Via the Washington Monthly, David Petraeus has several comments in support of Obama’s policies on Gitmo and enhanced interrogation. Here’s his comments on the closing of Gitmo:
“Gitmo has caused us problems; there’s no question about it. I oversee a region in which the existence of Gitmo has indeed been used by the enemy against us. We have not been without missteps or mistakes in our activities since 9/11. And again, Gitmo is a lingering reminder for the use of some in that regard.”
Now, I understand that, in his capacity as a military commander, Petraeus is supposed to support the decisions of his civilian commanders. But by speaking in a way that praises Obama’s decision while implicitly criticizes his former civilian commanders (Bush and Cheney), he seems to go a bit beyond that.
Former Bush communications person Nicole Wallace (along with others) has spoken of Petraeus as a possible Republican nominee in 2012. While I’m sure that the general is flattered to be mentioned in the same breath as Gary Sinise, I have to wonder what kind of precedent there is for this. Has a high-ranking, currently serving general ever run for president (against an incumbent president) during a time of war before? Would such a run violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the rules governing the relationship between the military and the elected civilian leadership? And why do Republicans assume that Petraeus is a Republican who would run against Obama?
It’s hard not to think what Republicans really want is in essence a military coup that will restore the Bush dynasty. And there’s an unspoken assumption on their part that everyone in the military itself wants this, that all good red-blooded servicemen want torture, Gitmo, plans for bombing Iran, and so on, to be back on the table. That they hate working for a dirty fucking hippie like Obama. Do comments like the one made by Petraeus above make any kind of a dent in this mentality?
Update. Commenter BlackMage mentions the case of McClellan in 1864. McClellan was relieved of his command by Lincoln prior to running for president. So that would seem to me to be a different sort of situation from a general resigning in order to run.