blaming the Jews for everything.” I’m not sure that Foxman had Petraeus, specifically, in mind–or maybe just the vast majority of humans who are concerned about Israel’s continuing colonization of Palestinian lands. …

In the Arena In the Arena

Home Again

…after 10 days in the Middle East and watching the Sunday morning talk shows. A few thoughts:

–It certainly was fun watching Governors Schwarzenegger and Rendell carve into pieces the puerile speeches delivered at the CPAC convention. The bites from Mitt Romney–who said not one net new private sector job had been created by the …

In the Arena In the Arena

The Wrong Word

Over at the Commentary blog, Max Boot notes that even the gung-ho U.S. special forces seem “a bit worn down and pessimistic” in recent conversations he’s had with them about the situation in Afghanistan. I’ve had similar conversations with rank-and-file members of the U.S. military recently–in part, because they’re not sure that this …