Just Six More Months Please
David Petraeus is bucking for a column in the New York Times.
We think we won’t know that we’ve reached a turning point until we’re six months past it. We have repeatedly said that there is no lights at the end of the tunnel that we’re seeing. We’re certainly not dancing in the end zone or anything like that.
As Andrew Bacevich said the other day, this was actually the real goal of the surge - to keep our troops stuck in Iraq for as long as possible, so the occupation could be passed off to the next President. The idea was to create enough security success in the short-term by flooding the zone with troops to offer a propaganda victory, to allow the neocon wags to sputter "We're winning!" and forestall the inevtiable drawdown. Now, death tolls are actually rising again, and the Shiite militia cease-fire could be ending. But Iraq has moved off the front page, and the endless shouts of victory from the right have dampened any effect of this new data. And the warhawks are essentially running interference for those like Bush and Petraeus who are simply trying to prolong matters.
As for St. Petraeus, he has his own reasons for setting this trap for the next President.
Indeed, Petraeus can basically write his next round of orders. But wherever he goes, his next important campaign probably won't be on any battlefield. It'll be political. For the past year, the GOP has laid the groundwork to enlist Petraeus as its standard-bearer in the fairly likely event that the party loses in November to Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. You read it here first. Plant your lawn signs now. Petraeus 2012: Surging to the White House.
We're also starting to hear about Petraeus being shifted over to NATO Commander, where he could serve under the next President, as they would be unlikely or even unable to uninstall the Hero of the Surge. Like that wouldn't be just a minefield, right? Remember when Colin Powell blocked Clinton's effort to allow gays in the military, deeply embarrassing the President at the beginning of his term? Powell doesn't have 1/10th the ambition of Petraeus.
This is just one of the dozens of landmines that Bush is going to put in place to make himself look better and to trip up his successor. He doesn't much care about the future of the country, only saving his own skin.