No Tears for Petraeus

I have no sympathy for David Petraeus.

Cheating on your wife of 37 years is a low thing to do, period.

And intelligence officials are supposed to steer clear of such dalliances for fear of blackmail or revealing confidential information.

So he didn’t really have a leg to stand on.

But beyond all the personal stuff, Petraeus always gave me the creeps.

He had that lean and hungry look. He himself was known to scorn the President’s decisions, and he flirted with running for the job himself.

I always thought it was a mistake for President Obama to appoint him to head the CIA because I never trusted the guy. Also, it’s not a great idea to hire someone who is almost impossible to fire. And that’s who Petraeus was, until his personal foibles got the best of him. He had a constituency all his own; the Republicans (and many Democrats) loved him in Congress.

He brought us the surge in Iraq, and he oversaw the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, which he has fronted for both at the Pentagon and Langley, asserting without factual basis that we’ve been making “fragile progress.”

The CIA also continued, under his direction, to hold and interrogate prisoners at Bagram Air Base with no due process rights whatsoever.

Petraeus was also in charge at the CIA when there was a coup in Honduras. Though President Obama condemned it, the CIA and the State Department worked behind the scenes with the junta.

And he’s been preparing the battlefield for war against Iran since as far back as 2008.

So, no, I’m not going to miss David Petraeus.

And I would hope that President Obama would search for a replacement who is not a Langley lifer or Pentagon gargoyle but someone more independent and someone who won’t countenance the CIA’s involvement in torture or in the overthrow of foreign governments.

President Obama has an opening here. He should use it to demonstrate that he didn’t get elected to maintain the status quo but to improve the world.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Sandy: Chronicle of a Storm Foretold."

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