The Man

by digby

He looks like a wiry, weather-beaten cowboy, a coiled spring with a leather face. He talks quietly, in measured phrases. With a neutral accent you can’t quite place, his speech has a comforting cadence. Still, you can almost feel the dynamic tension in his brain as he pauses from time to time to choose his words carefully.

Millions of Americans read that in their Sunday paper's Parade magazine this morning. Oooh baby. Who is that awesome hunk of man?

He is U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, the boss of Central Command. He is responsible for everything that happens—or fails to happen—in an area of operations that spans 20 countries in Southwest and Central Asia, including two where American troops face danger and death every day: Iraq and Afghanistan.

As President Barack Obama recently studied his national-security team’s recommendations on how to prosecute the war in Afghanistan, I spoke with Petraeus at his headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla.

Thirty-five years ago, I was an Army captain on the faculty at West Point, and Petraeus was a young cadet there. I remember him well. He was soft-spoken, but his eyes betrayed an intense, almost burning, spirit. I asked him why he became a soldier in the first place, and he said, “I lived not far from West Point and became familiar with its people. They had discipline and were dedicated, and I wanted to be just like them.”

Petraeus graduated among the top 5% of his class and chose to join the infantry. He became a paratrooper and a Ranger and was promoted rapidly. The Army sent him to graduate school, and he earned a Ph.D. from Princeton. In 2000, he was promoted to brigadier general. His subsequent rise from one star to four was extraordinarily swift.

Some critics say that Petraeus has always been voraciously ambitious, with his sights set on the highest rank and responsibility, but the general himself said, surprisingly, “Even at West Point I was never committed to a long career in the Army and instead fell in love with it incrementally.” Whatever his thirst for authority, he is now in charge of campaigns whose outcomes will affect America’s security for decades to come.

One can't help but wonder if his "thirst for authority" extends to politics.

The article goes on to outline Petraeus' plans for a decades long commitment in Afghanistan, while sounding ever so reasonable with his "measured phrases" and "comforting cadence." It's quite clear after reading it that Obama should just turn over the running of the wars to this man and concentrate on the female issues Democrats are so interested in. There is nobody so handsomely equipped to run the American Empire as this man. (And he's like totally smart too.)

When you look at the field of Republican presidential candidates out there, it's hard to see anyone who could possibly win. But, as I have said for quite some time, I think this guy possibly could. If nothing else, he could save the Republican Party from teabaggery. It's very hard to see how they could oppose this guy, even if he didn't follow their purity test. As a decorated General, he would be protected by right wing political correctness from the kind of criticism that will dog anyone else who isn't orthodox wingnut, (which will be necessary to win.) He is one of the only people I can see who wouldn't divide the Republicans and could possibly bring in right leaning Independents. (They love the commanding CE0/General types.)

2012 seems too soon and he's so firmly involved in the war planning that if he were to run against Obama he would have to quit because Obama wasn't following his recommendations.(I wonder if that might be playing into Obama's decision making?) How this would all come about I don't know.

All I do know is that when I read that glowing article in Parade over my toast and coffee this morning, I could hear millions of Americans saying, "that guy would make a great president." I'd be very surprised if The Man Called Petraeus couldn't hear that too.