Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What, Me McWorry?

Now we know why “King David” Petraeus fainted like a girl at his Senate testimony [.pdf] two weeks ago. Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin put Petraeus on the ropes by asking if his allegiance to President Obama’s withdrawal timeline for Afghanistan reflected his “best personal professional judgment.” Petraeus rope-a-doped his way out of that one with his “qualified yes” answer, but he hit the canvas when John McCain dared him to deny an open-source report that he’d promised Obama his 18-month timeline would work. Petraeus sputtered something about how he didn’t see anything productive in discussing an Oval Office conversation,  McCain gave him a yeah, right wink, and Petraeus did a half-gainer into his microphone.
The Teflon General has faced tough questions before and lived to prevaricate another day. The difference this time, I’m pretty certain, is that he knew his former protégé Stan McChrystal was about to pull a Barnum-class stunt that would vaporize Petraeus’ hopes of escaping to safety before everyone realizes the situations in Iraq and the Bananastans* are irretrievably botched and that he’s the one who botched them.
It’s obvious from information above and below the radar that Petraeus has been hiding in the background behind his phony laurels for the past year or so, hoping to let his little buddies McChrystal and Ray “Desert Ox” Odierno take the falls for the Bananastans and Iraq. That’s been Petraeus’ standard operating procedure throughout his meteoric career: take charge of a situation, slap a band-aid on whatever troubles exist, let the underlying problems fester, and then bail out in time for the disaster to erupt on his successor’s watch. He played this stratagem three times in Iraq.
As commander in Mosul after the fall of Baghdad, he spread around enough bribes to keep a lid on the insurgency in that region. Four months after he left, the police chief defected to the militants, and Mosul remains a trouble spot to this day. During his next Iraq tour, when he was in charge of training Iraqi security forces, Super Dave allowed nearly 200,000 AK-47 rifles and pistols to fall into the hands of militants. As commander of all forces in Iraq Dave blamed Iran for giving the insurgents all those guns, and created a false perception of a successful “surge” by cooking the violence statistics and bribing the insurgents to lay low with money and arms. Today’s Iraq, the one he left hapless Odie, still looks like a big-ride theme park 10 minutes after the earthquake hit.
There’s a good chance that Odierno isn’t sufficiently sentient to realize that his mentor Petraeus has set him up on a blind date with a red-hot poker, but McChrystal clearly saw what was going on, and he was not about to let his boss play him for a Shemp.
The son of a two-star general, McChrystal was always better connected than any boss he ever had prior to Petraeus, and every boss he ever had prior to Petraeus knew it. Cadet McChrystal racked up demerits galore while at the Military Academy, but no one in charge of West Point ever seriously thought of expelling him. McChrystal began to attract a following of like-minded hooligans eager to share the sanctuary of his high cover. Years pass, McChrystal’s networks grow, he is given command of the Bananastan theater of war, and voilà, we have Gen. Stan and His Howling Entourage, an unholy collection of assassins, spies, frogmen, snake eaters, bull-feather merchants, fighter pilots, lawyers, and other patriotic personality disorders who called themselves “Team America” and who are in virtual control of U.S. foreign policy.
We meet this cross-section of our nation’s finest in a Rolling Stone article by Michael Hastings titled “The Runaway General.” Drunk as Blazes Boylan, the boys are, spouting suppressed angst at an Irish pub in Paris named Kitty O’Shea’s, bellowing a haunting lilt about dear old Afghanistan, and mouthing the vilest sorts of slanders pertaining to their civilian superiors that they oughtn’t be flinging about among the general population, and most assuredly not in front of a reporter from the Rollingbloody Stone.
President Obama appears to be “uncomfortable and intimidated” by military brass, and he doesn’t “seem very engaged” in the war he wants McChrystal to win for him, young Hastings relays. Special Bananastans envoy Richard Holbrooke is dangerous as a “wounded animal” because he fears he’s about to get the axe. National Security Adviser James Jones is a “clown.” Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, who in a stunning piece of understatement recently noted that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is “not an adequate strategic partner,” is trying, McChrystal himself tells Hastings, to “cover his flanks for the history books.” Politicians like John Kerry and John McCain are “not very helpful,” and the Team’s pet name for Joe Biden is “Bite Me.”
Well, Joe Biden can bite me too. McCain and Kerry aren’t very helpful; they never have been. Karzai isn’t an adequate partner, Eikenberry is trying to cover his kiester, banquet-circuit beast Holbrooke has ample reason to worry about losing his job, and Obama’s palpable fear of his generals is a national embarrassment.
But those aren’t the sorts of things a general and his staff – even an Animal House-variety general and staff like McChrystal and company are – blab to a cub reporter from a magazine for long-haired freaky people; unless, of course, the general and his staff want to get fired from being responsible for a catastrophe they manage to compound with every move they make. If they’d wanted to party with a reporter they could trust to keep his mouth shut, they would have brought along Dexter Filkins of the New York Times, who has dutifully kept mum about their shenanigans and faithfully passed along every propaganda message they’ve fed him.
The Rolling Stone piece by Hastings recalls the April 2008 Esquire article by Thomas P. M. Barnett on then-head of Central Command Adm. William Fallon, who was about to collide with the doorknob on his way out of a job. Barnett’s article gave Fallon the opportunity to take a parting shot at “a**-kissing little chicken s***” Petraeus and the neocon “crazies” before transitioning to a new career in beltway banditry.
McChrystal’s predicament was far more precarious than Fallon’s had been. He had executed a blatantly insubordinate display of information warfare designed to pressure Obama into going along with further escalation of the Bananastans conflict that culminated with his September 2009 infomercial on 60 Minutes. The next month, when asked at a speech to a right-wing tank thinkery in London if he could support a decision on Obama’s part to heed Joe Biden’s proposal to fight al-Qaeda with drone and special forces strikes alone, McChrystal replied, “The short, glib answer is no.”
According to The Promise, a recent book by Jonathan Alter of Newsweek about Obama’s first year in office, McChrystal’s October 2009 London antic was the camel straw that prodded Obama into doing what a man had to do. Alter – who has become the hagiographer to Obama that Dexter Filkins is to McChrystal and Tom Ricks is to Petraeus – tells us that the president and his senior staff believed McChrystal’s hijinks “had [Joint Chiefs chairman Mike] Mullen’s and Petraeus’ fingerprints all over it. They were using McChrystal to jam the president, box him in, manipulate him, game him.” Not a bad assumption.
Obama and McChrystal supposedly had a me-father-you-son talk aboard Air Force One on the tarmac in Copenhagen, and shortly after that Obama invited Mullen and Defense Secretary Bob Gates over to the Oval Office for a taste of cheese grater. Obama wanted to know “here and now,” Alter says, if the Pentagon would be on board with any decisions he might make. Alter reports that Mullen “described himself as ‘chagrined’ after the meeting” and that Gates put out the word through back channels that generals should give their advice “candidly but privately.” Things looked all hunky-bunky to the administration. “They swore an oath of loyalty,” a senior official told Alter, and the feckless White House chose to believe that oaths mean anything to the likes of Gates and Mullen.
The part of the Alter narrative that McCain confronted Petraeus with in the recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearings involved a November 2009 Oval Office meeting at which Petraeus was present.
Obama asked Petraeus, “David, tell me now. I want you to be honest with me. You can do this in 18 months?”
“Sir, I’m confident we can train and hand over to the ANA [Afghan National Army] in that time frame,” Petraeus replied.
“Good. No problem,” the president said. “If you can’t do the things you say you can in 18 months, then no one is going to suggest we stay, right?”
“Yes, sir, in agreement,” Petraeus said.
As Alter tells it, Obama got the drop on Mullen and Gates as well.
“Yes, sir, Mullen said [agreeing that no one would suggest we stay in Afghanistan beyond 18 months].
The president was crisp but informal. “Bob, you have any problems?” he asked Gates, who said he was fine with it.
The president then encapsulated the new policy: in quickly, out quickly, focus on al-Qaeda, and build the Afghan Army. “I’m not asking you to change what you believe, but if you don’t agree with me that we can execute this, say so now,” he said. No one said anything.
“Tell me now,” Obama repeated.
“Fully support, sir,” Mullen said.
“Ditto,” Petraeus said.
Alter asserts, “Obama was trying to turn the tables on the military, to box them in after they had spent most of the year boxing him in.” The thinking was that if “conditions didn’t stabilize enough to begin an orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces” in 18 months, the generals “couldn’t say they didn’t have enough time to make the escalation work because they had specifically said, under explicit questioning, that they did.”
If Obama has the sociopaths who run his military in a box, they needn’t worry too much: it’s a box with an escape hatch in the bottom and no lid. At the June 15-16 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Gates and Mullen stressed the need for “patience” with the Bananastan strategy. (If you haven’t noticed, everyone from the Pentagon calls it “Obama’s strategy” and everyone in the administration’s camp refers to “McChrystal’s strategy.”) Petraeus, who swore allegiance to Obama’s timeline both in Alter’s book and at the hearings, also assured McCain and the committee’s other war mongrels that the July 2011 date is “the beginning of a process,” and is “not a date where we race for the exits. It is the date where we, having done an assessment, begin a transition.” So I guess we should conclude that July 2011 is a conceptual deadline, or perhaps it’s a virtual deadline, or maybe it’s just total motherf***ing bull****
If you think Obama got the military back under control by firing McChrystal, you need to quit taking those statin drugs. Replacing “Bananas” Stan with King David was like shooting the rabid sheepdog and turning the flock over to the head wolf.
Next: Surging Back to the Future.
* The Bananastans are Afghanistan and Pakistan, our banana republics in Central Asia.
Originally posted @ Antiwar.com

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wild Wild Left Radio #70 Cmdr Jeff Huber on General "Chess" & Afghanistan

Tonight at 6PM Eastern Time, WWL Radio!!!!!
Gottlieb and Diane G. will be live and in color (or is that off color?) on WWL radio tonight at 6pm Eastern Time to guide you through Current Events taken from a Wildly Left Prospective.
Hear the Unreported & Under Reported Headlines stories you should be paying attention to, from US Politics, to the farthest reaches of the Earth by the WWL coalition of subversion: undermining the PTB by speaking Truth to Power!!!! 
This week we are honored to again host our returning Special Guest Cmdr Jeff Huber, author of "Bathtub Admirals," columnist for Antiwar.com and his own blog, Pen and Sword, as well as a frequent essayist on yours truly, WWL.

Jeff will be analyzing the dismissal of General McChrystal and the replacement with General Petraeus and its possible portends for our theater in Afghanistan. He will also try and shed light on the Naval escalation in the Red Sea, as we join Israel in threatening Iran.

Time permitting, an update on the never ending Gulf Disaster will be provided as well.
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heard Any Good War Jokes Lately?

The pratfall Dave Petraeus took face-first into his microphone during his farcical testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee last Tuesday channeled the Twix candy bar commercial that asks: “Need a moment?” As the New York Times put it, the Teflon General was facing some intense questioning on the president’s order to begin reducing American forces in Afghanistan next year when he “slumped toward the microphone on his table.” Maybe Dave just needed some time think things over. Maybe he needed to stall while his driver ran out to see if he left his crib sheet in his government sedan.
The general returned to the floor a half hour after later claiming he “just got dehydrated.” Must have been from all the heat he was catching from the committee.
The hearing’s running gag was a manhood dance between committee members who wanted Petraeus to come right out and say Obama’s withdrawal timeline for Afghanistan makes dirt look smart and Petraeus wanting to agree that Obama’s timeline makes dirt look smart without coming right out and saying it. This bit of patter between Petraeus and committee chairman Carl Levin deserves an Emmy:
Levin: “Do you continue to support that July 2011 date for the start of reduction in U.S. forces from Afghanistan?”
Petraeus: “I support the policy of the president, Mr. Chairman…”
Levin: “When you say that you continue to support the president’s policy … does that represent your best personal professional judgment?”
Petraeus: “In a perfect world, Mr. Chairman, we have to be very careful with timelines…”
Levin: “Do I take that to be a qualified yes, a qualified no, or just a non-answer?”
Petraeus: “A qualified yes, Mr. Chairman.”

When the senior half of the comedy team McCain and Lieberman* asked Petraeus if he told Obama, as per a recent book by Joseph Alter of Newsweek, that he’s “confident we can train and hand over to the ANA” in 18 months, Petraeus’ qualified non-answer was, “Well, Senator, I’m not sure it’s productive to comment on conversations that took place in the Oval Office.”
After a three-Twix-bar think about it I couldn’t conjure a single thing that could possibly have been more productive at that testimony than commenting on Petraeus’ discussion with Obama in the Oval Office concerning withdrawal timelines. McCain apparently could, though, because he said, “I understand that. I understand that.” He must have said it twice in case nobody believed him the first time.
Petraeus’ next non-answer was an unqualified masterpiece of bull-feather artistry. McCain asked “Do you agree with the comment of [Afghan] President Karzai’s former intelligence chief that Karzai has lost confidence in the ability of the United States and NATO to succeed in Afghanistan?”
Petraeus replied that his protégé Stan McChrystal, commander in Afghanistan, had “no sense” that there was “a lack of confidence in the United States’ commitment to Afghanistan.” To further support his position, he added, “The fact that we have more than tripled … our forces … is of enormous significance.”
Note Petraeus’ sleight-of-tongue here: the issue was whether the United States couldsucceed in Afghanistan, not whether it would commit to Afghanistan. They are not the same thing, at least not in any sane interpretation of the terms. We cannot possibly succeed at anything in Afghanistan other than running our ship of state aground. Committing to a course that will run us aground, however, seems to be the war mongrels’ goal, hence Petraeus’ observation that tripling our number of forces there constitutes “success.”
McCain then called Petraeus one of “America’s great heroes” but cautioned that he continued to worry about “the message we are sending to the region” by not making an even larger, even more open-ended commitment there than we’ve already made. That’s when Petraeus did his Chevy Chase impersonation and they carried his skinny carcass out of the room. Here’s how the dialogue went when Petraeus came back:
Petraeus: “Senator, my apologies.”
Levin: “Are you kidding?”
Petraeus: “I got a little bit light-headed there. It wasn’t Senator McCain’s questions, I assure you.”
Levin: “I know, it was mine.”
Petraeus: “No, it’s just that…”
Levin: “Clear me, too, would you, with the same breath, if you would? Just kidding.”
Can these guys be bloody serious?
Testimony the next day by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen was equally bathetic, perhaps even more so. Gates and Mullen both asked the committee to be “patient” and allow them to make America’s longest war even longer. They’re like the lunatics who think we needed to have more patience with the Vietnam War. After all, we only committed a decade and a half-million troops to that conflict. Just think; if we had redoubled our efforts in Vietnam we’d still be winning there.
Gates, predictably, blamed the media for America’s disaffection for the war in Afghanistan. “The narrative,” he rued, is “too negative.”
Hmm. We’re backing a crooked ruler who stole an election and relying on his drug lord brother for intelligence. McChrystal himself called the Marjah offensive an “open sore,” and he had to delay the Kandahar offensive because nobody in Kandahar wants us to liberate them. We can’t even make up our minds who the enemy is. Is it the Taliban or is it al-Qaeda or is it the Pakistani security forces or is it Iran or maybe even the Turks? Wait: I bet it’s those crafty Chinese people! Or maybe that Venezuela guy we don’t like, Chavez or whatever his name is.
The comedians who put on last week’s Senate Armed Services Committee burlesque should retire from their day jobs and write full time for Saturday Night Live. Lord knows the present manifestation of SNL needs all the help it can get. In fact, the best stratagem for fixing both our failed foreign policy and our bad television programming might be a role reversal: put the incompetent generals and politicians in charge of our wars on Saturday Night Live and put the incompetent comedians onSaturday Night Live in charge of our wars.
The only thing genuine in the Senate hearing came from a lone protester who shouted “This is mass murder” as she was escorted out by police.
No kidding, lady. No kidding.
*(Click on this link and tell me what part of John McCain you think Joe Lieberman has his right hand wrapped around. Are they about to kiss too? Yuck!)
Originally posted @ Antiwar.com

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

King David and His Howling Commandos

As Renaissance political scientist Niccolo Machiavelli noted, the fall of Rome came about when its military elite, known as the Praetorian Guard, gained control over the emperor and the Senate. Had irony survived the Bush Jr. administration, it would relish that America’s empire is crumbling under the undue influence of its military elite, the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM).
A May 24 New York Times story by Mark Mazzetti informed us that last September “King David” Petraeus empowered himself, through a secret directive, to expand “clandestine military activity” throughout his Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility without seeking permission of Congress or the commander in chief. “Clandestine military activity” involves SOCOM assets.
The Mazzetti story, sourced to unnamed “defense officials,” was the first volley in the next round of the information warfare being conducted among elements of the national security structure to avoid taking the fall for the miserable failures of our Iraq and Bananastan* misadventures while managing to keep the Long War going for an indeterminate length of time.
The rest of the media gave little bandwidth to Mazzetti’s story until unnamed “senior military and administration officials” leaked in anger to Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post. A June 4 article titled “U.S. ‘Secret War’ Expands Globally as Special Operations Forces Take Larger Role” announced that the “Obama administration has significantly expanded a largely secret U.S. war against al-Qaeda and other radical groups.”

DeYoung and Jaffe hint that the White House is driving the escalation of special force activity against the Evil Caliphate (the neocons’ post-Cold War successor to the Evil Empire), or is at least a willing victim. Special-ops types have “become a far more regular presence” at the executive mansion, even more so than they were during the Bush administration. “We have a lot more access,” one military official told DeYoung and Jaffe. From the way this military official talked, the White House is doing everything shy of handing out sexual favors to attract SOCOM’s help and loyalty. He says OBAMACOM is “asking for ideas and plans … calling us in and saying, ‘Tell me what you can do. Tell me how you do these things.’”
“These things” boil down to those things that Stanley McChrystal and his band of merry assassins did when he commanded the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC): zorch around the western half of Asia like Sergeant Fury and his Howling Commandos blowing away “suspected” terrorists and civilians galore on the basis of intelligence gathered from human sewers – like Afghan drug lord Wali Karzai – who love nothing better than having the U.S. military pay them handsomely for the privilege of rubbing out their enemies.
(Here’s something else irony would have liked: Adm. Gary Roughead, the sycophant who became chief of Naval Operations after Adm. Mike Mullen got promoted to Joint Chiefs chairman for changing his vote to “aye, aye, sir” on the Iraq surge, said for the record in 2009 that “The biggest breakthrough in the current fight in [Iraq and Afghanistan] is the successful integration of intelligence with operations.” Judas hanging from a redbud tree, how do cement-heads like Roughead wind up in positions of such enormous power?)
What’s more, Gen. Stan and his Hooligan Clan pulled their deadly shenanigans under direct orders of Dick Cheney, who as vice president didn’t have a pig’s wings’ worth of constitutional or legal standing in the military chain of command. Special operators were shaking in their jump boots at the prospect that all their beautiful wickedness might melt away if a Democrat became their commander in chief, but lo! Obama turned out to be their newest, biggest, bestest buddy since Sgt. Hulka from Stripes.
Candidate Obama got his tongue stuck in a wringer when he begged for the war mongrel vote by promising to “get the job done” in Afghanistan. When it came time to decide whether to keep executing all those drone raids that were killing so many innocent Bananastani bystanders, Commander in Chief Obama said, sure, heck, what else we got going for us? YES YOU CAN execute more special force assassinations. This COIN (counterinsurgency) bull plop we’ve been feeding the public isn’t going to work. We have to do something, even if it’s something stupid like blindly striking at suspected evildoers and killing lots of civilians in the process. Sure, that just adds more recruits to the ranks of the evildoers than we had before, but it’s better than doing nothing, right?
So you’d think the SOCOM commandos have all the autonomy to spread mayhem globally that they could possibly want, but no, they’re howling for more. They don’t want to work for anyone who isn’t a special operator and doesn’t understand their special needs. They “bridle” at the authority of wimp ambassadors who “control who comes in and out of their country.” They “chafe” at needing permission from the president and secretary of defense to use lethal force outside of war zones. They want to wreak whatever havoc they feel like wreaking whenever and wherever the feel like wreaking it, and they don’t want to hear any guff about it.
Will no one protect the world from these psychopaths? This invertebrate president and Congress certainly won’t. The Constitution won’t save us. Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin would have anybody who challenged SOCOM in court bludgeoned to death with tea bags for failure to support the troops.
Be on the alert for Joe Lieberman or some other congressional concubine of the warmongery to introduce legislation that cancels the parts of Title 10 of U.S. Code that require SOCOM forces to conduct missions under the “command of the commander of the unified combatant command in whose geographic area the activity or mission is to be conducted” unless “otherwise directed by the president or the secretary of defense.”
Yeah, the snake eaters and frogmen have a good thing going now, what with their buddy Petraeus in charge of CENTCOM, and a pushover president, and bureaucratic twit Bob Gates for a SECDEF. But they’d like to get their civilian chain of command neutered in writing in case somebody with a pair of baby-makers ever gets elected president (you never know, it might happen).
And look for the recent discovery of “vast riches” of untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan to be the excuse Obama needs to cave in to the military’s demands to flush his withdrawal timeline all the way to the chow hall. The decades it will take for Afghanistan to exploit its riches plays into SOCOM’s “Era of Persistent Conflict” [.pdf] like an egret plays into an oil spill.
*The Bananastans are Afghanistan and Pakistan, our Central Asian banana republics where U.S. and NATO troops are under the command of “Bananas” Stan McChrystal.
Originally posted @ Antiwar.com

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

King David Rules

While I was taking a week off to celebrate Memorial Day the story broke about “King David” Petraeus secretly giving himself authority back in September 2009 to start a war anywhere from the Horn of Africa to the Bananastans*. His secret directive allows him to bury America in another quagmire any time his black little heart desires without so much as a yes-you-may from the commander in chief or Congress. In a May 25 articleNew York Times Pentagon stenographer Mark Mazzetti, to whom “military officials” showed the “secret” directive Petraeus had written, noted that “the precise operations that the directive authorizes are unclear” and that the order “does not appear to authorize offensive strikes in any specific countries.”
Mazzetti doubtless inserted the weasel wordiness at the behest of his buddies at Petraeus’  Central Command headquarters, whom he allowed to censor his exposé on them as a professional courtesy (he’s a nice, polite boy, that Mazzetti). The “precise operations that the directive authorizes” are whatever Petraeus decides he wants them to be at any given moment. That’s why he didn’t limit himself by clarifying what he was or wasn’t authorizing. You don’t fill in an amount when you write yourself a blank check.
As for the order not authorizing “offensive strikes,” any incursion of U.S. forces into a country without that country’s permission is an offensive action, one that the target countries should justifiably defend themselves against. Of course, the way the Mazzettis of the media spin things for the warmongery, once the penetrated country defends itself it becomes the aggressor, and our forces defend themselves by calling in air support and yahoo, Major Kong, we got us another war of necessity.
Mazzetti notes that spokesmodels for the Pentagon and the White House “declined to comment for this article.” No doubt they’re hoping The Oil Slick that Ate America will bury the story of how “Teflon General” Petraeus wholly devoured the legislative and executive branches of our government and got away with it.

That President Obama continues to duck a confrontation with King David confirms that our commander in chief has permanently subordinated himself to his generals. Young Mr. Bush, at least, only went along with whatever his four-stars said if his four-stars said what he wanted to hear. If they didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear, he got himself a passel of new four-stars who did (which is how Petraeus and his cronies came into power).
Obama should have busted everyone in the Department of Defense in the grade of bull colonel and above back to buck private citizen when he took office, and he should have canned every civilian with the word “secretary” in their title as well. Instead, he kept on the entire pogues’ gallery, and now we have a president who goes along with whatever his generals say even when they publicly tell him to kiss their keister like they did when they bullied him into going along with an Afghanistan surge.
It’s tough to tell who blabbed this tale to Mazzetti – it has the look and feel of both a sanctioned leak and a whistle recital. I doubt if the news came from Petraeus’ staff. Former CENTCOM commander Adm. William “Fox” Fallon had it right when he described Petraeus as an “a** kissing little chicken s***.” Petraeus is a back stabber, not someone who fights in the open, and there’s no reason to think he’d announce that he’d usurped civilian authority on the front page of the New York Times (or even on his favorite media outlet, Fox News.)
Whoever spilled is likely someone who doesn’t like Petraeus: but that hardly narrows the field of suspects. Mazzetti’s sources were almost certainly senior officers at the Pentagon, and the percentage of senior officers at the Pentagon who don’t like Petraeus is decimal points shy of three digits.
The rear-echelon colonels who haunt the Beltway often pass sensitive information to military correspondents, but for the most part they’re too concerned with holding on to their pensions and the cushy defense industry jobs waiting for them when they reach 30 years of service to do that sort of thing without high cover. Unlike, say, Karl Rove, these guys are subject to the kangaroo courtliness of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and they face real consequences for giving state secrets to the press. So you can bet a shiny new Virginia quarter that the okay to show and tell came from the four-star level. Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen is a prime candidate. The son of a high-profile Hollywood publicity agent, Mullen knows how to keep his name out of the press while using it to broadcast his message.
Maybe Mullen finally realizes what a monster he created by siding with Petraeus and the rest of the Long Warmongers to get himself appointed as chairman. Maybe he finally realizes that supporting the phony-baloney counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine means his beloved Navy’s budget will bite the big beluga in the post-recession economy. Maybe he’s finally reached the time in life where he’s concerned about whether his immortal soul gets a good parking spot.
It’s also possible the leak is part of the ongoing psychological operation against Iran. But the information that we have snake eaters on the ground in that country, and that they’re there to help foment an insurgency (is that counter-counter insurgency?) and collect targeting data for a great big bombing campaign, has been on the street for quite some years.
Whoever leaked the story for whatever reason they leaked it, we can be pretty darn sure that Petraeus did, in fact, promote himself by secret fiat to Praetorian dictator of Central and Western Asia, and we know for a fact that it’s now an open secret, and we know for a fact that Congress and President Obama are playing see-no-evil about it.
Whether Obama approved of Petraeus’ unconstitutional hooliganism from the get-go or is merely tacitly approving of it now, the net result is that Petraeus and the neoconservative/AIPAC cabal that champions him control U.S. foreign policy, and by extension America’s energy and economic policies as well, to an even greater extent than they did during young Mr. Bush’s reign.
Thus it is that Barack Obama’s ballyhooed “change” has gone the way of Big Daddy Bush’s “peace dividend.”
*The Bananastans are Afghanistan and Pakistan, our banana republics in Central Asia where U.S. and NATO forces are led by “Banana” Stan McChrystal.
Originally posted @ Antiwar.com